Tuesday, March 19, 2013

Dubai metro

On Thursday, I went to a conference in Dubai. That sounds like a really grown-up thing to do, but the reality is that I was sent as a representative for my MA program, not as an actual attendee. Still, it was fun to sit in the AUS booth and talk to people about something I'm interested in.

The conference was at a hotel in the Deira neighborhood of Dubai, and the last thing I wanted was to be trying to drive home from Deira to Sharjah at 5.30 on a Thursday (American Friday) afternoon. So I took the metro there and back. It was my first time on the Dubai metro, would you believe it? Actually, I can totally believe it. The nearest station is a 15-minute drive away from our house and we don't commute to Dubai on a regular basis, and we own a car, and metro fare x family of 4 + cheap gas means that driving is surprisingly economical here.

Well, this was by far the nicest metro I've ever been on (out of DC, NYC, Portland, Boston, Tokyo, Kyoto, Moscow, Novosibirsk, Vienna, Istanbul, Prague, and Cairo). OF COURSE. This is the UAE we're talking about. The stations were ultra-modern and gleaming and - surprisingly, to me, though I should have known better - totally well used!

There was a VIP car at the front of the train (again, OF COURSE, this is the UAE), where for a little extra money per ticket, you can sit in a forward-facing leather seat with a panoramic view through an expansive window (for most of the metro line, the tracks are raised a few stories above-ground, so the view is actually really nice). There is also a women/children-only car, which is where I sat. The last thing I needed was flashbacks to being groped in Cairo. And in light of the recent pushing-onto-the-tracks accidents in NYC, I particularly noted the fact that the platforms here are glassed-in, meaning that you can't access the tracks even if you wanted to. Just interesting.

But be warned: as nice as this metro is, fish are NOT allowed.

Total travel time for me was about 40 minutes - 15 driving to the park & ride station, and 25 on the metro itself, after which I walked through a sandy field in high heels to get to the hotel. Keeping it classy. I think I could have driven in fewer than 40 minutes on the way there, but I feel confident I beat the traffic on the way back. Deira is a beast. Total cost was 7 dhs ($1.90) - it was a one-zone ride and I only bought a two-trip ticket.

And now I've had experience riding the metro. Hooray!


Liz Johnson said...

Wow, that's really nice! I love the VIP car - that cracks me up. Do they have VIP movie theaters there, too? We had them in Mexico and they made any movie completely enjoyable. My bar for entertainment is so low when I'm seated in a leather recliner and eating sushi.

Bridget said...

Yes! You can either rent your own mini-suit at the theater or upgrade to fancy seats that recline and have food served to you as you watch the movie. Haven't worked up the guts to try that one yet. All in good time.

Kathy Haynie said...

Yay for the metro ride! I used to commute to my PSU classes on the MAX train sometimes - cheaper than driving + paying for parking, but it took more time. I liked relaxing on the train & not worrying about the drive. You look lovely and professional, by the way.

Jessie said...

The line about the fish. I'll be laughing all day.

Bridget said...

A mini-SUITE, that is. Though I suppose you could rent a mini-suit, too, if you wanted.

Suzanne Bubnash said...

Nice experience --you look like a VIP! Carolyn and I rode the Dubai metro last year. Accidentally got in the VIZP car. The truth is we didn't realize there was one until the metro cop came over to give us a ticket. We were saved by a woman cop who interceded because she could tell we were totally confused tourists. What a nice memory


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