Ok so granted this isn’t something that happens regularly or often, but rain really does have an impact when it happens. The first thing you notice after any amount of rain is the water puddles, or “ponds” as they are referred to here, that manifest in all sorts of places. Drainage is not a priority when roads are built, and as the water table is quite high here (surprisingly) the water doesn’t go anywhere. It just lies around waiting for unsuspecting drivers, and later, becomes a breeding ground for nasty little mosquitoes. Not only that, but a great deal of the buildings are not properly waterproofed, again because it is so seldom a problem.
We have had a fair amount of rain in the last few weeks. Sunday night we had a particularly heavy downpour and it was still raining in the morning. So as you can imagine the chaos that ensued on the roads. Despite the fact that most of the expat population here come from countries where rain is more common the ability to drive in the wet is for some reason non-existent. The result is that we have two kinds of wet-weather driving here; the maniacs who go flat out no matter what the weather, and then those that brake suddenly for any amount of water – where yesterday there was flat road there is now the worry that perhaps this puddle is concealing a massive crater that appeared overnight and can’t possibly be driven through. My personal favourite are the drivers of big shiny SUVs that won’t drive through a bit of water! The taxi drivers are notorious for aqua-planing all over the place as they do their usual “braking at the last minute” manoeuvre – which doesn’t work so well in a Camry in the rain.
The cost of a few days rain is high. According to the paper there were actually 630 accidents on what is now being called “Black Monday”. 630!! That is insane if you ask me. This would be a funny statistic if it weren’t for the fact that several people lost their lives. In addition several shops have lost millions of dirhams worth of stock and remain closed at Ibn Battuta mall due to collapsed ceilings after the rain pooled on the poorly waterproofed roof.
There may be more rain in our immediate future – so please people take it easy out there – decrease your speed, increase your following distance and make sure your tyres and wiper blades are in good health.