5th August, 2016
I never got to blog about this day, but it is worth blogging about!
Ok … so you understand that it rarely rains in the UAE – a handful of days in the past 3 years only – so you will also understand how surprised and confused we were to see the sky becoming an ominous grey/red colour.
I was my second or third day of driving, from the wrong side of the car and on the wrong side of the road, so I was still getting used to the weirdness of it all. I had offered to take some of my new friends here to a furniture store I found earlier in the day so that they could get curtains and rails. First, we had to swing by my flat so that I could drop the stuff off that was in the boot so that I could fit their shopping in – I knew there would be lots!
Driving towards Al Markhaniya, I commented on the sky. By the time we had reached my flat and got inside a fierce, red sandstorm had blown in. We were watching from the window in the lounge when a metal fence panel from the building site opposite blew across the road towards my car, which was parked in it’s usual place out the front. At this point we decided we better get out and head back towards the hotel, or at least the furniture store which is en-route.
Then the rain came … not much, but big dusty red drops … and I thought nothing more of it as driving in rain is common in the UK. But wow, what an effect this small amount of rain had on the streets – which instantly flooded!
We made it to the store and shopped while the rain continued. The ground is so dry all the time, that any rain just runs right off and the drains can’t cope initially. Eventually the water does drain away and the streets clear once more.
The souk where the furniture store is located was flooded when we came out – I drove through a foot of water to extract the car from said souk, and we navigated flooded roundabouts and hideous traffic back to the Al Ain Hilton. There were fallen branches and trees too as the gusts of wind had been strong at the front of the storm.
People commented that they had watched the storm rolling in and were thinking they were glad to be in the hotel, but it had been kinda fun to be out in it; the first rain that Al Ain had had in some time!