Our guest commuter for today is Tosin Osunlaja. Again. Now, she’s living it up. Not long after adapting to her new life of helicopters and spending days at sea as a petroleum engineer off the coast of Nigeria, she’s been whisked to the United Arab Emirates for training. As an extended visitor there, she’s seen most of what there is to see, and offers some insights into public transport in beautiful Dubai. Share it, leave comments, enjoy.
For all its magnificent buildings, the Burj Khalifa and Burj al-Arab among others, Dubai has few forms of public transportation. As a Nigerian used to choice – most of them dangerous – this was culture shock. Here, you can decide on a taxi, take a train called the metro, or walk gracefully. Walking in Dubai sometimes feels like walking on the moon with the nicely paved walkways, sometimes properly tiled, so you know your shoes aren’t getting dirty any time soon, as you enjoy the sights.
In my first days here, I missed all the views by taxi, because my eyes were stuck firmly on the metre running faster than the tyres, while frantically calculating the contents of my purse.
Alternatively, taking the metro gives you the opportunity to really enjoy the breath-taking architectural wonders of Dubai: tall buildings by the side, moving cars below you. It was easy to wonder if only certain car brands were accepted into this town. Are there no crappy cars here? Unlike in certain places I know that won’t be mentioned, the transport is really neat. No eating, chewing, drinking or stinky fish is allowed on board.
Interestingly, different people prefer different views. Once in the metro heading home from the market with my friend Charles, we had to stand because the train was full. This bald guy in his forties remained seated beside me. While talking to Charles, it wasn’t hard to notice the guy had his iPhone 4s in front of him in a rather awkward position. He didn’t look like he was playing a game, or making a call. He appeared to be trying to get a peek at something and needed to compensate for his short-term memory by taking a snapshot of it. My curiosity led me to stand behind him with clear sight of his screen. I knew it! His camera was on. I was immediately disgusted when I saw this short skirted pretty Asian girl in clear focus, no more than 18 years, sitting right in front and facing him. He was silently clicking away each time she moved.
The triumph of being right was short-lived, quickly replaced with a strong urge to whack his shiny head with my handbag. I walked back to Charles with my discovery. Apparently, I wasn’t the only one who noticed what the pervert was up to. On the other side, two youths sitting behind him had broad suspicious smiles on the faces. Apparently, my movement had caused quite a stir because about a minute later, a woman, who was probably the girl’s mother, got up from a seat adjacent to the girl’s and they swapped places.
My darting eyes were quick enough to catch his look of disappointment upon noticing the switch in his screen. Before a smirk could cross my face, though, I watched in horror as his camera panned right back and locked on his target; slow movements, but noticeable enough. Instinctively, I went to stand directly between them to block his view. I felt like a women’s rights activist. His countenance dropped instantly.
While it lasted, I enjoyed his misery. At the next station a good number of people alighted and there was no need for me to stand anymore. I reluctantly took my seat, but felt relieved knowing that in the full view of others, he would no longer pursue his shameful ambitions. The moment I walked towards the seat, he shot up from his and took my standing position in front of the girl, where no possible obstructions could appear. It was obvious he was determined to have his way, and there was only so much I could do. I was defeated. Standing in front of me, he had his phone dangling in his hand with the camera still on and his finger, like a sniper’s, ready to click at the slightest opportunity. I was forced to marvel at his sick determination.
Charles and I finally arrived at our station after forty-five minutes of drama. On my way out of the train, I turned to the girl’s mother, and with the only sign language I could muster, asked her if she knew her daughter was the object of a stalker’s undivided attention. She returned a frustrated look because she didn’t know what to do. The seat I vacated was still empty and had better access to the guy, so she moved there just as I stepped out. I can only imagine what became of the twisted man after that. Heaven knows that if it were my mum … walahi!
These days, I keep an eye out for those who decide that the perfect shot for them is right under a woman’s skirt. Dare they try, they’ll unleash the Port Harcourt girl in me.