Friday

La Brioche - Into the wilds of KCA, by bus.

Over a cup of tea, the day before the project:

“Do we have to go by bus?”
“Yes, that’s the plan”


“But it’s just another Brioche, they’re everywhere, it’s not like there is some super special place out there”
“Bus Kim, we said we’d go by bus, YOU said you liked buses, we are going to go by bus”
“Not taxi”
“Not a taxi”
“Okay, fine” *pouting* “but we don’t have to go there AND back by bus do we”
“It kind of defeats the purpose if we don’t, don’t you think?”
“Not really, our goal is the coffee shop, getting there by bus means we have completed our goal”
“Kim…”
“FINE… whatever” *much pouting*
“Right, I have to get going to see some clients – would you be able to check the Bus company’s web-portal for which bus we are going to take?”
“Fine”
“I can do it if it’s a problem”
“I’LL do it”
“Ooookay… cool then”

Kim: “We can go from Al Wahda bus station to Khalifa City A ADNOC on bus number 160. Guess we have to walk from there. Is ADNOC close to Brioche?”
Me: “You are kidding…it’s miles from there…There’s not one that goes to the     pink shops?”
Kim:“I don’t think so, unless there are internal buses? I looked on the bus schedule and only the one bus goes to Khalifa A”

*cue my spidey senses poking me that there might be an untruth going on here*

Me: “Then we have a problem…miles I tell you”
Kim : “LoL. Oh dear…”
Me: “Hmmm…”

Text morning of the project:

Me, after going to the bus web-portal to validate my offsider’s claims:
“AWESOME news. There are 2 buses that go to the pink shops at KCA”

Kim, obviously aware that she has been busted trying to wheedle out of a bus trip:
“LoL. Ok! Awesome, what time do you want to head out?”

We walked to the bus station, passing the taxi area and it’s cabbies who either gazed or shouted what we hope were taxi offers in our direction.

For a bus station there didn’t seem to be many buses about, this prompted Kim to lean toward the nearby taxi rank, many of its cabbies gazing in our (more likely HER) direction.

“There’s lots of cabs”
“No, a bus will come you’ll see”
“……”
“It will”
“What if one doesn’t?” a glimmer of hope was forming, Kim was trying to stay cool lest the tiny glowing ember of the potential to take a cab, even one with a dodgy driver should be blown away by her less than obvious line of questioning.
“If a bus doesn’t arrive in half an hour…. we’ll drive”

We stood on the platform for a while longer, Kim much buoyed by the prospect that the plan would fail and that she would soon be ensconced in the front seat of the Jeep, was studying our platform co-inhabitants.

Then she started to sing. Not unusual. In this instance it was her own take on “Only Girl” by Rihanna. The one that implores Rihanna’s listeners to ‘…love me like I’m a hot pie” or "guy", or "fly", or something.

“I just feel like I’m the only girl in the world, or at least the only one at this bus stoooop”

“Not true” I said “There’s a woman sitting just over there” pointing to a local woman sitting on a bench further up the platform.

She looked at the woman in question then continued:

“I just feel like I’m the only girl at the bus stop, or at least the only one not in blaaaack…”

“There’s one of the buses” I said, distracting her “except… it’s going the wrong way, that will take us to Mina, I wonder if the bus for KCA leaves from over there” indicating the other side of 8 lanes of traffic.

“We could catch a cab” making the most of every this-isn’t-working moment.
“…..”
“They’re just there” again indicating the ranks of cabs like they had just arrived.
“Kim, this was your idea”
“It was NOT my idea, this was entirely YOUR idea, shall we go and look at the written evidence? It’s on your blog”
“Yes, but the inspiration for a bus trip came from you, so, it’s your idea”
“Wait, what?…My… WHAT?”

Discussion ensued until Kim could get her own back by playing the ‘There it is’ game.

A tactic first employed to infuriate me in our visit to the Coffee Planet Roastery (post is still in the writing stage, might make it the finale of the project).

It’s a game she never seems to get tired of. The rules are simple:
Wait until I am distracted by looking for something (like a bus), then loudly say with some urgency: “There it is!” thus causing me to spin around to look in the direction she it pointing.

In this instance she was pointing at a labourer’s bus.

Then a water truck.

Then a telephone pole.

Ooooh the mirth that followed. SO much fun. For one of us.

I believe that she tortures her long suffering partner with the same ploy. I’ve discussed this with him, and he simply nods sagely in a manner that suggests that he thinks she is trying to drive him crazy BUT he is glad that he isn’t the only one soft headed enough to fall for it.

Finally our bus showed up, and Kim sighed with obvious disappointment that it had beaten the we’ll-get-a-taxi deadline.

On boarding I thought I had better make sure the bus was indeed going in our direction.

The bus driver wasn’t sure.

I asked whether the bus would be passing the Pink shops in KCA (Khalifa City A)…
“KCA, yes” he said.
“TO the shops though? The pink shops?”
“errrr… *something in Arabic* KCA”
“Shops?”
“KCA?”
“Pink Shops?”
“KCA” he said

Thankfully another passenger called out from somewhere near the back of the bus that we were on to a good thing.

The bus driver seemed as relived as I was.

Kim stomped on and sat down in the ‘Ladies only’ section. I stood stoically in the space behind her, vowing that rules were rules, and not being a ‘lady’ meant that I must stand…

…a situation that I maintained for at least 4 kilometres before collapsing in to the seat facing Kim…

…a situation that lasted another 4 kilometres before I realised the less than smooth ride was likely to make me unwell. If this was to happen, Kim’s placement and proximity meant that it could create a situation that would dramatically test our friendship, so I swapped to the seat next to my coffee-project off-sider.

It seems that we weren’t the only ones with does-this-bus-go-to-…? Issues. One poor sap after repeated questioning of the driver over multiple stops had to get off the bus, visibly upset, obviously a long way form where he needed to be.

We were okay though, sitting under an air-con duct that obviously channelled air directly from a glacier strapped somewhere on the roof of the bus, we meandered through the various neighbourhoods on our way to Khalifa City A. (often and only slightly unkindly called ‘Moonscape A’).

On arrival at the Pink shops we hit a snag.

“Soooo… I don’t actually know where the coffee shop is” I admitted
“WHAT? You drag me out here… on a BUS and you don’t know where we are actually going? Drew!”
“Well ‘don’t know’ is a bit steep, more like, 'unsure'”
“I can’t believe this!”
“Alright, alright, it’s here somewhere I seem to remember it mentioned as being across the road” I checked online via my Blackberry “Lets head toward those banks over there, I think I see an awning…”
“It’s probably just like THAT awning” said Kim. Her finger pointing at a beige tarp over a bakery shop

It was the right place, and only a 5 minute stroll from the bus stop. So I was only asked twice if we could get a taxi by my pouting, stomping companion.

La Brioche KCA is nice if you can get a table outside. The food was the usual fare, but the coffee if ordered as a ‘strong’ was really pretty good and we both remarked that it was way better than the Brioche coffee we had experienced at the other franchise sites.

The service was friendly and fast, and lacked a bit of the “hello ma’am-siiiir” ness that I was expecting, so that was pleasant.

We liked it, it also (given it’s location) has the feeling of being the last frontier of coffee wonder before striding off to meet ones fate in the desert.

We discussed writing projects. Then Kim produced some photo’s of sketches she had been working on (life art course from BBC). On hearing that it was life drawing I only agreed to look provided I didn’t have to see any drawings she might have done of her partner.

I like him, I like art. I just don’t want to see the 2 combined.

Nude.

She assured me I was safe and thankfully I was.

We paid and left, Kim requesting that we consider a taxi (again), me saying it’s not in the spirit of the game (again). So we walked toward the distant bus stop.

The area we were walking through has a high taxi to person-on-the-side-of-the-road ratio, as a result every minute or so a taxi would slow and honk at us. Kim would look up, and then at me in the hope that we would be soon striding toward the silver beast in the happy knowledge that a bus would not be required for the trip home.

Each time I mentioned “not agreed” or “not far now” or “spirit of the blog”

Each time Kim’s bottom lip protruded a little more, and her stomping became more pronounced.

Clouds of sand plumed from her flip flopped feet. So much so that I was a little concerned that visibility on the nearby road would soon be affected.

Then another taxi slowed…
Kim looked at it…
The taxi put it’s hazard lights on..
Kim looked at me…

…and I raised my hand in order to let him know, yes... yes we would avail ourselves of his services.

Buses are fine…
Cabs are fine too...
Kim all but screamed in relief.

La Brioche KCA
Well worth the trip, by bus or not by bus. Just don’t try and walk from Abu Dhabi.

2 comments:

  1. Ha, finding good coffee at last. You're on a roll...and think a day out with Kim would be heaps of fun too :)

    ReplyDelete
  2. Yes... she's a hoot.

    She'll be leaving us soon though.

    Boooo!

    ReplyDelete

Andrew Webber is a writer, living in Abu Dhabi with his wife, two cats and two dogs.

His first book "Erasure" was published in June 2012 and was followed in 2013 by the Prequel to Erasure, "Broken".

In 2016 Erasure was a prize winner in the Montegrappa Writing Prize - part of the Emirates Airlines Festival of Literature.

For more information click the "Erasure" book cover on the left side of this site, or simply go to www.athwebber.com

Thanks for visiting.