The art of parking in Dubai

I am not one of the fortunate, chosen ones who has a dedicated parking spot in the ‘access card only’ shaded, cool underground carpark at my office tower.  This does not bother me during winter months.  Indeed I like parking outside  in the mornings and walking across to my office.  The weather is warm and inviting.  The sky sparkles blue and the sun makes me smile.  Plus it’s one of the few times I actually expose my skin to that all important vitamin D.  The only downside to outdoor winter parking is the amount of desert dust that veils one’s car on a daily basis, requiring almost twice weekly car washing.

Outside parking in the summer is just torture.  Stepping into a car at ‘noonish’ is like what I imagine stepping into an heating oven would be like.  The inside is airless and suffocatingly hot.  The steering wheel is so hot I have to steer with my fingertips.  Beads of sweat race down my temples and the small of my back.  I scrunch up my hair to give my neck the chance to breathe.  With the air conditioning blasting and the front windows rolled down in an attempt to increase the cross breeze, it still takes about 10-15 minutes for the car to feel normal, by which time I am so in need of a cold shower.  Goodness only knows what goes on under the bonnet in these excrutiatingly, unbearable temperatures.

These were my main worries about parking outdoors in general in Dubai.  Some days I just can’t be bothered schlepping across to my office and I park the car in the paid parking section of the underground carpark.  AED80 is often a small price to pay to avoid that horrrible, sticky, melting feeling.

When I arrived at the car park at 8am last Wednesday, I chose my shaded spot and reversed in.  Just I was about to get out of my car, I noticed the carpark attendant waving at me with such intensity I thought I had run over one of the many prized peacocks which roam the office tower’s grounds.

Errr….nooooo.  I flung open my car door and stomped out to seek clarification as to the problem.  The carpark attendant was gesticulating wildly because, in his view, I had parked too far away from the designated parking line on my left!    It seems I had not parked exactly between the white lines.  I had left about 2 inches between my car and the parking line on the passenger side, and about 4 on the driver’s side.   I wasn’t touching or crossing either of the white lines; I had just left myself enough space to open the driver’s door without hitting the car that would park next to me.   But apparently, that is ‘not good’.  Explaining my need to be able to get out of the car without hitting the car that parks next to me fell on deaf ears.  It seems I was expected to vapourise getting out and in of the car….

I adjusted my car and stomped off muttering under my breath something about ‘4x4s and small car parking spaces’ and ‘if only the same attention were paid to the dangerous driving  witnessed on Dubai roads on a daily basis’……..

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