Wednesday, May 26, 2010

The Ongoing Saga of the Missing Passport

It has been four weeks and two days since I lied about my nationality. That was the irony of the situation...par for the course, I was cross (the fact that the taxi driver smelled bad didn't help) and I didn't feel very chatty (which is always when they decide they want to talk to you), so when he asked me where I was from, I told him Canada. It was after getting out of the cab that I looked into my purse and realized my passport was gone. And I thought, "I probably deserve that." (I don't think I deserved the rubbish month I had since then, but maybe I'm just biased).

Panic did not set in immediately. I had vague recollections of cleaning my purse out, of moving it out of the zipper part because I kept looking at it and thinking, "That is going to fall out." I have a distinct memory of thinking, "I should put this in my desk." So I went into the apartment and looked for it. When I didn't find it, I decided I must have put it in my desk. It wasn't until I got to school the next day and realized it wasn't there, either, that I started to panic.

Should my passport have been in my purse? Negatory. Ever since a colleague from GDA had her purse cut off her with her passport inside on the streets of Saigon, I've been a little paranoid about losing mine. Especially as it collected more and more stamps and visas...it's like a personal history of my last nine years. But HR Twitgirl said she needed it to get me a letter of experience, and I refused to leave it in her care while waiting for the Trunchbull (our new principal) to make her way through the volcanic ash. I should have left it with her - probably she wouldn't have lost it, and if she had, she might have gotten fired over it. Oh well. Hindsight. 20/20 and all that jazz.

Failing my own resources, I started begging Heavenly Father. I told him that I wasn't up to this test of my faith, that I needed that passport back, asking him to enlighten my mind to find it, or soften the heart of the person who had it, so that it would come back to me. Then I went and I revisited every place I'd been for the week previous - the mall, Dunkin Donuts (I'd only been there the once, mind you), the golf club, Ivari, the Hilton. No sign of it (and I was not the most patient daughter of God, let me tell you). Since I was out sick on the following Sunday (four days since I discovered it was missing), I visited the police - even if no one had turned it in I needed to start the process to get the report for the consulate. It was depressing - part of me just refused to believe it was gone, but as the next week went by I had to admit it was not coming back. I went back to school on Tuesday and told HR Twitgirl that I'd lost my passport. Now, let me explain something about Twitgirl. She's 23, and inherited her position when we sacked her predecessor. She is only comparatively competent, and even though she speaks English, she tends to talk to you like you are a KG student, and has some very confusing turns of phrase. So I told her I'd lost my passport, and she said something about ten days and not to worry, they'd get the police report I needed.

I let a week go by (it had been two weeks then since I lost it), and visited her again. She hadn't lifted a finger toward dealing with it, but said she'd go to the police that afternoon. I was busy the next day, but went to her on Thursday, expecting she'd have the police report. Nope. Apparently they need the ID card of the Man at RAK ceramics (our parent company), and he wouldn't be sending that until Sunday. Sunday I checked in with her again, and she said he still didn't send it, that it would come tomorrow. >sigh< I went ahead and asked for Wednesday off and filled out the online application and lost passport notice on the Dubai consulate's website.

Now, catch this - the Evil One, in her vast state department knowledge, let me know that if I filled out the lost passport notice, that it would be cancelled immediately, and it said so on the website as well before I submitted it. Just keep that in mind for now.

HR Twitgirl finally got the ID card to the police, and informed me that it would be TEN MORE WORKING DAYS until I got the report. I was not impressed. I let my head of school know I was not going to need Wednesday off after all, and walked around for the next week with steam coming out my ears. Twitgirl told me later in the week that she'd used her "wasta" and that they'd get the report on Sunday. Okay, well, actually it was Tuesday (four weeks after losing it) before I had it in hand, but you know, details, details. The fact of the matter is, Tuesday afternoon I had the report, I had the next day off, and I had a car booked to pick up that afternoon.

And this is why I know SOMEONE out there has a sense of humor...because that afternoon I get a call from Rakesh to tell me that he'd head that one of the British school teachers had found a passport with a RAKESS visa in it. When it is too late (by a week and a half) to skip this whole rigamarole. I was locked into getting a new passport, mine has been cancelled. Here's the thing that burns me - so apparently it wasn't a BC teacher who found it, it was some Filipino that he knows, who told him about it. Now I don't know WHEN he told Mr. BC about the passport, but if it's been any length of time WHY didn't I hear about it before? And even more to the point, what kind of a douchebag holds onto a passport they found for FOUR WEEKS WITHOUT TURNING IT IN!!! Did he not think it was important enough that someone would be looking for it?

Anyways, the moral of the story is I went to the consulate yesterday (which took effort - the taxi driver didn't know where the hell he was going so I had to hoof it ten minutes longer than I should have). When I got to the security guys at 12:20 they told me to come back at 12:30. Five minutes later there was a queue twenty people long, and that really cheesed me off. Then I got a little belligerent - I kept it in my own head, mind you - but yeah, I basically realized I'm racist as I looked around at the other people in the room, who got there ahead of me, most of whom were not "real," whitebread, born-in-the-USA Americans, feeling slighted that I had to wait until they managed to sort their issues out before I could finally take care of my business - and since I speak English and have a modicum of intelligence, I would have been finished a lot faster than most of them. And I've got to go back in another week or two to pick the damn thing up. None of which would have been necessary if the loser who found my original had just turned it in. Grrrrrrrr.

On the plus side, I got to do a little shopping, since I parked at the Dubai Mall (did you know that, in addition to all the cheesy/trashy Emirati lingerie stores, Dubai Mall has a La Senza, a La Perla, and even an Agent Provocateur? Trufax. Yes, I am a Mormon girl with an underwear fetish, deal with it), and had lunch at the Macaroni Grill.

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