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


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