Tuesday, September 16, 2008

Doing things in Dubai

It'll be very familiar to everyone living here, but possibly an eye-opener to the people outside who read our blogs to find out the reality of living in Dubai. My last few days have been typical of trying to do something in Dubai.

My Residence Visa is due for renewal, which of course means a medical report - a blood test is required.

My sponsor has a small list of clinics from which they will accept reports, the nearest to me being in Jebel Ali Village. I used that last time, it was small, friendly and efficient so I decided to use it again.

The first problem is that working hours are shortened because it's Ramadan, so an early start is the obvious thing. But the RTA-created gridlock in Dubai Marina makes that not an option. I've been talking about that for a while now and it's getting no better, so rather than spending unproductive time sitting in the traffic jam we've been working at home until after 9am to let the worst of it thin out.

(To give you an example of the problem, yesterday Mrs Seabee needed to be at the Dubai Metropolitan on Sheikh Zayed Road at 8am. The taxi she'd ordered for 7am was on time - and it took one and a half hours to travel the first one kilometre in the Marina. She eventually arrived at the Met at eight forty-five - nearly two hours to do a thirty minute trip).

Anyway, back to my medical report. Leaving it to later I fought the marginally better traffic to take Mrs Seabee to her office in Knowledge Village, then headed off to Jebel Ali Village.

The clinic is closed. Shut down. No longer operating. A piece of paper stuck to the door says we have to go to the clinic 'next to Satwa Post Office'.

It's too late now to try that, so I schedule it for tomorrow.

Tomorrow dawns, the usual gridlock-avoiding late start, drop Mrs Seabee at her office and head off for Satwa. The usual traffic snarl, an hour to get along Satwa Road.

There are more than two hundred people, mainly labourers, jammed around the clinic. I can't even get to the door so I give up.

I call my sponsor to check which other clinics I can go to. Iranian Hospital is the nearest choice so I decide to schedule that for the next day.

Today was the next day so I headed back up Al Wasl Road this morning, heavy traffic but moving. I found a parking space at the side of the hospital, was dripping because of today's awful humidity by the time I got to Reception.

A pleasant, smiling, helpful lady directed me to the Blood Test Clinic. The less smiley but equally helpful lady at reception there told me she needed a copy of my passport and Residence Visa plus a passport photo. I always carry plenty of those with me when I try to do anything in Dubai so I handed them over, with my Health Card.

She stapled it all to some forms which included a ticket with a queue number on it. It also had a note that I should expect to be called at a very precise 11.23 (it was now 11.05).

This is one of the huge improvements in Dubai. Until very recently all such places were a huge indisciplined rugby scrum of people pushing and shoving, waving papers about, climbing over others to get to the counter.

We all sat in an orderly manner and I was called to the counter at 11.20.

A small bit of computer work, a form with numbers and stuff on it, pay Dh250 and I was directed to the Blood Test room. Straight into the chair, blood taken, that's it, off you go.

My form tells me to collect my report at 11.30am on Thursday. I had noticed a section of the counter with a sign 'Reports' above it, so that seems to be well organised.

At just after 11.30 I was headed back to the car.

In the end, after all the aggravation of the previous days, a few minutes was all it took.


Extiinct said...

Bottom Line: Traffic jams are to be blamed...which are RTA's fault.

What do the RTA officials do? work from their home offices?

Gautam said...

Its a shame they shut that hospital/clinic at Jebel Ali Village. I did my blood test there this year and was looking forward to going there the next year.

It was such a pleasant experience going there. It wasn't a really fancy clinic, but I simply loved it and the location too. Its a shame they are going to bring down JA Village too. Its such a nice place, way better than any of the new developments. Green grass, flowers, bee hives and the sound of water sprinklers.

Seabee said...

Gautam I agree, I enjoy just walking around the streets of the village, it's got a really nice feel to it.

Gautam said...

It was a bit like living in the country side. Dubai has gone a bit too far I think and is missing out on the little things.

Keefieboy said...

JA Clinic closed?!!! It was only a couple of years ago that they spent several million whatevers on a big fancy digital X-Ray machine! What about JA Club? I'd heard rumours that was about to close, and I know the school is building new premises.

Once again, bits of charming 'Old Dubai' are thoughtlessly ripped down to be replaced by soulless developments.

Time to leave. Oh, yes, I already did.

Seabee said...

Keefie the word is that the entire village is going to disappear.

dubaibilly said...

i understood that the club was going to stay open and end up surrounded by the several hundred sky scrapers that are intended for what used to be the village.

nzm said...

Seabee: There's a newish clinic in the Knowledge Village somewhere by the conference rooms which is apparently for all DIC, DMC and Knowledge Village companies and others.

J used it earlier this year to get her medical done.

Perhaps your sponsor isn't aware of it?

Dubai Photo Story said...

Hey... really sad to see JA village go. Satwa is the other casualty!!

Had a good lauch about your comment about how you carry copies of the PP. There is little one can do without a copy of the PP and visa page!!! I have copies of my passport all over the place. Office desk, car, work bag, at home, gym bag.... everywhere!!

Mars said...

a colleague of mine left our company to join the complaint dept of the RTA - the only thing i could reason with was government hours are shorter. God help her.

ZeTallGerman said...

If I had to work for the RTA, I'd become even more suicidal than they already make me feel.
Yes, Jebel Ali Village is going, and it's so sad to see. Residents have left, and the main casualties are once again the animals: apparently over 200 pets have simply been left behind to fend for themselves (propably by residents that have been forced to now live in an apartment, because they're budget won't allow them a similar nice villa anywhere else in Dubai.) There's a lady in JA trying to trap and rescue the cats and dogs... there was a story in the 7Days.

caz said...

Life in Dubai, yeah, Hello!!.

The everlasting construction, development redevelopment, the almost 24/7 traffic snarl, the heat, humidiity, not to mention the stress of trying to get things done, the incompetence of some of the authorities, the constant complaints about the RTA, obviously run by lunatics.

Live there, not for me, visit to friends and out of sheer curiosity,

I feel the good things about Dubai are outwweighed by the above.

I am quick to point out that we have our problems in Oz, before anyone else does, but if I couldn't live here, the peace and tranquility of the Hawaiian Islands would be my choice.

alexander... said...


To my absolute delight, every morning as I cross my sandy shortcut to Dubai, I see a couple of RTA cars doing the same thing. One day I'll get a photo and then...


Seabee said...

NZM, that's a clinic accepted by Tecom for its Res Visa sponsorship. Regardless of what DNRD says they will accept, the government-owned organisations seem to each have an abitrary list of which clinics they'll use.

ZTG, not just in JA are animals abandoned, people leaving Dubai, or just going on holiday, simply leave their animals on the streets. We have an animal cruelty law now of course, but most people abandoning them seem to get away with it.

Caz, if 'peace and tranquility' are the objective, then any city is the wrong place to choose - and I include Honolulu in that!

samuraisam said...

if you pay 600 AED or so you can go to a private clinic. No rush at those places, barely any people.

caz said...

Dear Seebee,
Re peace and tranquility, there is a lot of peace and tranqulity in Honolulu, once you get away from downtown, Hotel street and the strip.

Think distant north shore, and well beyond diamond mountain; for preference, the islands of Maui and Kaui, said to be the orginal garden of eden.

I reckon you are closer to God those islands than anywhere else, if you believe in that sort of thing!!.


Seabee said...

Sam, that's not an option when your sponsor will only accept medical reports from places they specify.

Caz, the same applies in Dubai - if I sit on the beach all day it's all peace and tranquility. In Sydney sit in the Botanic Garden on the harbour, in London stay in Hyde Park. The reality is that doing things in and moving around any city doesn't relate to peace and tranquility. It's a trade-off against the buzz, the excitement, the facilities, the employment opportunities.