Friday, September 21, 2012

Driving and Parking in Doha

I could share endless stories about driving and parking in Doha!  There is a lot of traffic in this city as the population has far surpassed the design of the roads.  Slowly but surely many of the turning circles are being converted to include signal lights and a few even have the U-turn lanes I grew to love in Houston!  This definitely helps a bit, although the traffic signals take FOREVER to turn green!!! 

For the most part, drivers are aggressive and selfish ... particularly the Qataris.  They clearly feel entitled to the road.  If they come up behind you, they flash their lights and expect you to get out of the way ... immediately.  While there are heavy fines for speeding and other traffic violations, they do not apply to Qatari people, and their driving shows it!  They have no trouble making their own lane, driving on sidewalks, and NEVER let you in!  There is NO courtesy when driving here!  At first it drove me crazy, but I've gotten much better about not reacting to all the rudeness on the roads.  It seems to help to always expect to be cut off and never let in to the flow of traffic, then you're not offended and it's a wonderful surprise to find someone polite on the road.

Parking is clearly an afterthought here and many places just don't have adequate parking.  The parking lot at Jaden's school is a sight to be seen!!!  It's an unpaved lot, but it's level and graded for parking.  Lots of fine sand and rocks.  People attempt to park in an orderly fashion even without the use of parking lines painted, but once the obvious "spots" fill up, people park their cars any where they can. 

I arrived early one day and was excited to get a spot close to the school, only to find out I was trapped for 20 minutes before I could leave.  There were cars parked perpendicular in front and behind me. 

Yesterday, after dropping Jaden off for school, I returned to my car to see another mom getting her kids out of her car parked behind me and another car, completely blocking us in.  The lady next to me was also trying to leave and told her she couldn't just leave her car blocking us in, we wanted to get out.  So the mom moved her car ~5 feet so she wasn't blocking her, but she was still blocking me!  I said the same thing, you can't just leave you're car there.  Mind you the lot was emptying and there were ample legitimate places she could have parked.  But instead she tells me, "Can't you see, I'm late.  I'm not moving my car again!"  I said, but I have places to be too.  So she says, "then you move my car."  I promptly got in her car (which she had left running - very common here) and moved her car to a proper parking place.  I couldn't believe it!  I almost wished I had thought of parking her car in an obscure place where she couldn't find it, but I was nice. 

It's happened at a bookstore once too ... I parked my car and a Qatari man pulled in immediately next to me, but at an angle.  I could barely squeeze out of the car, but the boys literally had 3 inches of space between their door and his.  They had to get out on the other side of the car.  Then when we came out of the store, once again a car was parked (and running) perpendicular behind me and we had to wait for them to finish their shopping and come out to move their car...luckily we only had to wait a few minutes.

I wonder if it's always okay to just move the car out of the way.  Is that why they leave them running??  What would happen if they come out while I'm moving their car?  Would I go to jail for car theft??  This is why we just sit and wait. 

No comments:

Post a Comment