Saturday, May 13, 2006

Something I Noticed

One thing I can't get over, is that even with oil being as cheap as it is in this country, the cars are still slightly smaller than in the US. There are still many European hatchbacks, very few pickup trucks, and all the taxis are FWD Toyota Camrys, not RWD Ford Crown Victorias.

While there is an incredible amount of building going on in this country, builders still prefer smaller Toyota pickups to gargantuan Ford F-150s. And yet in the US where there is far less construction being done, we see people adamant about commuting to and from work in huge, clean, empty F-150s and Silverados.

I really don't get it. I wonder sometimes if there is an oil shortage or an IQ shortage.

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Thursday, May 11, 2006

Welcome to Car Valhalla

Well please forgive me for the lack of updates but I hope you can understand that I have just moved to another country, and the rigours of setting myself up have taken up all my time.

I am now writing this blog from Dubai in the United Arab Emirates. The British readers of this blog are intimately familiar with this city, and might even know someone here. There are over 70 thousand British expats who make their home in this city, and thousands more in the Middle East. To Americans who read this blog, they are probably vaguely familiar with it from the Port Authority debacle that occurred a couple of months ago, where a Dubai based firm attempted to broker a deal to run security for an American port. I can assure my American readers that Dubai is a completely modern (in fact almost futuristic) city with all the accoutrements of a Western city, including bars and night clubs.

This is a blog about cars and so much of what has caught my eye in this country has been the various cars on the road. If you are into cars, this is the country for you. The current price per gallon of gasoline is about a dollar and a half. Cars with V8 engines are in abundance. There is no sales tax in this country nor is their income tax. The temptation to buy a fast vehicle is incredibly strong.

That said, most people who can afford buy cars. Like most of the oil rich Middle East, there is inadequate public transportation. The company I work for has put me up in a hotel, and I share a ride to work in a taxi with other new employees who haven't yet found housing. While the cost of a cab ride is considerably cheaper than anywhere in Europe, I would still save a bit of money if I bought my own car.

I am torn between a Seat Leon and a used Chevrolet Lumina S coupe. One of the fantastic things about this country besides the cheap fuel, cheap out insurance, and cheap registration is that virtually every type of car brand is sold here. That means I can get a car brand I can't get back in the states (Seat), or a trim level not available to me normally.(the Lumina coupe, sold as the Pontiac GTO in the US, comes in a V6 or V8 version in the Middle East)

Once you couple all that with the low cost of things here, you have a pretty good deal. I don't know about other aspects of my future, but my car related future looks pretty bright!

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