Sunday, July 7, 2013

Bad day!

     I actually find it kind of funny the way I keep experiencing the exact same things I have read about prior to our move to Abu Dhabi, as I was browsing blogs, articles, posts, basically anything with the tag Abu Dhabi on it... For some reason, I thought that having the knowledge of what to expect in different situations will make me...not experience them just the same, but I was wrong. Knowing about certain thing only means you...know, not that you won't find yourself in the exact same mix of emotions or nerves or headaches or even surprised, just as if no one had ever told you it would be this way...

     Now let me begin by saying that both my husband and I are very, very impressed with the level of service in Abu Dhabi. Whether we are talking about the waiter who moved furniture around to make two seats available for us, the valet parking, the maintenance team that went beyond their attributions or the Ikea employees who were extremely prompt, the receptionist who not only pointed us in the right direction, but actually guided us himself,  everyone goes over and beyond to make sure we are having a good time, leaving us in awe every.single.time. Everyone except the Immigration Office.

     For the life of me, I can not understand WHY in such a beautiful, modern, rich city as Abu Dhabi this is the one part they do not invest in. At all!!! The parking area around is complete insanity, the building and number of employees are not at all capable of serving so many foreigners and the variety of their requirements...

     In a country comprised of 91% expats (according to Wikipedia) why is it that we can not have a more efficient system? Today I found out that...there is NO system. Once you pass by the type-center, which is actually very organized and we were lucky to be served by very nice and polite ladies both times we needed their service,  it's like you have entered the Wild West!
     You can forget about getting a number, lines are practically non-existent and there is not even one information desk in the whole building... (or maybe we didn't see it in the craziness created by hundreds of people trying to run around and solve whatever problem they had to solve).

      On top of that, once we have found the (apparently) right department (as it said on the shield above) the man gave me a strange look, asked about my husband and told him that it is not allowed to bring family members here(?!).  Oh...and that we were supposed to go in the opposite building, upstairs. Which we did. Again, after finally daring to ask one of the clerks in said building, they have sent us back where we have originally bin. We got back, we found out we have to go in same building downstairs. There it seemed that they were having a break and we were sent back into the building where we were the second time. We tried to ask again and we were sent downstairs. We went downstairs (where the picture above was taken) and there seemed to be only one working desk (maybe the information desk) with a line that went around the whole room, (around 60-70 people?)... My husband then went to one of the clerks who wasn't really doing anything and politely tried to 'ask a question', but the response he got was that for asking a question he still needs to stay in the line (that nobody knows what was for)... Got it?

     Now, try to make an exercise of imagination of pretty much how frustrated we were both feeling, literally not capable of finding out where exactly it is that we are supposed to be heading with our documents, the fact that my husband (aka my sponsor here in Abu Dhabi) will be travelling next week, so we need to get these things sorted out now, add a temperature of about 45 degrees, incredibly harsh sun and hot air that feels hot as you breathe it inside your lungs, lots and lots of sweat, a mild headache (turned severe by the time we got home) and you've got the picture! :D

     The answer is, no. We did not manage to sort out our documents. We (actually my 'sponsor') has to go there again, first thing in the morning tomorrow.

     It is unbelievable that there is no better solution for this kind of administrative issues in beautiful, modern and forward-thinking Abu Dhabi. But for the time being, this is it!
     We found some consolation in the thought that this procedure is only necessary once every two years of residence in the Emirates, so hopefully we will be more experienced grown-ups by then...or maybe next time we will find an actual system that works!


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