“Your parcel’s at Al Quoz Post Office…”
They’re words I dread to hear, not least because it’s not even our local Post Office, but because the Al Quoz Industrial Area is Dubai’s very own Bermuda Triangle. I’m sure there are expats who’ve ventured in, never to be seen again. Whole busloads of them, even.
And, before you start going on about how lovely Al Quoz is, I’m not talking about the pretty little outskirts here, where you find your Marina, your Lime Tree Café and your trendy little art galleries.
Oh no. I knew that the Al Quoz Post Office would be hidden somewhere between a tangle of labour camps, the cement works, a minimart and a dusty little ghaf tree.
Actually, given how much trouble DH’s office driver once had finding it, I half expected to be in a secret underground tunnel, the entrance hidden by dry leaves.
Anyway, about a month ago we got notice of a parcel waiting for us in “Al Quoz Post Office”. I kept forgetting to give it to DH, then he went away on business and the final reminder arrived, giving a date this week after which they would burn my parcel and flush the ashes down the loo. There was only one thing for it: I had to go myself.
A quick internet search revealed the elusive Post Office was on Street 318. Great – with my trusty Explorer map on the passenger seat and the Al Khail Mall as a marker, I set off – and, within minutes of entering the Bermuda Triangle, I found the spanking-new Post Office, just where I thought it would be. Furthermore, despite it being just 7.55am, it was open.
I practically skipped inside. There were no customers – maybe I’m not the only one with issues finding it.
“Is this the right place to pick up a parcel?” I asked the man at the counter.
“Yes!” he said, beaming back at me. He took my slip, then laughed.
“Well, it would be if you were at the right Post Office!” he said.
You know that feeling where your body collapses from the inside out and you think you’re just going to sink to the floor in defeat? Yeah, that.
“Seriously?” I asked.
“Yes, this Al Quoz 4 post Office. You need Al Quoz 1 Post Office.” (I must point out that the slip didn’t mention any numbers).
“Just a minute,” said the man, and disappeared out the back.
Now I’m ashamed to admit that, at that point, I was guilty of some classic DEGS (Dubai Expat Gone Soft) behaviour: I expected the man to call up the other Post Office and have my parcel delivered to me in Al Quoz 4 Post Office by another man on a moped while I waited with a nice cup of tea.
That didn’t happen.
Instead, the man reappeared with a little photocopied map (clearly I was not the first to get Bermuda Triangle 1 mixed up with Bermuda Triangle 4).
“You are here,” he pointed with his biro. “You need to go here.”
And this is the bit I still can’t quite believe: The map was brilliant. I got there in two minutes. I parked outside. I got the parcel.
Forget Everest, my lovelies, I have conquered both Al Quoz 1 and Al Quoz 4 – any questions, I’m your girl.