Well, it isn't supposed to rain in Abu Dhabi. They get something like 245 sunny days per year here in the largest city in the United Arab Emirates on the north shore of the Gulf of Arabia.
Yesterday was not one of them.
I am here for Mercedes-Benz's year-end celebrations, this location chosen in part because Daimler AG is now part-owned by Emirati interests, in part because they have this fabulous Formula One race track we can drive the new SLS gull-wing sports coupe on, and in part because of the usually terrific weather.
Apparently, the deluge, downpour, cloudburst, camels-walking-two-by-two inundation that hit this entire coast was the worst rain in December for decades. The roof of the spectacular airport leaked like the proverbial sieve the morning we arrived.
While shopping for tee shirts (serious packing failure) in the Marina Mall later that day, I thought there was some sort of massive fountain or wave pool or something on the second floor (nothing surprises you down here) because of the rolling-ocean sound which reverberated through the place.
Nope; just rain pelting down on the canvas cover over part of the mall roof, a common motif here, reflecting the shape and material of an Arab nomad's tent.
It leaked like said proverbial sieve too.
Of course, when you're in a desert, drainage run-off is pretty much the furthest thing from an urban planner's mind. Like Los Angeles, come to that.
So underpasses - heck, even moderately low roads - were completely flooded.
But, being the desert and being made largely out of sand, it does drain on its own fairly quickly. Good job, because one of the tunnels that was flooded was the pit lane exit of the Formuala One Yas Marina Circuit.
If THAT hadn't drained we would not have been able to take the SLSs out on the race track.
And that would have meant 50-odd very cranky journalists from all over the world.
Given that the collective noun for journalists is "whine", as in "a whine of
journalists", that would not have been a pretty sight.
More on our Abu Dhabi adventures in subsequent postings, and/or this weekend in the print edition.