x Abu Dhabi, UAEMonday 24 July 2017

Joe the Hummer

Joe Duncan is a lucky man. The affable Scot has found a unique way to avoid the Abu Dhabi rent crisis.

Joe Duncan has owned an H3 for six months and enjoys the car's versatility, regularly taking the car out into the desert to pursue his passion for off-road motorbiking.
Joe Duncan has owned an H3 for six months and enjoys the car's versatility, regularly taking the car out into the desert to pursue his passion for off-road motorbiking.

Joe Duncan is a lucky man. The affable Scot has found a unique way to avoid the Abu Dhabi rent crisis. He is spared the pain of haggling over whether it will be one giant cheque or two reasonably big cheques. In four-and-a-half years, he has not had to ring a landlord to demand that someone come over and fix the AC yesterday or unblock drains. This is because Joe lives on an idyllic boat moored at Al Bateen Marina. Home is a berth, not an apartment block and on weekends, he can take his house out to Abu Dhabi's islands where there are no traffic jams, speed cameras or headlight-flashing drivers. But even the most dedicated seafarer needs to spend some time on dry land and on the roads - and in Joe's case, that means playing his part in making Abu Dhabi leafier as contracts manager for Emirates Landscape. In order to get around town, meet clients, check out the progress of landscaping projects and tow boats, he drives a shiny white Hummer H3. "I wanted a car that was a bit different, something I could use every day for work and also for my hobbies," Joe says. "I like to go desert driving on weekends or out to the mountains camping with friends." "I also do a lot of sports, especially kayaking and off-road motorbiking in the desert and the car is good for that too. I can put the bike on a trailer, attach it to the Hummer and just go out to the desert." Joe has owned the H3 for six months and he is very pleased with it. "It's the kind of car that I can use to take shopping in the morning and then head out to the desert in the afternoon," he says. "It's smooth to drive, it's very comfortable." The H3 isn't Joe's first daliance with hefty cars. Since coming to the UAE in 1995, Joe has owned a series of big, beefy workhorse-like vehicles - a Nissan Patrol, a Mitsubishi Pajero and a Dodge pick-up truck. Even so, he still harbours a motoring fantasy common to most men. "Like any fella, my dream car would have to be an Aston Martin," he says - although he roared with laughter at any comparisons to James Bond, perhaps the most famous Aston Martin driver of all. Joe's self-deprecation continued when he posed for our photographer and turned out to be a reluctant although constantly wisecracking model. "I'm not posing on the bonnet, I'll look ridiculous!" he laughed. Even so, the photographer did manage to convince him to sit on the bonnet for one shot and had him gazing into the highly polished wing mirror for another, while Joe kept making jokes about whether the wide angle lens was in use. The photographer asked Joe why he chose the Hummer H3 rather than the gigantic road-hog that is the Hummer H2. "The H2 is too big," said Joe. "You'd never get it into an Abu Dhabi parking space." True enough, parking spaces in Abu Dhabi can be a struggle for the average Toyota Corolla to slot into, never mind anything bigger. But at Al Bateen Marina, even amid all the redevelopment work, there are plenty of places for Joe to park the Hummer. Yes, he really is a lucky man indeed. glewis@thenational.ae