Monday, August 17, 2009

Fast Track to Success

Well, yesterday I had to take the day off to get Niki to her medical in Abu Dhabi (some 150kms from home) and go through yet more red tape.

When we arrived at the Centre for Preventative Disease, it was the usual bedlam of a 99% male population of which 99% were Indian / Pakistani trying to get in to do their medicals.  Walking in with Niki, Kate & Brooke (new Nintendo DSi's in hand) we looked, how shall we say, a tad conspicuous.

When I did my last medical, I was whisked away for "Golden Service" which was essentially straight in to a seperate area and was seen by the GP, Blood Sucker and X-Ray person in just 15 minutes.  This extra service was paid for by my company and was a world away from when I queued for 2.5hrs the first time and I was hoping Niki would get the same treatment.

We were directed upstairs to the woman's clinic and when we got to the entry, we were asked to wait outside for an hour before we would be allowed to then take a number.  This is not unusual and I have no idea why they dont allow everyone to take a number straight away.  I then asked about "Golden Service" and they said to go back down stairs and ask.

We go back down the stairs and approach reception again and I ask for the "Golden Service" stamp... "No sir, but you can ask for Fast Track but ask back upstairs."  OK... now I we go back upstairs and ask the same people again for "Fast Track".  We get directed to a different guy 10 feet away who puts a fast track sticker on Niki's paperwork and she's away.

The uniformed security guard at the door (a lady) takes Niki inside and we wave good luck.  Kate, Brooke and I find some seats in the crowded waiting room (full of Pakistani men) and I tell the girls they can play their Nintendo's whilst we wait.  I am expecting that we may be here for about 40mins but in just 15mins Niki is back!  All done, all stamps and a needle mark in her arm.

Apparently, the security lady took her in, past the 200 odd women waiting with numbers for their turn, tells a woman who's number has just come up to sit back down and Niki is sat in front of the desk where her paperwork is processed and the fee (350Dhs) is collected.

When done, the security lady takes her to the next stage, the GP and Niki retells the story that the security lady rudely pushes Niki in to the GP, telling everyone else to get back and the GP asks her some banal questions (including the critical medical question - "Are you Married?") and she gets her card stamped.

Same again with the blood and a woman is basically told to get out so Niki can sit down and her blood is taken and then she is placed in the front of the queue again for the X-Ray.

All over red rover and the key was to a) ask for Fast Track and b) the cost was an extra 100Dhs.  The only issue is you get to be made out to be a right royal bitch of a princess as you get rudely advanced through the waiting hordes.  Niki wasnt too happy about it as she felt bad for everyone she was forced by, but the reality was if she didnt go down the "Fast Track" we'd have been there for a long time and heaven help us if the Nintendo's ran out of battery.

I was happy though, Niki now has her first story of UAE government process and is now no longer "a rookie".

When the medical test results are back, she'll get her residency and then she gets to go back to Abu Dhabi to get her UAE drivers licence.

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