Nowadays I have nightmares most nights. I dont know if it is because deep down I am incessantly worried about my pregnancy or because I always get nightmares when I am hungry in the middle of the night; which I am, nowadays, I wake up and have to eat a snack. Today I woke up thinking I was outside one of the souks - (I have already forgotten the name) in Dubai and it was late and I couldnt get a cab back to my hotel.
A couple of years back I had gone on a business trip to Dubai, all by myself. So of course I had an option of returning back to my hotel room and ordering room service every evening or going out by myself and visiting all the normal touristy places. I was assured by my colleagues that Dubai was extremely safe for a lone female traveller so off I would go every evening, on recommendations or looking in my guide book. And I am glad I did, I hit most of the places to see (though Burj Al Arab wouldnt let me in because I had no appointment and was wearing jeans and sneakers) but anyways..
One of these recommendations was to a Sanjeev Kapoor restaurant. Of course they forgot to mention that they always travel by car and wouldnt know about cab arrangements. The restaurant was not in the best of locations flanked on both sides by girl clubs or night clubs or whatever they are called. I took a cab and reached there around eight; I was so excited with the prospect of eating there. When I went upstairs to the restaurant (its in a simple one story building by itself), the staff told me that they were expecting a big party at 8.30 and would I be able to eat quickly and leave by then. NO. I was there at eight, that would have given me ten minutes to gobble my food after a 15 minute serving time. So I left, disappointed. When I got downstairs, I looked around for the first time. There were no cabs in sight, I stood outside the restaurant for the longest time and tried to wait for a cab. It was already dark and suddenly my cheerful mood disappeared; hunger and the fear of being in a place unknown took over. The music from the clubs nearby was blaring loud and I felt like cars were slowing down to look at me. I asked the watchman and he said my best bet was to get to the main road to hail a cab. So I started walking towards the main road (it would have been a good 15 minute walk) plus my heels started sinking in the sand so it made it more difficult. Plus I was beginning to slowly freak out, the whole atmosphere of the location with the two huge night clubs reminded me of every bad Hindi movie where the heroine gets kidnapped. I didnt have a cell phone, P had no idea where I was, I started praying fervently. Please please please, let a cab come by.
My aunt in law always says that God appears in the form of someone when you need him/her. To my good fortune, a cab pulled by, the driver said he would charge me double (I have no idea why, maybe he realised that I was scared and wanted to make a quick buck?). I said I dont care, just get me to my hotel. I have relived that walk in the sand in the dark evening many times after that and have been scared about what could have been. But it was a happy ending and thats all that matters. I got to my hotel safe and sound and researched thoroughly the cab options before I ventured out again the day after :)