After three days of expecting our car to arrive from the port in Dubai. We were standing in the parking lot at the Vehicle Testing Center, in the middle of Abu Dhabi. We had just finished circling the block in our rental car, having accidentally pulled into a guarded Police Station, we were stopped by a uniformed officer that spoke little English and just pointed sternly towards the way he wanted us to go.
It was just becoming sunset and the sky was becoming a lovely purple haze. The large garage with four bays, was busy with mostly locals requesting services, including an older Arab man with a pretty rugged looking old desert jeep- without power-steering. After watching him attempt a 3-point turn, Brian was convinced that he probably needed a driver’s license too.
Our mechanic had told us to meet him here. I say “our mechanic”, but we had never actually met him in person. Our car decided not to start when it arrived at the port in Dubai, so after days of searching for the problem, the importers told us they were sending it to a mechanic in Abu Dhabi. Meanwhile, Brian is sweating about his “baby” being sent to some long lost importer’s cousin who calls himself a “mechanic”. It turned out, our mechanic- whom does not speak English- was able to repair some fuses- we deduced- and fixed it in a day.
The tall Pakistani man pulled up with our car on his flatbed truck. He stopped, got out, and handed me an invoice for 1,000 Dirhams ($300). I looked at him and then nodded my head towards the car. He nodded his and proceeded to unload the car. Who knew we didn't even need words! It was off the truck (and running!), and he had his cash in under 5 minutes. Brian drove it over to the garage while I went inside to try to figure out what needed to be done.
After realizing I was the only woman in line, I got up to the counter and explained that I wanted to register our car. The nice agent (who spoke only broken English ) got me the needed paperwork, and I paid the dues (cash only). Then just before I walked away he said “You could have used the Ladies Counter”, he said, and pointed towards the far end of the large room towards a nice ornate, wooden door labelled with the words “Ladies Counter”. Of course... I thought, shaking my head and thanking him. Note to self: if you are the only woman in a line, you are most likely in the wrong line.
In less than two hours, we were driving away with Abu Dhabi license plates bolted to our car. As we pulled off the lot I was relieved, happy, and suddenly starving. Knowing my love of Lebanese food, a friend had recommended Mono Lebanese (you know, like the disease, she said).
We inched our way through the Thursday night traffic and found it located on a wide busy street. We pulled up to the restaurant’s large red and blue sign lighting up the sidewalk. There were groups of people sitting at tables outside, eating drinking and smoking shisha in the warm night air. Employees dressed in tan Cowboy-style shirts with the “Mono” Logo rushed back and forth. We decided to avoid the wait and opt for take away. And why not try a few different things while we were at it… We rounded out our meal with two types of hummus with fresh Extra Virgin olive oil, (one with roasted Pine nuts), fatoosh green salad (with crisp cucumbers and tomatoes, chicken skewers, a mixed grill, mashed lentils with fried onions and not to mention all of the complementary fresh pita, pickles, olives and fresh herbs! Everything was super flavorful, not over-priced- like so many places here, and well worth the trip.
Phone: 02 6416655
Al Dhafrah ›
11th Street, Near Dar Al Shifa Hospital, Defense Road, Al Dhafrah, Abu Dhabi
Open 9am to midnight everyday!