Non-parents might think of it as a short commute, but a trip from Abu Dhabi to Dubai can be a daunting expedition with a baby, sometimes requiring a hotel room and overnight stay. The drive is the least of one's problems. It's only one and a half hours. If you time it with a long midday nap, it's actually a relaxing chance to catch up with a spouse on the happenings of the past week.
The next hurdle is not getting lost once you arrive in Dubai. If you do only a couple of U-turns and going around the roundabouts repeatedly to get your bearings before you arrive at the hotel or mall, or friend's house, then you are in good stead. The baby may still be asleep, if you're lucky, or it may have been screaming for the last 10 minutes, raising the stakes and your blood pressure considerably.
My last trip to Dubai was on the occasion of the Metro opening, with an 11-month-old baby and husband in tow. I was determined to ride the Metro. "If there's one thing I want to support in Dubai, it's the Metro," I told my husband. Up until then I had refused to even look at Ski Dubai in the Mall of the Emirates, on lofty eco-moral grounds. Being a bit stingy, we booked a room at Ibis instead of the Atlantis, conveniently located near the Mall of the Emirates Metro stop. It might not have a water park, but it does provide a perfectly functional and clean travel crib.
I was clearly not thinking about baby contingencies, which implies that all plans are subject to change and will probably not go according to schedule (or even go at all). I shouldn't have booked a hotel so close to the Mall of the Emirates. It was a fatal flaw. We arrived at the hotel, went for a walk towards the Metro, and somehow ended up looking, with unabashed excitement, at Ski Dubai. How did this happen? I still don't know. But it had something to do with being hungry and lazy. It's this kind of take-charge attitude that will win me the mother of the year award from Abu Dhabi Mums. The next day we packed all our many belongings, which took some time. Going on a car trip requires more luggage than a trip to India, since you have a vehicle to be your coolie. Once we were checked out of the hotel, we started walking towards the Metro stop. We saw signs and astutely followed them, but it was the opening weekend and there were kinks and detours. We finally made it to the ticket vendor, and saw that the next train was arriving in 20 minutes.
"Hmmm," I thought, "I'm not sure if we can make it down to Union Square station and then back and still be in time for the baby's nap-drive back to Abu Dhabi." So we contented ourselves with looking at the crowds and then turning back, regretfully, towards our ride home. We saw the ski slopes and the rails, but didn't enter either. Strangely, we didn't much care. That's what happens to lofty morals when a little ankle-biter enters your life. There's always a next trip. email@example.com