Sunday, June 10, 2012


I’m currently navigating the appallingly complex set of rules, procedures and opinions required to export my worldly goods to Dubai. There may be light at the end of that particular tunnel, even though it seems that the solution is to hurl massive sums of money at the problem.

Officialdom, eh? I wonder what it is that turns normal, well-adjusted citizens into misanthropic sociopaths the moment they don a uniform? I went shopping on Saturday. After the atrocious tragedy that was the Villagio fire, that particular shopping mall has been closed, and thus there is a massive shopping mall shortage in Doha. Consequently, up at Landmark the parking areas are full to overflowing and there are cars abandoned all around the mall on any piece of flattish ground that’s within a reasonable walking distance of air-conditioned comfort.

I turned up on my motorbike. Unsurprisingly, all the underground parking bays were occupied, and cars had been abandoned on raised hardstandings and double-parked in aisles. So I asked the uniformed security guard if I could park my bike just here, in an unoccupied corner next to the door. He was adamant that I could not, and dismissed me with an instruction to go and find a space.

I’m surely perfectly entitled to park my motorbike in a car space, of course, and if I’d turned up as the sole occupant of a car there’d be no fuss. But with such a busy car park, isn’t it to everybody’s advantage that I park my bike somewhere that can’t be used by a car? Notwithstanding the outrage of someone who can’t park his Hummer because the only available space is full of motorbike. Unfortunately, the legal position  is unclear. I have heard of tickets being issued to motorbikes “parked illegally in a car space”, and also to motorbikes parked in alleys and on footways because “they should have been parked in a marked space”. At a different mall I have been instructed to “park here” and “no not here; you must park over there” by the same security guard.

My guess is that the security guard has no power over folk who simply abandon their cars in the aisles, and therefore chooses to take out his frustration on the one mall customer who has the courtesy to ask him where he should park his bike.

A similar thing happened a couple of weeks ago over at the Pearl. A group of us bikers rolled into our usual parking area and were shooed away by Security, as this area had been designated for valet parking only. Never mind the cars that had been abandoned there. After we moved to an unoccupied area beneath an adjacent building, more Security arrived and told us that we couldn’t leave our bikes there either. The security guard suggested an alternative place to park but, when this turned out to be a bus stop with an enormous “No Parking” sign, we went back to our original parking area and the rather embarrassed security guard drove away.

In other news, my landlord has decided to be awkward. Obviously I have to vacate the premises, have an inspection done, and then get my security deposit returned. Let’s work backwards.

  • I have to close my bank account before I leave the country.
  • I need a bank account in order to pay in the security deposit cheque.
  • It will take my landlord up to two weeks after final inspection before the cheque is issued.
  • I have to vacate on or before the date of final inspection.

So where do I live? The Ramada? Bates Motel? Someone’s sofa? I’ve already paid rent up to 14th July and I have to leave within a week of my residence permit being cancelled. Allowing a couple of days for the bank to handle cheque clearance and account closure, I will become homeless on 21st June. I’m suspicious that my landlord is not satisfied with three weeks’ rent paid on an empty flat, but seeks to delay issuing the security deposit cheque until after I’ve demobilised and he can grab a further month’s-worth of free money. Maybe I should sell all the furniture from this fully-furnished flat and let him keep the deposit.

Further demobilising expenses involve the multiple-exit permit. This cost me QAR500 and is valid until August 2012. But I can’t have my residence permit cancelled until after the multi-exit is cancelled. And that now costs QAR500. I never signed up to a cancellation fee; this is a new thing dreamed up by da Gubmint a couple of months ago. It’s a ploy to discourage multiple-exit permits, so the reasoning behind punishing people who are trying to cancel is unclear. I can’t simply let it expire, as my residence permit has to be cancelled before that expires in July.

Ever get the feeling that you’re being ripped off at every turn?


1 comment:

Gerry said...

bureaucracy is maddening in any country, but it seems to be especially bad in the middle east--probably a symptom of trying to create gov't jobs for everyone who wants them.

I wish I had some helpful advice to offer. when my wife and I left the u.a.e., we had already been living in a hotel for a couple of months (thanks to a company dispute with the landlord getting everyone kicked out of the building), so that made it easier. I can only suggest the obvious, which is to focus on getting whatever is owed you in a place where you can access it.

hassles like this are what make "doing a runner" so common, I think.


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