OK. That wasn't really my reaction; more like dumb silence. I went to the bank last week to get some cash and when I was just backing out of my parking, this jerk at the opposite side was backing out too! He just got on his car and backed out, not even caring to look if someone is doing the same or other cars are passing behind...so I honked, and yelled, and both...to no avail.
The silver aquamarine greenish car hit my poor Pegasus (a Honda City) on the driver's side, near the rear door. Arrgh! It was my first accident and naturally I was afraid. The other driver (whom I secretly called "moron") promptly came up to me and apologised. It diffused my anger and, so did, the fear that I am part of a road accident I only witness in these parts.
He tried to convince me that we'll just take my car to the garage and have it fixed and he'll pay for the damages. He too was afraid of getting a record or, worse, have his driving license confiscated. I was adamant that we call the police and I did. I dialled 999, the number to call for emergencies in these parts, and the line was immediately answered by a policeman who assured me he was on his way. Thirty minutes later, my dent-giver was getting impatient and so, he convinced me again to just forget the police and settle it between us. He offered me Dhs 100/- (Php 1,500/-) for my troubles. I declined; dialling 999 once more, where the same policeman assured me he is on his way.
A few minutes more a policeman in bike came by, youngish looking and not a word of English, signalling that he's been around the block looking for the "accident". He wasn't impressed: expecting some blood and gore and major traffic jam, I guess.
Panic and fear set in when they, the moron and Mr. Policeman started talking in Arabic. I couldn't catch a word I could understand, only, "Filipini" - meaning Filipina - and "mushkela", problem. So I called our PRO (public relations officer) who speaks Arabic but he didn't answer. I called our company driver, Vijay to verify our PRO's, Saber, number who offered to meet up with me at the Honda garage. I called Saber again, thime time, successfully. He talked with the police as well as the other driver and the thing was settled.
I needed a report that I must give to my car's insurance company so that they can fix the car. It must be done from within one week of the accident. A few minutes more and I was clutching this pink paper of a report, shaking the hand of the moron and thanking politely Mr. Policeman for his help. See picture below - drawn on the report by Mr. Policeman himself. I am car number 2.
I got into my car and drove off to Honda, my car's dealer as Pegasus was up for her 15,000 kilometre check up the next day. The guy at Honda assured me not to worry and that the insurance will pay for the damages.
What I must do, immediately, is to go to the insurance and hand them the pink report. They will then take pictures of the damage and assess the costs and they will contact Honda for the body works.
And so my weekend passed by going to the car insurance, to Honda and now I am car-less for a week as it will take that long to fix poor Pegasus.
And now the funny part: Vijay who said he will meet up with me was missing when I was at the Honda office. I was looking around for him whilst reporting my woeful experience to the service guy. Honda is part of a huge company called Al Futtaim Motors which also handles Toyota. In fact their showrooms are next to each other. Vijay was at the Toyota office, also looking around and wondering where I was, waiting for me to show up. Thankfully, there are now what we call mobile phones in these parts.
Vijay: "MaryAnn, I'm here. Where are you now?"
Me: "I'm here inside, talking to the service people."
Vijay: "Yeah, I'm inside too, where are you?"
Me: "Here in the service area, come this side."
Vijay: "But I am here in there service area!"
Me: "Toyoto or Honda?"
And so the mystery was solved as the missing Vijay was in Toyota and I was at the Honda service office.
Whew...enough events for one day!