Monday, December 1, 2014

Monday Blues

Today was just a day of a bunch of little frustrations that snowballed into one big frustration headache!

I should be sleeping in a hotel room in Sri  Lanka right now but, sadly, I am in my own bed. Passport problems, sigh.

I've been trying to get the kids passport renewed for about 3 weeks now. We have been to the US embassy 4 times, have never made it inside! Until today! The rigmarole required to get into that place is ridiculous!  We finally get in, they accept our paperwork, they accept our money, they don't accept the passport picture! Since tomorrow is a holiday, the lady behind the counter said, come back Thursday with a new picture. As I still have some small slim hope of taking a trip over winter break, which can't happen without the passport, and the first guy told us the process takes 3 weeks, I'm a little bit frustrated with the prospect of having to return on Thursday. I express this concern politely to the lady behind the bullet proof glass window, and she finally looks up at me and realizes I am human and says, if you can make it back by 3pm I'll take it. Now, once we were inside the embassy, getting to the office we needed, still took about 15 minutes to make it past all the security. I look at my watch, 2:10. Can we find a taxi, make it to the photo place, take the passport  picture, get it printed , find another taxi, get back to the embassy, go thru security, in 40 minutes?  Hmmmm.

Despite my formidable doubts. . . We made it! With 3 minutes to spare! Whoo -hooo.

One piece of the frustration headache complete!

Next I wanted to go pick up some things for the kitty! Lulu's didn't have as wide a variety of cat paraphernalia as I would have hoped. I had read a blog post about various places in Abu Dhabi that sell such things. So with a much lighter heart than I arrived at the embassy with, we head out on our next adventure.

I decide to go to the American Vet Hospital, its an American type of day I guess! We get into yet another taxi. He knows sort of the general area we are headed but not exactly where we are going. When we get closer to the place, I call the hospital and he talks to the woman for directions. 

He says yea yea and gives me the phone. I distinctly heard the lady say 9th street. Where does the taxi take us? 19th street. But I see a sign up on the building that says American in big bold blue letters with some smaller letters underneath. He says is this it? I say I think so. Instead of pulling up right in front of the building , he pulls down a  side street to let us out. He is so full of himself to, cus he says, I know where to go! The lady say 9th street but I know this is it. A small word of advice for y'all out there: never get out of the taxi until you are positive you are at the right location!! 

After 25 minutes and paying 30 dirham, we walk around to the front of the building and; those small letters underneath the big bold blue American word say "medical and dental clinic"! Sigh. 

We get the woman on the phone again, she says oh no! And tries to explain where to go. We're closer than 10 blocks, but still not there. I type the address into my handy dandy Google maps and realize its only about 10 minutes away so we start walking. Stupid arrows, with stupid " head west" headings, and stupid ladies voice saying " go straight then turn left. Then turn right"! Yes! We got lost! We stand at a random street corner for about 10 minutes hoping to flag down another taxi. We finally stand in the middle of the street and flag down another taxi, who, surprise, also has no idea where the vet hospital is! We call the clinic again, this is like the 5th time we've talked to the lady at the desk  by now, and she's fast becoming an old friend! She tells us to make a u turn and it's some where on our right. Since we are in the land of no right turns and I'm extremely feed up with taxis right now, we pay the guy the 4 dirham, yes I gave him 5 for his troubles, and hop out.

After a 3 minute walk, we made it! 

The lady behind the desk looked at us and said, oh so happy to see you!  For real. So we buy a bunch of fairly heavy cat treats and leave the vets. We walk to the corner and then I see this...

Which turns out to be the exact same place where we stood for 10 minutes looking unsuccessfully for a taxi!! I kid you not! We were in front of the dang clinic the whole time! Sigh.

The back of the clinic where we were standing for 10 minutes awaiting a taxi to take us to this clinic!

At least we have a happy kitty!

For our next stop, cus, yes, we're on such a roll why stop there?! We try to find yet another taxi to go to the book store and by the kids books for her classes at the Sorbonne.  We call the taxi, sorry no taxis are available right now, please try again later. We stand on the corner for 15 more minutes. 

Finally, taxi. We get in and ask if he knows where this place is. He looks at me, and in incredibly broken English says, Ms. I'm new . Ummm, is it Monday or something ? Of course we don't get out of the taxi since it took a year and a day to find it. So he drives us to the general area. We try to get the store on  the phone but they're not answering . In the directions the kid got from her teacher,  it says across the street from this restaurant.  I call the restaurant for directions. They talk to the guy and ask a bunch of, do you know where such and such is questions, to which his answer is, no Ms. Finally the lady says, do you know where All Prints is, which is the place we are trying to go to! 

The lady on the phone gets frustrated and hands the phone off to a coworker. Then the taxi starts talking about, near the Corniche , which is about as far from us as the moon right now, and I can no longer take it and say, let us out. The taxi was 6.75 dirham and usually, I give the guys a couple dirham tip, like I'd normally give this guy a 10 and say keep it. But I am so po'd today I hold my hand out for ALL of my change. He looks at me with a baffled expression and says, Ms? And I say, give me ALL of my change! Poor guy. It sucks to be a new taxi driver in a new city!

We walk and make it to a major street and once again use our handy dandy Google maps, in walking mode this time, to try to find the place. The kid takes the lead and we go around a few buildings and finally, ta-da! There's the book store! Whew! Which only has 1 of the 4 books she needs for class! Ah well.

We stand outside awaiting another taxi for about 15 more minutes  (our lucky number today!) And finally get a taxi. I ask the guy if he knows where our building is and, surprise , he does!  I rest my head back and finally breathe a sigh of relief!

Ciao for now!

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