Monday, December 17, 2007

Christmas time in this city

Strolling into the Novotel for my dinner at Le Beaujolais the other night I found the choir pictured above singing Christmas songs (of the more secular variety) in the lobby. The singers, I was told, were all staff from the Accor group.

Anyway, the sweet harmonies were just what I needed to calm me down.

I had waited outside the office for over half-an-hour for a taxi with several others including excitable youngsters who found it great sport to indulge in a bit of queue jumping (an oxymoron in the Sandlands, I guess, since a culture of queuing in a civilized manner is notable by its absence).

As I have mentioned before, the reform of the Abu Dhabi taxi services has resulted in a net loss of vehicles operating at any given time. Long waits are now the rule rather than the exception.

The cab I finally took was one of the new silver-liveried saloons. Instead of AED 4.50 on the clock when I arrived at my destination the fare was AED 10.50! Again, as I said last week, this is still peanuts in comparison with European prices. But, again, isn't a price rise of over 100% going to have a disastrous effect on the shop assistants and junior clerks who until now have used the gold-and-whites as their everyday public transport, in the absence of alternatives?

So I was fuming and frustrated and deeply concerned about developments here in the capital when I arrived for dinner. The choirs rendering of the refrain... "it's Christmastime in the city"... helped a lot!

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