Tuesday, March 10, 2009

The Great Wheel Keeps Turning

Yes, the Great Wheel of UAE Bureaucracy keeps turning as I inch slowly to getting thru all the crap.... today I had ambitions to have my drivers licence, but it is tantalising me just out of my reach.

With my residency, passport and photos I was about to embark on a trip to the magical place of "The Directorate of Traffic Licensing" but before I went I was told I had to have my Australian drivers licence translated into Arabic.  WTF?  My little plastic card with a bad photo and my non-donor status on it has to be translated into Arabic?

Yep, and I have to have it done at a special office in downtown Abu Dhabi... and it will cost 60Dhs for the pleasure...

So off I set and I drive my little Nissan Tiida which I am currently renting for the 45min drive all the way to the Corniche (the Abu Dhabi waterfront) where I am told that the office of "Dana Office Services & Legal Translations" is.  They dont use street addresses in the UAE.  Everyone refers to the building they are in and you're supposed to know.  I rang up the number I was given (by a Canadien girl here who went through all this last week) and I spoke to a lady who seemed genuinely surprised to be receiving a phone call.

She told me that they are in the ground floor of some building (rapid arabic names in english I am yet to master) and I asked where that is.  She tells me they're "behind the French Hospital" on the ground floor.  I happened to recall seeing the French Hospital on my previous site seeing trips so I knew roughly where that was.  I jumped in my little Tiida and headed into town.

45mins later, I am parked at the Corniche and walking towards a run down building called "Franco Emirati Hospital" and I realise I am glad I am not French or sick... behind it is a mosque and behind that is another office block and on the street level is a run down sign called "Dana Office Services".  I enter the door, which is slightly off its hinges and behind a big desk is a woman watching a big plasma TV with an Arabic soap opera on it.  She seems surprised and turns the volume down and realises I am the Australian who rang earlier.  I guess that maybe I am her only call so far today...

She takes my NSW licence and asks me to write down my mobile number and says it will be ready at 6pm but I make an arrangement to pick it up in the morning because the Driving Licence Bureau will be shut by 6pm.

So, I have to go down again tomorrow morning and get my Arabic licence and go and hopefully get my full licence!

Also, I am still yet to get my banking sorted and Mr Amit from the HSBC came and saw me again today, gave me a HSBC diary as an apology for giving me the run around, but tomorrow I am going to see him in the branch after my licence excursion and hopefully (fingers crossed) he will have some ATM cards for me!  And yes, he even agreed to transfer my salary into that account so I can actually get my money!!  Its been a long time between pay packets thats for sure!!

Mr Amit has certainly refined giving top notch customer service in the absence of delivering anything into an artform!  LOL!

But we're all on the Great Wheel and nothing can stop its turning... albeit very slowly ;-)


danielcollins said...

I'm loving following your adventures Clay. All you need is The Luggage following you around now and it won't be the wheel that is turning, but The Disc.

Clay said...

LOL! Thanks DC... I am not a Discworld reader, but I get the reference.

Glad my musings are providing entertainment :)