The horrible incident at Sharjah Airport

Thanks to the hype caused by KJ, many of you are aware that I have come to Dubai for a weekend. A trip that extended from Thursday to Sunday afternoon. That meant that I had to skip work for Saturday & Sunday…(for those who don't know, KSA is one of the few countries who still has the weekend on Thursday & Friday). ooh speaking of that, I need to get a sick note to justify my absence for those 2 days…*adds it to his to do list*

So, my plane was scheduled to arrive at around 7:30 p.m UAE time, which gives me enough time to fit something to do at night. But if I knew how I'll end up spending the next 4 hours, I would have thought twice before booking with this airline, and despite the traffic congestion, Dubai's airport would have been much better.

I arrive to the airport and start filling the necessary forms needed to apply for the Visit Visa before I was asked by one of the officers to go and join the queue.

But what I saw was definitely far from a queue. The queue was too long that it was impossible for it to remain a straight line without blocking entrance to the whole airport. The queue was like a snake growing from its tail. A queue that had at least 400 unfortunate passengers like, yours truly, who are waiting to let their eyeballs be submitted to the retina scanning devices.

Under normal conditions, you'd have 5 retina scanning devices that are processing the applicants in parallel. Unfortunately for us, four of them has magically announced a technical strike and stopped functioning at same time.

The queue kept getting longer and longer.

10 minutes pass and I haven't moved a block.

15 more minutes pass and I can see that the people in front of me have started to give up. They sat and stretched their legs as if they are about to sleep…What the…? I cannot handle this anymore

I get out of the queue and walk to the front. I skip around 100 people and try to scan the area around me. I spot two people trying to create a disturbance with one of the officers and trying to get into the queue at an earlier stage. I join them in their rally but we failed, the officer scolds us. He sets up an additional barricade and we end up being punished to go to the back of the queue.

I am not willing to give up. At this rate, I won't finish till morning. I wait 10 more minutes before I try once more but I had to think of an intervening strategy. I happen to notice that many of the women has started to give up and were sitting on the floor. Two of the people who were standing in the queue were bashing the authorities for their lack of planning in emergency situations. I join them with my loud voice by pointing to the sitting women as one of the effects of this disorganization saying "Where is the respect to women?"

The chief officer eyeballs me and shouts: ""DIDN'T I ORDER YOU NOT TO COME BACK? DON'T OPEN YOUR MOUTH AND SAY SOMETHING YOU'LL REGRET". Oh great, that's the last thing I need..to be grey-listed in another airport.

Nevertheless, he felt a bit guilty and he organized two queues. A women queue and a men queue. The officer is now sitting at the additional barricade set up earlier selecting random people to filter to the main queue. His preference was more inclined to the poor women of course. Great, more delay for us the guys.

I am still outside the queue. I was checking how much money I have. I have dollars, Qatari riyals (from my previous mission), Saudi riyals and UAE dirhams. I contemplated the idea of bribery for a second before I realized how insane and risky it is, especially if that two-starred officer sees me once again.

Few of the new male passengers arriving who are oblivious to the rule of the 2 queues end up waiting in the women queue. After half an hour, the officer spots them and commands them to leave the queue. They start another hassle on the excuse that they were not informed and many of them try to blend themselves in the male queue. I took the chance and push myself with them. The situation is getting uglier and I am still pushing. The officers are losing control. The two-starred officer arrives to the scene. I immediately duck taking the position of tying my shoe laces before he witnesses me for the 3rd time. The situation is resolved in few seconds and he end up escorting 12 people to the back of the queue. Luckily, I was not one of them. YES, at least I made a progress. I skipped past at least 65 people standing in front of me.

10 minutes pass..and we move 2 blocks

15 minute pass..and we move only one block

Half an hour pass…and we are standing still.

A rumor is spread around that the only functioning retina scanning machine has announced its early retirement.

The situation has become unbelievably unbearable. Its 10:30 p.m. already and I've spent around 3 pointless hours in the airport.

Finally, the authorities gave up and they were a bit discriminatory in giving temporary access to all the arabs waiting in the queue (we represented 10% of the queue population) leaving the Indians/ Bangalis and other Far Eastern nationalities on hold till further notice. That was a favorable situation for us and after that, I managed to complete and clear my papers in the next 20 minutes.

But this was definitely one of the worst airport experiences I ever had. To know how things were on the other side, Check it out here.

9 comments:

eshda3wa said...

but inshallah u had fun after leaving the airport!

KJ said...

O________________O

Batoul A. said...

loool meshkalji. the 65 people you skipped are the same ones that skipped you when the 2 officers threw you to the back of the line. And the "women" attempt was a bad idea on ur case lool yallah el mohim al7amdella 3ala salamtak wo inshallah you get back home safe and in better conditions.

starwish said...

lol @ your experience.

Ali said...

Sorry about your experience... BUT...
if it was me there I would be $&*(@*($@ furious about that discrimination you mentioned. Then again, probably no one of them spoke up because they don't want to have any problems... sigh the humanity.

Sam said...

o man that is horrible..i would have died had i been there with my two monsters waiting in that line..

asoom said...

hamdellah 3a salamtak!

Hamza said...

eshda3wa - definitely..all the fun I have imagined.

KJ - don't look at me like that. You already know the story.

batoul - well with the "woman" attempt, I was tyring to cause a stir coz eventually ppl will go to the women line, as I've expected, and they will be booted out later, and i know that these ppl are gonna start trouble, a trouble that I needed so that I can mingle in the line.

starwish - hahahaha..;)

ali - well, its sad and unfortunate especially that such discrimination still exists no matter what

sam - Thank God you didn't have to go through this. I am single and I had trouble keeping my sanity

asoom - Allah ysalmek :)

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