As much as I like living in Mumbai, I’m slowly but surely losing my mind. I haven’t traveled out of India since August, and definitely need a change of scenery. Fortunately I just booked a trip to Dubai in a few weeks so hopefully this loonyness will be short-lived. In spirit of my upcoming trip, I thought I’d tell you about one of my more memorable moments in Dubai…i.e the time I got lost in Dubai.
A little background information:
I have never lived in Dubai and despite my mom’s sister (who I will refer to as HM from here on) and her family having lived there for longer than I’ve been alive, I only visited the city in 2009 when my sister got married there. It must have been love at first trip because since then, I’ve been going back fairly regularly. Funny enough, being in Dubai always feels like home and I’m more than lucky to have a place to stay whenever I visit.
Now that I’ve given you the background details, I’ll go on to my story. It’s become somewhat of a tradition for HM to host an annual Diwali party…and when I say host, she basically goes all out. Fortunately one of my 2010 trips coincided with her party which meant I could finally attend…22 years later. Preparations had been underway for quite a few days beforehand but obviously there’s always something to be done till the last minute. On the actual morning, my ever-so-nifty aunt was putting her floral skills to use and decorating her house. Despite being all thumbs with anything involving creativity, I tried to help where I could. At around 4pm everything seemed good to go, the jello shots were made, and the rest of the work was left to the caterers who were expected any minute. The weather in Dubai during October to December is a runner’s dream. To make the most of it, I laced up my trainers for a quick, 20-minute run around the block.
The first 10 minutes were tortuous, but by around minute 18 I found my groove and decided to milk the adrenaline rush. Considering how many times I’ve driven up and down Beech Road, I figured I knew the area well enough to keep running. Thirty-five minutes later, I turn back to head home…sweaty, on a runners’ high and eager to shower in time for my upcoming hair appointment.
Ehhh wrong. I was completely lost, had no idea where I was, no cell phone on me, no idea of my aunt’s exact address, no contact numbers on me…zilch nada…just me, my iTouch and a bunch of construction workers staring at this foreign girl i.e. ME! To say I turned hysterical is an understatement…I thought it was the end of me. In the meanwhile, my mom was going hysterical at home too…but something tells me it was more at the prospect of us missing our hair appointments ! Despite HM telling her to stop over-reacting, my mom made my cousin Niki drive her around the area to find me.
Many tears later and me screaming “Niki” with the hopes that my cousin would hear me, I spot 2 French women and run towards them. I know our parents taught us to never talk to strangers but it was either that or hopelessly camp out on the streets! Bear in mind, it was getting darker by the minute.
These women obviously sympathized and offered to give me a lift. We drove around for a bit, the house was nowhere to be found but then a brain-wave hit:
HM has a tab at the supermarket Choithrams on Al Wasal Road…obviously they will have her number in their database. That might have been the longest 2 hours of my life, but I could have kissed the familiar ground of Choithrams when we drove up. Within 5 minutes, I was on the phone to HM’s husband to inform him of my whereabouts, and Niki and my mom had arrived at Choithrams to pick me up.
And in case you’re wondering, we made our hair appointments, the party went off great, and you better believe my iTouch now stores my aunt’s mobile number, all my cousins who live in Dubai’s mobile numbers, and their house number. On that note, I think I will have to stick to the treadmill on my upcoming trip.
Ever gotten lost?