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  • Okay, so I’m a big over-reactor. I know this, but sometimes it really feels like the world is conspiring against you, doesn't it? Well, this is my story about *almost* travelling to Dubai…

    6AM – The alarm sounds. I head for the airport. Excited about my trip to Dubai!
    I had flown through Dubai a few months earlier, but only spent a few hours in the airport. This time, I had an entire 3-day weekend dedicated to surveying the opulent and over-the-top spoils that make Dubai famous. Plus, I would be able to wear flip flops! This is of particular importance because I live in London where the bitter cold of January 2013 was particularly unkind to my little piggies. Wrapped up, insulated and still, frostbitten (not really, but that’s what it felt like!), my toes needed some exposure!

    8AM – Queue. Emirates check-in. Scream: I need a visa for travel to Dubai???
    This is where I overreact.
    I’ve travelled through Dubai before, so how is it that I now need a visa? So I tell the check-in staff that I was meant to be running the Dubai Marathon tomorrow morning at 7AM and I need to be on this flight. Now this was a total lie, but I thought I’d jazz up my argument and add a sense of urgency. I thought there was hope for me, since most of the Emirates staff were also unaware that Canadians needed a pre-processed visa for entry into the UAE.

    10AM – I’m sorry Miss, but you’re not going to Dubai today.
    WTF? Although the Emirates check-in staff did their very best to help me, visas are the kind of thing that you can’t negotiate. The Emirates customer relations manager spoke to me directly to uncover a way to have my visa issued upon arrival, but to no avail. I contacted the UAE embassy in London who advised me of the UAE visa process steps in painstaking detail, only to stop when they felt that I was sufficiently scolded my blatant disregard for the merits of their duties. I was bad, I get it! Amidst all my calls, pleas and arguments, an Emirates employee suggested I call my hotel in Dubai as they offer visa services for their guests. After all the back and forth, the best was a 48-hour expedited visa which wasn't fast enough for me.

    NOON – Defeat.
    After spending the entire morning pleading my case, I had to accept defeat. Now, it’s not like me to cry, but I did whimper a little. And that’s not even my low-point. As I collected my things and prepared to take my sad-self home, an Emirate employee walked over, put her arm around me and said, “Don’t worry. There will be other races”. Brilliant.

    2PM – Outrage. I need a win.
    Still not recovered from the mornings brutal rebuff, I channeled my anger and decided to follow-up on a few lingering admin items that had annoyed me. So I started making some calls…
    Ring. Mobile provider. Me: How are you charging me for internet access if my signal doesn't work half the time? I want a credit!
    Ring. Medical insurance. Me: I submitted my dental claim form over 6 weeks ago, why have I not received my credit? This is unacceptable!
    Ring. Emirates Airlines. Why was I not made aware of visa requirements upon booking? Don’t put me on hold again. I want a refund! Ahh!!!

    I seriously went on “Where’s my bail-out?” mode. I’m not sharing this because I’m proud, but simply because it gets worse…

    5PM – Tired, hungry and miserable. I eat my feelings.
    Feeling less feisty and more miserable, I noticed that my flat was illuminated only by my monitor as the day had sunken into darkness. Unwilling to move on from the days events in any healthy manner, I ordered Chinese take-away from a well known authority in junk. After eating myself into an oblivion, I realized that I had spent the entire day screaming, arguing and consuming crap.

    8PM – Where did I go wrong?
    After a very disappointing day, I decided to investigate this whole Canada-Dubai visa issue. This was the first reasonable thing I’d done all day. After all, most Canadians are not as scary as me… And we get treated amazingly well when we travel. So it was strange that Dubai was hassling Canadians while most other countries easily received visas upon arrival. I began to investigate and found that this whole visa thing was new! Introduced to ruin my life!!!

    In summary, a year or two ago Dubai approaches Canada requesting additional airport lanes as flights between Dubai and Canada were increasing in popularity. Oddly, Canada dismisses this request without too much consideration. Dubai encourages further consideration, but it’s simply not a priority for Canada. At this point, Dubai gets a little peeved and suggests that the Canadian army base located in Dubai has a contract set to expire soon and renewal would not be guaranteed… Canada freaks, accuses Dubai of black-mail and refuses to budge. In response, Dubai gets annoyed and slaps us with a visa. Fudgesicles.

    So it’s not the whole world, but just my home country that’s out to ruin my life.

    And maybe I’ll review visa requirements for country’s that I've never entered before. Maybe.
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