Wednesday, July 18, 2012

Praise God! Fingerprint & Sea Shipment?!

What a glorious day!!!  Right before I was to be picked up for my fingerprinting, I got an email from Ken ... our sea shipment has arrived in Doha!!!!  It's early!!!  The email said to expect 4-6 days for customs clearance.  We'll see when we get the delivery ... boys can't wait for their Geo Tracks toys.  I can't wait for our mattress (the one here is REALLY firm)!  :-)

So an ExxonMobil driver and expeditor (a national Qatari man) picked me up today to take me for my fingerprint.  We arrive and the Qatari man takes me and another ExxonMobil employee in through the door clearly labeled "Gentlemen."  I asked if it was okay I come in and he assured me yes.  He took us to a counter to get a number and the man behind the counter said no, I had to go back to the ladies area.  Yes everything is segregated between male and female.  So I went to the ladies reception area and there was no one working.  A small gathering of women were waiting, but no one was behind the desks.  I think it was lunch break.  Thankfully it didn't take long before someone came along.  I've learned to always sit in the front row if you want things to be quick.  So I took a seat right up front when everyone else filled in from the back.  I was taken second.  And how many fingerprints do they need??  My goodness!!!  Every finger at least two times ... more if the computer screen didn't like the image.  I must have done my left thumb 7 or 8 times alone!  It was crazy!  But it was quick.  Now I just have to get Ken to sign some paper (he is officially my sponser here) and then submit everything tomorrow.  Hoping to get my RP in a week or so.  Then my driver's license.

Guess I need to start studying for the driver's test.  They only make expats from the US take a test.  Isn't that fun?  People from Europe, Australia, far East, even Africa just have to turn in their license and swap for a Qatari license.  Americans must take a test.  Legend has it that a high ranking Qatari once tried to get a US license and was required to take a test, so he made sure we were treated the same in Qatar.  No idea if there is any truth in it, but it wouldn't totally surprise me.

Riding in the car with a Qatari man was another first.  He was the first one I've ever (not) met.  He didn't talk to me or even acknowledge me, so I can't really say we "met," but I did make him laugh.  I was talking to another expat from the UK in the van and I didn't know he was listening to our conversation.  I was explaining how my boys were disappointed they haven't seen many camels.  They have asked me several times, "where are all the camels?"  It's like they expected people to ride camels to work here.  I had no idea the Qatari man was listening to me until he started laughing.  I hope it wasn't offensive to him!  (Mind you the Qatari people are RIDICULOUSLY wealthy - they drive Ferrari's, not camels!)

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