x Abu Dhabi, UAETuesday 25 July 2017

Taking a drive down memory lane

A cab ride is just another opportunity for a very unique view of Abu Dhabi.

Some of my best memories are ones experienced upside down... literally.

During my first stint in Abu Dhabi as a nine-year-old, I remembered getting in my father's ear about how I wanted him to take the family out for a drive.

I didn't care what the destination was; the fact that I was in his burgundy Chevrolet Malibu Classic was more than enough.

But my father was the brooding sort; things had to be mulled over with a cigarette before concrete action was taken.

I would wait till he awoke from his afternoon siesta, had his espresso, cigarette and finished reading the papers before approaching him with my request.

"I am tired today, habibi," he would reply.

I would solemnly nod and skulk to my room only to return half an hour later with the same request, albeit in a more urgent tone.

This time, I would answer back when he again said no.

"I am bored and I have had it up to here!" I said, dramatically pointing my fingers to my throat.

"All of my friends are having drives with their families and all we do is stay home!"

One night, my father bizarrely told me to back up my claims by requesting I peer out of our living room window at cars zooming past Airport Road. He promised that if I spotted 10 cars with families in them, then I would have made my point and the family would go out for a drive.

Looking back at it now, this was merely a way for my parents to plan our family outing without me causing a nuisance.

When I returned victorious a few minutes later - with the colours and makes of some of the cars spotted - my parents were getting ready to leave.

Once the family was in the car, I would demand I sit in my favourite spot: the car floor in the back seat with my eyes peering at the window above so I could be thrilled at seeing the city's mammoth buildings upside down while cruising.

My brother and sister would gleefully rest their feet on my chest. (That was the only time I condoned being stepped on.)

For the one-hour drive, I would be enchanted by my inverted view of Abu Dhabi and would return home slightly dizzy but wholly satisfied.

Trying to explain this story to befuddled taxi drivers nowadays can be an effort.

Instead, I silently enter the back seat of the cab and once again lie on my back, peering up through the tinted windows, content in my own journey down memory lane.