24 January 2010

Little Yellow Honda Jazz

Goodbye little yellow Jazz.

First, let me begin by saying that we have lived in the UAE for seventeen months now, and that includes the eight weeks we were in the United States and Canada last summer for our mandatory summer holiday. In those seventeen months, we have driven seven different cars. Eight if you count our car back home. Uffda.

Our first car in the UAE was a red Honda Jazz. The first time I saw it I was not impressed. How could we fit all our stuff? How could this compact car possibly be safe on the crazy streets around here? Since I was the one driving for the first few weeks (I was on a visitor visa and therefore allowed to drive with my US driver’s license; my husband had a work visa and therefore needed a UAE license to drive), I was pretty much hoping for a great big gas-guzzling SUV to keep my children safe. Since we were renting the vehicle, costs allowed us only the smallest class of vehicle. Besides, I’m a tree-hugger through and through and I’m sure I would have a crisis of conscience if I ever set foot in a full-sized SUV. Therefore, the Honda Jazz, aka: Honda Fit.

Anyway, little red Jazz turned out to be a great car. It was zippy and responsive and had a whole lot more trunk space than I ever thought possible. Oh, and we routinely got the equivalent of 37-39 mpg. Nice. But little red Jazz needed its yearly maintenance and so was exchanged for a wretched Toyota Yaris with absolutely no trunk space. Let it be said that I like Toyota; I just don’t like the no trunk space. We learned we would not be getting our red Jazz back since it was old enough to be sold out of their fleet of cars. We only had a few weeks left before our summer holiday, so we lumped the no trunk space and got on with it. Until, the manic driving over here got the best of me. With just two weeks to go and accident-free in the UAE, I was hit from behind while stopped at a red light. Luckily, the boys and I were fine; the car was not. So wretched white Yaris went bye-bye and we were given the only available car in our class-a black Honda Jazz. Ugh. We. Live. In. A. Hot. Desert. Black cars may be a status symbol here, but we are not status symbol kind of people! But again, we only had two weeks to go, so we took the car and went on our merry way, only to vow we would never drive a black car in the desert again.

One summer holiday later, we are at the Dubai airport in the 125F heat (mind you it’s 11:00p.m.) waiting for our rental car that we reserved before we left (with specific instructions for any color but black). Oops. No record of a reservation. In fact, no record of our previous ten month rental history with them. And unlike the US, the rental companies here don’t really care if you are a satisfied customer. We have been routinely up-graded in the US when rental companies do not have our requested vehicle available (and sometimes even when they do just to make us happy campers and hopefully repeat customers). Over an hour later, standing in the 125F parking lot with much too much luggage and two small boys who had been traveling for over twenty-four hours, the Hertz Rental Company decided they could bring in a Jazz from another site. It took them less than twenty minutes. It was black. I didn’t care. We drove it for over four months while we waited for a replacement. . . and then came the Oman trip. Hooray for an expired registration. We ended up with another black Jazz for the holiday, but immediately traded it in for a yellow Jazz. Yes, yellow. Love it. No way would anyone miss seeing us on the road. No way would I lose the car in the crowded parking lot. I was in love, with a car.

But some love stories have sad endings. Even though there was no possible way any living, breathing driver on the crazy UAE roads could ever miss seeing our car, a young girl just happened to prove that theory wrong. I would like to add that my husband and I were on our first date since moving to the UAE in September of 2008. We enjoyed a quiet dinner and a decent movie. We were on our way home when aforementioned young lady hit us from behind. Might I also add that we were stopped in a long queue of cars about 300m from the intersection when we were hit. Oh, and it might be worth mentioning that she hit us not once, but twice. Evidently she wasn’t quite finished with us the first time. So now I am left with a sore neck and back and more than a headache or two, and a silver Toyota Yaris. Ack! No trunk space. I think I might have to call Hertz every day until I get another little yellow Jazz. Or red. Or white. Anything but black.

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