Running Errands in Dubai (The Most Frusturating of All Tasks)

Nov 2, 2010

Do you ever have one of those days where it feels like you can't seem to accomplish anything??
It seems to be the story of my life. Welcome to Dubai, where nobody ever seems to know what is going on and the vibrant multicultural mix of people leads to terrible communication barriers.
In the past couple of weeks I've been going about my usual business, trying to take care of errands on my increasingly rare days off in Dubai. In typical Dubai fashion, it seemed that every step forward brings me two steps back.
Take for example, moving. After 3 years here, my flatmate finally called it quits and headed back to her home country of South Africa. Naturally, I jumped at the opportunity to move into her much larger bedroom. One step ahead, I went to the accommodation department fully prepared, only to be told that I couldn't apply until she had handed in her keys. Fast forward a week, and she has moved out. My days off have all been weekends, thus I haven't had the chance to visit accommodations. Today I find out that the room has already been allocated to a new staff member. After 11 months of waiting, I'm out of luck despite my attempts to get ahead by applying early.
The departure of my flatmate led to another issue... the internet. It was under her name and we were assured that it would be simple to transfer the account over to my name. So I handed her over the fee and off she went. She returned to inform me that I had to be present. The next time that we both had a day off, we headed back, only to be told that we could not transfer the account, and that it would have to be cancelled and I'd have to apply for my own. This of course, cost a great deal more than what we'd originally been told, but when we complained the employee shrugged his shoulder and smiled. I wanted to hit him in the face for his stupid smirk, but I resisted knowing that it would solve nothing, and that I'm not strong enough to punch anybody. So we cancelled the internet, and I was forced to reapply... this of course, after I went to HR to obtain a letter from my company stating that they approved the installation, which of course took 2 working days to receive. After 3 torturous days of no internet (yes, I have a terrible addiction) a man finally showed up to install my very own account. Much to my shock (massive use of sarcasm) the modem that my flatmate and I had split the cost of only a few months prior was no longer working, and I had to pay for a new one. The old one was covered under warranty, but it was now void since we'd cancelled the account. I argued and expressed my great frustration with the company and their money stealing ways, but it was no use. Like the man at the store, he shrugged his shoulders and grinned. "Okay ma'am, no problem. I give you new modem, I will charge to your account!" I sighed, feeling defeated.
Finally back online, I took the opportunity to book my flights home for later on this month. I was so excited and it seemed all too easy. You guessed it... it was. A few days later I received an email informing me that my request had been rejected. Apparently for past year my first name has been listed as both my first and middle name, which explains why pursers often call "Krysta Marie" when going through the crew list. Until it is changed on the database, I can not book my flights. I have sent an email, we'll see how long it takes before somebody finds the energy to reply.
Brushing this minor setback aside, I met up with a friend to head to the uniform store to collect a winter jacket, as the temperatures are dropping in the majority of the places that I fly to.
After an hour and a half in the queue clutching my number, it was finally my turn. I happily proceeded to the counter where I informed the employee of my need for a jacket and he directed me to the fitting area to find the appropriate size. The man working by the fitting area seemed happy to help until I told him that I needed a jacket. "No, we don't have in your size" he answered, turning away to assist another customer. "Are you sure? Can I try one on?" I demanded, but he simply told me to go back to the counter and ask when I could expect more sizes to be in. Now feeling extremely irritated, I returned to the counter, explaining that I'd been waiting for nearly 2 hours and that I'd appreciate if he could tell me when to return. What did he do? Take a guess. Yes, you are absolutely correct. He shrugged his shoulders, and smiled. "Maybe come back next month ma'am. It's okay, just wear a cardigan!" to which I replied "No offense, but if you've ever been to Canada, which is where my next flight happens to be, you'd understand why I need a winter jacket. But thank you, for all of your help." "You're welcome!" he answered cheerfully, clearly not detecting the sarcasm in my statement. I returned home with nothing to show for my wasted afternoon.
This is all just a typical week in this lovely place that I call home. Eventually, everything gets done despite taking far longer and costing far more than originally anticipated. I promise, when I return to Canada I'll make the greatest effort to never complain about the speed of service when it takes 2 hours to apply for a passport, or 10 minutes to stand in line at the grocery store. When my Dubai days are long over, I'll remember those unfortunate souls still living in the city where every simple task is the equivalent to running a marathon.


RetroJetGirl said...

You forgot the ones who add "Inshallah" when telling you it'll take a week... or five! :P

Wish me luck, I'm off to get my own coat soon, hopefully!

Krysta said...

Good luck!! I'd really recommend calling first, but they'd probably say "no problem ma'am, just come here and wait 2 hours and we will check for your size!"

Aviation Crazy said...

I'll never complain here in Toronto when the GO Train is 2 minutes late lol. True, we've come to expect great customer service in Canada, be it at the grocery line up, Tim Horton's or even at the Mall. However things get done, and usually on time, or else you risk losing your business to another competitor.

Arslan said...

Dubai is just like that. And I love reading your blog.

Anonymous said...


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