Jeez, Louise. These last two days have been stressful!
After yesterday’s taxi madness, Jeff and I decided that we needed to rent a car asap. Problem is, once you start the residence visa process, you can no longer simply use your American driver’s license (which you can if you are just here on vacation). Jeff is far along in that process (though not far enough, fast enough!), so we couldn’t use his. I had just started the process, which meant that I did not yet have the visa, but I also didn’t have my passport, because I needed to surrender it.
Jeff had to ask around to see if we could get my passport returned temporarily and luckily, we could. So he booked a reservation online. But that meant I had to be the one to go rent a car in the city and drive it home…alone! That’s freaky. I don’t know what the speed limit is! I don’t know what the road signs mean! I don’t know where I’m going! But I’m a big girl, so I set out to do it.
First thing I had to do was break one of the large dirham-bills that the ATMs spit out to use for a taxi to the Hilton downtown, where the car rental company was. But good luck with that. I first tried to buy Adele a book about starting school at the bookstore and use the change, but they wouldn’t sell it to me with a 200. Sorry Adele, no book for you. I tried. I was finally able to exchange a 200 for two 100s, which was still bigger than I wanted, but alright. Then the taxi took FOREVER to arrive, even though it was NOT rush hour. Fine. I got to the Hilton, which is lovely by the way, went to the car rental counter, waited for twenty minutes before anyone came to man the table, and then, of course, they had no record of my reservation. But I had it printed out! Nope, sorry. You can go to the airport, if you’d like to pick up a car. Ahem, no.
Then the Middle Easterner came out in me. I bargained. I said, listen, if you messed up my reservation, that is your fault and I should be compensated for my time. He said that he couldn’t (he was a nice guy, but come on, just do your job), so I told him to call his supervisor. Sure enough, they knocked 1000 dirhams off my bill! And they said they would personally deliver the car from the airport to the NYU campus in an hour.
So I took a taxi home and was a little grateful that I didn’t have to drive through the city and on the highway first thing. Driving on Saadiyat Island itself will be much easier, because there’s only one road, practically. But then OF COURSE the car was not delivered when they said it would be. Thankfully, Jeff has been staying with May this whole time, so I don’t have to worry about her. When the car is finally delivered, three hours later, the driver tells me he needs to take my passport back to the Hilton, because they forgot to copy my entry visa. NOPE. I am not just handing my passport over and waiting for it to get lost and never returned again. And that was fine with him.
Moral of the story: you do not have to accept what is told to you. Demand what you think is right.
Second moral of the story: do not expect anything to get done properly or efficiently in Abu Dhabi (this is not me being bitter; this is fact).
But hey, now I have a ride! And it’s cute! A little red Nissan. Vroom vroom! I’m renting it for a week and hopefully that will be enough time for Jeff to get his license “translated” and for us to lease a car for three years. I say hopefully, because, you know how it goes.