I seem to have spent the last couple of days handing over piles of notes to various people. I can't get a UAE bank account until I have my residency visa (which still hasn't come, but will come tomorrow I'm sure (Insha'Allah)), which means I don't have a local chequebook, and therefore everything has to be paid for in cash or international bank transfer (not an ideal option as these take four or five days).
The main logistical challenge has been with the villa. Having accepted the landlord's offer to rent the villa to us, we now need to pay a maintenance deposit, and a full year's rent in advance, before the process can continue. As an aside, it is only after we have paid all this money that we get to see the contract, which seems a little back to front to me, but "that is just the way it is" (another phrase I'm hearing more and more).
Anyway, as we want to get in the villa as soon as possible I needed to pay the maintenance deposit in cash, so I spent yesterday afternoon and this morning, moving money between accounts online, and using my maximum withdrawal allowances to cobble together the money. I then headed to the landlord's bank to pay the money into his account, although the taxi driver didn't quite understand where I was asking to go, which meant he took me to Al Hilal Luxury Car Showroom rather than Al Hilal Bank. I didn't have that much money with me!
This afternoon's task was to find the uniform shop to order some trousers for Henry, as he is too tall for the standard sizes. The school had sent out a vague map of the shop's new location so I confidently showed this to my taxi driver. He got me to the general area but there was no sign of the shop. After driving in circles for ten minutes, with the driver getting increasingly agitated, I decided to get out and continue on foot.
This turned out to be a mistake. The temperature here has dropped from last week, but it is still in the mid 30s today. I wandered up and down the block where I was convinced the shop was, but could not find it, and was getting increasingly hot and bothered. Eventually I decided to walk round to the back of the block, and hey presto, there was the shop.
Down I went to the uniform section, where I was presented with a numbered ticket (they seem to have this queuing system pretty much everywhere), and told to take my place in the queue. The room was big enough for maybe 15 people and there were at least 20 of us in there, and from what I can tell, the queuing system was being completed ignored.
I decided to join the scrum, so approached the counter and explained why I was there, namely to order some specially made trousers. The lady behind the counter was adamant that I didn't need to do this, even when I shared Henry's measurements. She called a few colleagues over and a very animated discussion took place, which I didn't understand a word of. Finally they decided that yes, it would need to be a special order, and (of course) there would be a 50% premium for this. Eventually the paperwork was completed and I handed over my credit card, but of course it was cash only. Given that the villa deposit had pretty much cleaned me out I was a little concerned that I didn't have enough cash to pay for the trousers and get a taxi back to my hotel, but thankfully I did, with a few dirhams to spare.
It's now time for me to pack up as I am checking out of the hotel tomorrow, to move to a serviced apartment ahead of Jo and the kids to arriving on Wednesday. Hopefully we won't be there for too long but let's wait and see.
Thanks for reading, as always. I am aware that a couple of people have tried to leave comments on previous posts without success. I have changed some of the settings, which may have sorted this, but do please let me know if you still have a problem.