The daily commute: Mark Asquith drives from Abu Dhabi to Dubai

  • Cars drive along the E11 between Abu Dhabi And Dubai.
  • London Furnishings. Shahama always looks a bustling community, a throw back to Abu Dhabi of a decade or more ago.
  • White van man. The ever present Toyota Hilux pickup truck, there seem to be more of these on the roads than any other vehicle.
  • Halfway. The roadworks that make up the new road system for Khalifa port in my mind always mark the mid-point of the commute.
  • Refreshments. While there are a few cafes dotted along the road the urgency to get home most evening means this is the usual view of them.
  • Billboard. One ever-changing view on the straight stretch in towards Dubai are the billboards, how much notice do we actually take of what they are selling though?
  • Prayer. Another common sight along the road during the journey. A man taking a quiet moment from his drive to pray.
  • Rearview. As the sun sets and headlights gather in mirrors.
  • Portrait. Always a welcome sight, the portrait of Sheikh Zayed at the side of the road always indicates being close to Dubai.
  • Bus. While many of us get to commute in the comfort of our air-conditioned cars many have a very different form of transport.
  • Signpost home. Turning off Sheikh Zayed Road and taking the loop to the left, Dubai Marina and the end of the journey lays just ahead.
  • Home. Out of the car and back home I can take a much more scenic view of the road.

September 16, 2012

With Abu Dhabi government announcing that soon all its employees must live in the emirate  Deputy Photo Editor Mark Asquith documented his daily commute home from Abu Dhabi to Dubai.

For thousands of people every day, working in the capital and living in Dubai means one thing: the daily commute.

A drearily dull, painfully straight road coupled with the often terrifying driving of other road-users bookends the day in a way most people would happily avoid.

Car sharing is one way to alleviate the tedium, as much for the welcome company on the schlep north or south as it is to save on tyre rubber and petrol costs.

But passengers bring with them their own dilemma: social interaction. How long must a conversation last? Is there anything new to even say? Is it impolite for passengers to sleep through the journey? Can we complain about the music?

The average commuter will clock up around 500 hours annually moving back and forth from Abu Dhabi and Dubai – a total of more than 20 days – so the road should be as familiar as the back of the driver’s hand.

But how many people actually take note of the roads, buildings, mosques and towns that zip by in the daily blur?

Recently, I decided to get the camera out and document the sights along the E11, to record how it looks when the blur becomes frozen.

Whether the images capture the shared experience of tens of thousands of motorists daily,  the viewer will have to judge.

                   
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