Monday, April 27, 2009

Why complain ?!?!?

Following my last post I really thought things could not get any weirder, stranger or even difficult for me and my stress prone mind and body. As I got my passport on the day before I flew back to Dubai, I asked again to the Passport Office if there was no way for me to have a certified later stating why they kept my passport ? When I got another official NO, I said to myself !@#$%?&!@#$%? and some more %$#@!?&*@#$%!&* ... so off I was back home, thinking, what kind of vacation was this ? takes more than a day ,to and from Montreal, and spent most of my time worrying about a passport and visa !!! The good thing coming back was that the flight had enough seat available for me to enjoy 3 empty seats to myself, that meant I would, and I did, sleep a whole 8 hours on the plane. As we landed in to Dubai, could not help myself to text my favorite B. to make sure I'll have an unconditional ear to listen to my rants. Once I got settled in the apartment , my compulsory need to go to the internet acted and just before I logged on to Facebook, decided to go check my schedule ! To my biggest surprise , my flights were replaced by leave days (vacation days), which down the line means less money for me and less vacation days to take in the future... How upset was I ? LIVID !!!! Let me explain, when I got to the airport the immigration officer did not make any fuss about me not having the visa on my new passport, as EK crew we have been issued electronic cards that let you by pass an officer , as all our information and finger prints have been registered. The officer directed me to the Egate (name of the card) counter where I scanned my card and finger , and voila, I was cleared. The officer also told me to just make sure I have the copy of my visa with my new passport until I can go to the office and have it transfered ! I mean really, how can such an important issue be interpreted a gazillion times by a service department ? As it was Thursday evening , meaning all offices were closed until sunday, that meant I could not do jack *&?% for 2 days , which have been marked as LEAVE.... How to balance all the bad words that were flowing to my brain cells and making their way to my mouth ? Surely enough I ended up at the beach on friday, and at Dreamland Aquapark on saturday. On sunday my adventure in Bureaucracy began at 8am, direction EGHQ (Emirates Headquarters) , went up to the visa section, explained my whole situation, which seemed odd and strange to them, got sent to the immigration services, where they seemed even more lost in my story, so nothing better for them to do then to expedite me again to the visa services where this time the agent lost his cool and went back to the immigration services (having talked to them before sending me lol) and there about 5 or 6 men were debating in Arabic about my situation tossing my passport from one hand to the other before deliberating on what to do ! Finally I was told to get a letter certified by the Canadian Consulate and then attested by the ministry of foreign head was going beep beep beep , back up back up, when I joined EK I was poked and tested and so on to make sure I was healthy and benefit from a UAE resident visa , then issued ID cards which would let me go through security zones and immigration, so why exactly to I need to go through all that ? Why would my passport be a fake ? anyway.... moving on !

I arrived at the Canadian Consulate under a blazing  35 degrees celsius in Dubai... it was busy there in a small room full of people there to renew their passports etc... It was a bit funny hearing some issues people came with , made my problems seem obsolete.  Finally my number came up to go see a representative, of course as I started explaining my problem, they could not understand why exactly they needed me to produce a letter !!! My mind was going : Why don't you just do it %?#%@&@&#?@&#?# !!!!! LOL so the lady there tells me that it's gonna take a week minimum for them to verify everything : my passport, my story !!! At that precise second, I had a reverse orgasm and my brain exploded.

After a good hour that I took to calm down and realize that I'm still alive and healthy and that I still have a good life, I decided to go back to EGHQ and report to my manager. Unfortunately I soon realized that I was in this alone ! My intuition drove me to go back to the consulate, it's like I had a feeling of in-satisfaction  and I just could not leave it alone. As I got there, another lady was present and told me that waiting a week or more is just crazy, and all I had to do is type a letter stating what happen and they would attest to it ! Things were looking better ! Off I was home after a long day of frustrations and what nots. Next day, up and early and I was at the consulate, this time it was empty as if the gods decided to give me a break lol got my letter attested and certified, went to the foreign affairs ministry and did the same, got to EGHQ and submitted my documents, and now I have to wait another 4 days to find out if my visa will be awarded to me. At this point, if I don't get it, there is something seriously wrong with this picture and I don't want to be part of it !

On the down side of this whole experience, spent over 700 DHS so far (about 230$ canadian) , lost some brain cells, that burned, my view of bureaucracy being a BS factory was strengthen , I lost my pairing to Milan and working hours, lost 4 days of vacation leave plus a week on vacation being stressed. But hey, there is a plus side, I got to work on my tan lol enjoyed some fun times with the B. who had his birthday and I have a very good roster for the month of May to look up to, going to Beijing, Glasgow, Birmingham, Lagos and London and just 3 short turnarounds. The lord works in mysterious ways !!! That he does :)

Oh to clarify, B means Britney lol you foooooooolllsss :)


Saturday, April 18, 2009

Vacation or is it ?

This post is more about me needing to rant about a series of unfortunate events. Back in January when I received my UAE resident visa, my passport was covered with a tape that had left glue on some pages, when I tried to remove the tape, I unfortunately tore a page off my passport ! Not thinking nothing of it, I was flying the world with a broken passport, not getting any warnings from any immigration officer both in Dubai and the world. As I was getting ready to go on annual leave last wednesday , the series of events that were about to unfold left me unsuspected. As I was going into terminal 3, Emirates dedicated terminal and a massive piece of construction, I was simply amazed on how big that thing was... After doing the self check in, I directed myself to the baggage drop off counter, and the lady finally realizes that my passport should not be in a state of handicap (missing a page - more having a page torn) . She says that it might be a problem getting into Canada or back in Dubai (mind that in more then one occasion the authorities in Dubai had a look at my passport and the missing page and never was I advise anything). My body heat slowly gets up as I see that the agent was dead set on me not boarding that plane. At this point she was trying to get in touch with a supervisor who was looking for Canadian Consulate officer to confirm if the Passport is still valid ! After 30 minutes of waiting they finally get a go to let me go through the gate , where I would be verified again. In between, I was exploring the new terminal, or should I call Mall terminal, so many shops, this thing is bigger then life , but I should not be surprised as Dubai is equivalent to big. Finally time as come for me to head to the gate, where never seen before there was 2 guys , one standing behind the other checking passengers passports and formalities, when I got there, they did not even notice the discrepancies in my passport, but only were looking for my boarding pass number which was relayed to them by the check in agent earlier. There was a Canadian government rep who verified my passport and told me that I should get a new one as soon as I get back in Dubai. Fine, I can relax and start enjoying my vacation ! NOT . The flight was full, and can I tell you that flying 14 hour in economy and being my size is not an easy task, thank god , the passengers seating next to me where very conversant and interesting so that made up for me not being so comfortable , other wise, experiencing the Emirates world class service as passenger was pleasant, even dough I deliver a better service when I am working a flight lol . As we were landing in Toronto, I was taken over by a series of memories from my last airline ( as I had a lot of flights origination or ending at YYZ). As I was lining up at the customs queue, my mind was pretty clear, got to the officer, look at my passport and stamped my custom card. Interesting, so I ask him, "What about the page that's torn off ?" and he says that he does not know if it's a problem or not, that I should go to the passport office and verify. Next stop, is the Air Canada transit counter, where with Emirates on time performance I was able to get bumped to an earlier flight in to Montreal, by now, I had an hour to move through the Terminal and make the other connecting flight, I board the plane and as they are about to close the door I here a PA asking for someone with the same last name as me to identify themselves, turns out they were looking for me, luck would have it, that I was issued someone else's boarding pass, as the agent did not even bother to look at the first names, so I was ask to leave the plane just to be invited to get on again !!! (Unbelievable). After a quick 45 minutes in the air, we land in beautiful Montreal and I finally get to go home.  As excited I was to be home ! I could not help but shake off a feeling that the following day would be challenging.

Next day, off I was as early as possible to the passport office, I get there got a number for the queue and went to the counter when my number pop up . I explain my situation, the officer asks to see the passport , and KEEPS IT ! I said I need the passport back as it as my UAE visa on it, and get told that the integrity of the passport has been compromise and that it's now a security issue and will be sent to their security department. OH MY F....G GOD !!! Are they for real ? At this point I had no choice but to get a new passport issued to me, costing me 117$ which is nothing compared to the headaches that this situation has generated. I spent the whole day at the Passport office, as they are very efficient with servicing customers (Read with sarcasm !). I'm thinking that getting back in Dubai will certainly be eventful emotionally in dealing with this situation and getting a visa stamped back on my new passport, and I'm trying to be optimist in not getting pulled off the roster (which is the worse case scenario).

Last night had a very nice diner with Champagne with The Bouzou and friends...which diluted my thoughts !!! Another great diner with Friends tonight to take the edge off things !!! Also went shopping at Simons where I managed to buy some nice stuff from cool shirts to sexy Diesel swimwear... Shopping always do a lot of good to the mind and body, definitely better then eating fat ice cream lol


Tuesday, April 14, 2009

The vacation that this Job is...

I just came back from work... well for the common mortal it must look like a big vacation... After the 5 day pairing I just did I can confirm that it is in deed a big vacation... Left Dubai Thursday morning and got into Brisbane (Australia) in the morning the next day, we stayed again in a nice hotel and again with a nice breakfast buffet that I did not hesitate to join after a long shower, did I mention that it is a 14 hour flight from Dubai. After breakfast, joined some of the crew for drinks - YES DRINKS AT 8 am - with a 6 hour time difference it made sense to stay on Dubai time and pretend it is night time lol After that , I will spare you the shenanigans , leaving your imagination to work ! Left there at around 2 pm and went for a walk around the city, leaving my camera in my room, oh well, it was a gloomy day and nothing really interesting to capture. After a 5 hour walk in the city, I realized that I have been awake for over 24 hours, how my body survived that I really don't know...So I headed back to the hotel and ordered room service, finally hit the bed around 9 pm. By now we are saturday and I'm heading to Auckland in New Zealand, arrived there at 3 pm, and again went for drinks with the crew around 6 pm and then clubbing till 3 am...Now have I been sleeping much ? lol . On Sunday we get back to Brisbane where we all finally decide that enough is enough and we all stay in our rooms and sleep, but not me , went out again that night, and slept it off after. It's monday morning and cut my sleep short and went for a good breakfast again and some other crew members wanted to go to a Koala reserve, so I said why not, and followed them. Koala's are cute, but I find that they stink lol Later on, got a 4 hour sleep and headed off to the airport for the flight back home, another 14 hour. I must say that this was the best time ever I had working both on the air on the ground during layover, great crew and great cities.

Click for pictures : Brisbane

So now I am getting ready to go on vacation (lol) to Montreal, it's another 14 hour flight west bound this time and as a passenger... I can't wait to have some real food lol Things that I am familiar with , HOME. But I'm also excited about my Milan pairing right after my vacation lol 

That's it for now...

Monday, April 6, 2009

Days off !!!

The month of March was one exceptional work experience for me... being my reserve month, I worked a warping 9 days representing 3 flights, all layovers (thank God :) ) and giving me 61 credit hours (average is 80). In comparison to February, I worked 9 flights , 3 layovers and 6 turn around, giving me 86 hours ! As you read my past posts for that month, I went to the beach several time, clubbing more then usual in my lifetime... but hold it continues...for april my first 8 days were also off, as we get not 30 days of reserve in a block but 35-38 .. so today I decided to go to this water park in Dubai, Wild Wadi, the experience was fun, but the rides could have been better, never the less, it was another gorgeous day (not unusual) and the water was warm and not cold (i.e. Montreal on a summer day) .

Moving on, I'm going on a 6 day pairing (trip for the common mortal - but working) , starts off Dubai-Brisbane and layover, then Brisbane-Auckland with another layover, this one I just can't wait, I remember watching the amazing race last season, and they had a leg in Auckland , and I was telling myself, I have to go there ASAP. Then back in Brisbane then Dubai, immediately after, I go to Montreal , taking part of my annual leave, I just can't wait !!! (the flight is 14 hours plus connection, that's almost a whole day sacrificed in total). For the month of may I bid for North American flights... why ? They have bigger credit hours as they are long flights, and Me needs cash as I'm planning to take an unpaid leave during the summer to avoid the unbearable heat of Dubai. As it is, I'm already sweating a lot when the plane is on the ground...Just imagine in a 40 plus degrees centigrade weather !!!
Day at water park pictures ====>>> Wild Wadi

Cities I've visited