Saturday, October 17, 2009

Street addresses...or lack thereof

OK...I have to admit I have always taken addresses for granted...of COURSE streets have names and of COURSE buildings have a number and they're in order and, relatively speaking, fairly predictable - unless, of course, you have short blocks or dead ends or.....but still. Addresses are everywhere! Right?....Wrong.
We landed in Japan to discover that most streets do not have names and the numbering system for areas, blocks and houses have their own, unique, truly Japanese system. We figured out how to live with it, drive by landmarks (love the Navi) and make our way around.
Welcome to Qatar...and apparently the Middle East in general. Addresses here are even more trying than in Japan. We actually have NO street address. Most streets have no names - the main, busiest ones do but that's it. Small streets, no way. We do have a unit number, stuck on the wall outside our gate but that's it. Once again we are living by maps and landmarks. The school has an address for us...they make up names (like some people live in the Orange Villas because they are orange colored - Big Orange Villas because they're bigger...yes...and orange). We live in Al Waab because our place is near Al Waab street. (yeah...a named street!) ASD calls identifies us by the area and then the unit number. It's interesting because on our "block" the numbers go from 25 down has been changed to 12a....25 to 14 then 12a - an obviously new sign created by someone....:). cope with this, we make up stuff. Some roundabouts have names - Sports Roundabout (picture) has lots of figures for different sports and Treasure Chest roundabout actually has a treasure chest in one corner. One is called Decoration Roundabout - don't know why but everyone knows it. Then you get the ASD Billboard corner. Everyone at school knows which intersection you're talking about but the local people? No way! And then....they tore down our billboards....what will we do now?

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