I am going to start today’s look at Al Ain Roundabouts with something that isn’t even a roundabout. Why? Well, apparently it used to be the Clock Tower Roundabout, but when they took out some of the roundabouts in the downtown area and replaced them with street lights, they moved the Clock Tower off to the side of the road.
I have heard it still referred to as the Clock Tower Roundabout (street light?). Fortunately, this landmark was saved, but many other roundabouts were not so lucky. I have heard rumors of a Treasure Chest Roundabout and a Coffee Pot Roundabout. Both of which I believe no longer exist. When I Google roundabouts of Al Ain, many pictures come up of roundabouts that I fear are now extinct some of which are the Castle Roundabout and the Globe Roundabout. In the mean time, here are a few roundabouts that are alive and well.
I am not sure if this one has an official name, but everyone calls it the Christmas Tree Roundabout. I don’t think I even need to explain why we call it that, but maybe it is odd that we do considering this is a country that doesn’t celebrate Christmas and doesn’t have pine trees. Here is another picture of it at night when it is all aglow.
Here is an example of the way we give directions. I found this on the website for Oasis secondhand bookstore as I was searching for an official name for this roundabout.
The Oasis secondhand bookstore is located near the Greenland Compound and Christmas Tree roundabout in the west of Al Ain. In other words, it’s not far from Tawam Hospital, the Palm Rugby Club, and Abela supermarket.
Speaking of Tawam…. The Tawam Roundabout (or Twam as it is spelled on one sign – spelling consistency isn’t a high priority around here) is the biggest, baddest roundabout in Al Ain, and it is MY roundabout. I can’t go anywhere without circling this bad boy.
I took the top photo, but the second photo was shamelessly copied from the internet because I wanted a closer look at the horses. So, you ask, what makes the Tawam Roundabout so exciting? You know, besides the cute little white and brown horse statues? Well, it has five exit points instead of four. This is apparently enough of an issue to cause major havoc, and there is an accident in it just about every day. Plus the police like to park along the exits and issues citations to people not wearing seat belts.
Another roundabout biggie is the Jabal Roundabout (also spelled Jabel, Jebal, or Jebel – as I said, spelling consistency doesn’t seem to bother people here). Jabal means mountain in Arabic. I think these look more like rocks than a mountain, but this was probably named by the same people that think it is normal to go snow skiing in the mall. Their concept of a mountain just isn’t Mount St. Helens.
This roundabout is what I consider the border into “downtown”. You can’t tell from this angle, but it is the roundabout near a Pizza Hut and Home R Us, both important places in terms of going there and using them as a pinpoint for directions.
Well, khalas (that’s enough) for today. Don’t worry Christine, YOUR roundabout will be in the next segment. I finally got some nice pictures of it last weekend although I did risk my life to trying to take them. Hope all of you have enjoyed the most recent postings. I will be on a hiatus for a few weeks while Kassandra and I journey through Europe. Stayed tuned for our adventures on the Eurorail.