A part of setting up a life anywhere is certainly confronting a variety of bureaucratic tasks. That said, many people here note the stultifying complexity and inefficiency of bureaucratic systems here in Abu Dhabi.
Here are a few examples:
- it took me almost two hours to sign up for Ginger's piano lessons. There were several workers, all working furiously on this. I think one was being trained. It was an elaborate process of filling out forms, something being entered onto a computer, other things being entered into an enormous written spreadsheety kind of ledger, things being printed on those computer sheets with the tear-off sides, and, finally, the generation of a written receipt, and a credit card receipt. Thankfully, I have learned to walk around with multiple passport pictures of all of us. When those were requested, I could at least do my bit.
- later the same day (I only did two things on the day in question) I tried to ask a question about how my cell phone works. I just wanted to know how the subscription works.... what in the name of all that is holy is the difference between recharging and renewing? So, we live next door to the headquarters of Etisalat, the main communication company in town. I went up the escalator of their fancy building to the third floor where I took a number. There were many people already waiting, but also many customer service reps, so I settled in to a comfy chair. My number was 677. Then they called 324, but I didn't let this ruffle me because I was just at the NYC DMV and, well, whats a couple hundred numbers. Then they called 929 and I realized there was some other force at work. Anyway, I had to go get kids so I left after an hour and a half. I did stop by the vending machine and decided to "recharge!" and dumped 1oo dhs on the problem ($30?). I would have done 50, but the machine did not give change. So I am recharged, but am not sure for how long.