In which October 2015 finally arrives, sans flying cars
“Roads?” spluttered the notorious time travelling liar Dr Emmett Brown. “Where we’re going, we don’t need roads.”
Well, I’ve got news for you, Dr Brown, if that is even your real name. ‘Where we’re going’ turns out to have been October 2015 – and 30 years after you first sold me that thrilling vision of the future, it’s finally here.
I don’t think I’ve ever been so disappointed with the arrival of a new month.
Not only are our cars not flying yet, we’re still so beholden to the ancient formula of tyres-on-ground + internal combustion engine that manufacturers have been lying about their efficiency to sell more of them. (“Staff acted criminally,” reveals VW board member, and 2015’s nominative determinism champion, Olaf Lies.)
Basically, it’s about the worst possible time to buy a car, ever. Enter Family Little City, looking to buy two.
Sold, to the lowest bidder
We’ve had quite a few people wondering what we ended up doing with our cars when we left Qatar. So here’s how that ended.
For a while, when it looked like we weren’t going to be able to sell them, we tried to pretend to ourselves that the plan all along had been to ship them with the rest of our stuff to the UAE.
But then we managed to sell them both right at the death (one privately, via Qatar Living; the other to Oasis Cars) leaving us to spend our final few days in Doha behind the wheel of our friend’s Hummer, which isn’t a sentence I ever thought I’d write.
Newly arrived in Abu Dhabi last month, we hired a car which turned out to be a Peugeot, which was helpful in the sense that we could cross Peugeot off our shopping list.
We asked the rental agent about hiring a Sat Nag / GPS unit, but he told us to save our money and instead download the UAE Government’s Smart Drive app (available for Android or iPhone). You should, too; it’s one of the best apps I’ve ever used. It’s totally free and has been a life saver from day 1 of our time here (though given the current road reconfigurations in Abu Dhabi city, it will be in need of an update pretty sharpish).
In fact it’s so good that it’s even given someone as directionally-challenged as Mrs LC the confidence to get out, get driving and get oriented mere hours after we landed.
Hot metal in the flesh
If you want to see some hot metal in the flesh, you could do worse than start your search at Motor World. Not to be confused with close neighbour Ferrari World, it is a city block-sized used car lot stuck out in the desert beyond the airport.
Motor World is so big, it’s even signposted from about 20kms out. Once there, you’ll find street after street of used vehicles in varying conditions. Prices are low, but it was a little haphazard for us. The dealers don’t seem to specialise in a make or type, so you end up having to look at everything.
Still, at least ambling round at 5mph gave me time to prepare my latest version of Why We Should Get a Bakkie/flatbed/ute (delete as culturally appropriate). Suffice to say I’m going to need some of the tips Kid A is learning in Debate Club, because I was unsuccessful yet again in my attempts to persuade Mrs LC that what we really need in our lives is a truck. (I realise now this seed may have been inadvertently planted by repeated viewings of Back to the Future’s final scene).
The AD Twitter hive mind suggested we try Premier Motors, the local Ford dealer, where I got as far as standing next to a perfect beast of a bakkie (in this case, an F150) before I mistakenly bought an Explorer instead. (It’s not all bad news, though; in another nice movie-related tie-in, mine comes with night-vision goggles and a torch so bright it attracts the attention of escaping T-Rexes).
It makes a perfect replacement for Big Red, our cleverly-nicknamed big, red Korean seven seater. But what about a car to commute along the red-light-and-radar riddled road from the ‘burbs to my office?
Well, we sold our Golf in July, weeks before everyone else decided to ditch their VWs and – you might want to avert your eyes, Doha readers – bought an even smaller car.
Yes, the roads are that safe and cars that much cheaper here. We spent even less than the apltry sum we got for the Golf on a two-year-old Fiesta (almost certainly to be nicknamed Uncle Fester by the kids) with barely 20 thousand kms on the clock.
I love it already – but then I’m pre-conditioned to; my first and second cars were both Festers. It has Gulf-spec air conditioning (settings: Fridge / Freezer / The Morning After An Argument) and an aux slot for me to plug in my podcasts – and that’s enough for me.
Wittertainment-enhanced commuting bliss, here I come.