Showing posts with label rants. Show all posts
Showing posts with label rants. Show all posts

Sunday, March 10, 2013

Today I am a Commuter

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I am a commuter today. I have always been a commuter, during college when I decided not to stay in a boarding house in Manila I commute from my province in Bulacan to my University - PUP and back everyday for two years so it's not actually new to me. When I came in Dubai (that means Sharjah coz my family stays in Sharjah) years ago, I also take sharing taxis to go to Dubai that used to be very popular before until the laws got stricter where in cabs cannot car pool. And then we had a car and my husband always drops me to my workplace. (Yeah we have a car and we brace ourselves to traffic every single day (I am wishing and hoping that Dubai and Sharjah will agree to extend the Dubai Metro to Sharjah and to all other emirates-its good that Abu Dhabi started it but unfortunately I don't leave there)

As I was saying, today was no different, when my husband mentioned that we have to get up at 4:30 am and leave the house at 5 in the morning because they have a meeting at work, I lamely agree thinking of my options. This morning I decided to commute, how hard can it be, the only thing I dread was the trip from my house to the back of Sahara Center, without traffic I am paying about 10 AED but today with traffic I paid 19 AED. Many people who lives in Sharjah and works in Dubai and commutes daily knows what there is at the back of Sahara Center, let me tell you.

Behind Sahara Center is Dubai already, it is the border and there is a fence-it used to be fenceless and cars can pass and 4 wheel drivers treat it like in safari but then Dubai Municipality built a fence and no cars can ever pass again. In time, some people open the fence and create a passage from Sharjah to Dubai and it became very popular that even taxi drivers know it very well. When you commute the normal way like from Sharjah to Dubai using the Dubai Sharjah highway you are not only stuck in traffic jams but you will also pay hefty fares and from Sharjah to Dubai the meter starts at 20 AED, if within Sharjah, it is only AED3

Now that you know, I'll tell you how I go from home to work today. From my house in Jamal Abdul Nasser St., I took a cab and drove off to the back of Sahara Center and pay the taxi driver the expensive fare. I cross the border and I am in Dubai. It's the morning rush so there are so many people waiting for taxis that are barely coming, it's good that there are feeder buses and I decided to hop on bus number 22 (to Health care City) it will pass Dubai Metro Stadium station and Deira City Center Metro station. I opt for Deira City Center Metro Station since I don't want to change from Green to Red Line of the metro once in Union Metro Station, if I took the Stadium then I'll have to do the latter. I hop off the bus at DCC Metro Station, as I scan my NOL card it register AED 2.80 and I couldn't be any happier, cheaper fare for a longer route (sigh of relief), if from behind Sahara I took a cab I must have paid AED 10 until Stadium Metro Station and still I have to do the line change.

DCC metro station wasn't crowded at all and I am able to grab a seat. Nine stations after on the red line and I am on my destination. It took me two hours to commute from Sharjah to Dubai which is fair enough but this includes waiting time, in case taxis or buses are available immediately I can do it for 1 1/2 hours only. I actually find it very easy to commute this way and even on my way home If I need to commute I would chose this way.

Sure there are other ways to commute, I know some people who goes to the main Sharjah bus station in Rolla and goes to work in Jebel Ali, that needs longer time since this bus uses the Sharjah Dubai highway.
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Thursday, November 29, 2012

Finding Happiness

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This December, I am officially in Dubai for a decade:). Yes a decade in Dubai. You think its long right? But when you hear people say they were in Dubai for the last three decades, you stop and asked yourself again, is 10 years really long enough?

I was sitting in a soft white couch in the lobby of DIFC patiently waiting for the free bus service to arrive. I am almost in the verge of hailing a taxi since it’s been like eternity to wait. The bus came though and pulled over in the parking, I stand and walk away from where I was seated and head out the door. As I help myself climb into the vehicle, the driver immediately offered me the news paper that was in the back seat. I wasn’t surprised by this because every time I am sitting in his van, I read the paper until I get to the intended drop off point. While I was busy flipping the pages, he ask me a question. “How old is your child?”

Sometimes when my husband is off from work, the kids would tag along with him to pick me up after work and they would wait in front of our building where others parked their car. He must have seen one of them. “I have two kids, a girl and a boy, which one of them you want to know?” I asked him. It’s the boy he wants so I told him he’s two and a half, almost three. Our conversation continued

Driver: He is so adorable!
Me: Thank you!
Driver: What is his name?
Me: Prince
Driver: You are Christian no?
Me: Yes we are, you?
Driver: I am also Christian. Malayalam mass in St. Mary’s church is at 2:00 pm. What time is the Tagalog mass?
Me: at 12:30pm
Driver: I once attended a Filipino mass and it feels so good to be there and see Filipinos, so many of them all are laughing during homily.
Me: Yes, Father Tom, he is using practical jokes in his sermon most of the time
Driver: It is very nice to see when people are happy.
Me: Sure is.
Driver: I have a grandson, his name is Joshua and it is mentioned many times in the bible.
Me: It is a nice name (me smiling)
Driver: My name is Josh Mathew and my wife is Sheryl so my daughter combined our names for her son.
Me: Is your daughter here?
Josh Mathew: No they are in Australia
Me: Where is your wife?

Josh Mathew: She is in India just came back from Australia. She came to visit my daughter and helped her for a few months with our grandchild. I have another daughter who’s in college that’s why she has to go back to India

Me: How old is your grandson? Why don’t you go to Australia with your daughter?
Josh Mathew: He is three months now. They are asking me to move there but I still have a year in my visa. After that I will see. In my holiday, I am able to see him, first grandchild. I have a computer at home, we are using Skype.

Me: That’s really nice, even they are far and you can still see and talk to them.

Josh Mathew: Yes, yes. My children are raised here; I used to work for Standard Chartered Bank before as a Driver Manager. I came here in 1979; maybe you are not born yet :)

Me: I was born in the 80’s only and I came to Dubai in 2002.

Josh Mathew: I have seen old Dubai. Sheikh Zayed Road is still Dubai-Abu Dhabi highway back then and there’s only the Trade Center and all you can see after that is the desert.

Me: Yes, I have seen photos like that. It is very interesting.

It must be boring to be an expat in Dubai at that time. It must be home after work and work after home, no play or fun at all but I did not brought that up to him.

Josh Mathew: But Dubai is so far from where it was before, it’s is beautiful now and it is rich, all this happened after the oil discovery. The only problem here for us is we are never going to get citizenship. It is alright if you have a job all the time because you have the visa otherwise there is no chance. I have spent thirty years of my life here already; it is very safe here not like in our countries. Also now everything is expensive, even there is no tax almost all income will go to basic necessities. Nothing is free.

Me: Yes, you’re right nothing is free. Oh wait there is one thing that’s free, this bus service is.

And we are both laughing. :)

I thank him for the ride but I wasn’t able to tell him how I enjoyed our short conversation and that I felt I was happy after that. It brings joy to my heart that people though you don’t know them willingly share their lives to you. His happiness radiates to me; his happiness of becoming grandpa he extended to me, to a nobody for him just a passenger, an acquaintance.

And I thank you for that and I thank God for bringing happiness to my life when I least expect it.
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