The time has come to do the dreaded rounds of the ministries buildings. We are leaving on Monday (hopefully, or Inshallah as they say here) so the process of extracting ourselves from the system has to be done. Today we went to Mark's office and from there we were to go to the Ministry of Immigration where we expected to spend a few hours. However, since the office is almost opposite the place we need to go to get our mobile phones cancelled we decided to go in there on the way. A quick stop - or so we thought.
As is the way when dealing with authorities, there is someone at the office who is employed to help ex-pats handle this. I was going to say someone 'who knows the system' but nobody knows the system here, it changes from day to day and on the mood of the person holding the rubber stamp. So a quick trip to cancel the phones went like this: you enter the building and there are no signs to tell you who does what or where to go. We find out you need a numbered ticket so we get one. Half an hour later (that is very quick for Kuwait!) we approach a very surly woman who we can tell by the body language is telling our man why we can't do what we want to do. We can't cancel the phones for two months because we 'have roaming'. (I've no idea what that means). We can pay the bill and it will be cancelled in two months. OK we do that. All this of course takes a long time to work out. She cancels something or other on the computer and gives us some papers and points to a row of three desks a few feet away where they will conclude the business. Our man talks to one of the men there and is told we have to go back and get a ticket and wait again! A slightly heated discussion ensues and we get special treatment - we only wait 10 minutes. After looking at the papers and much discussion we are told there is a problem - the first woman hasn't cancelled the something or other.
This is a little sample of something that is very quick and easy. Tomorrow, because we didn't have time today, we have to get up at the crack of dawn to go to the Ministry of Immigration. I'm going along because, the last time and ex-pat from the office went there, they held up the process by telling him his wife had to be present to prove he owed her no money. Of course, this is unheard of but one has to be prepared for all eventualities. But they are always one step ahead of you!
We won't have an internet connection in our temporary apartment until maybe mid March so there may be a long gap once we get there before I can blog. (I'm not sure how I can cope without e-mail or the net!) I'm hoping our phone lines won't be cut off without notice or I will be completely lost! I'll be fairly busy once we get to Geneva but I hope to get time for a few drawings and I'll post asap.
BTW, the shops that were closed were the ones in residential areas. It's an effort to cut down on illegal immigrants or so I'm told. It sounded ominous to me but everyone I've spoken to seems to have great confidence that things will improve under the new Emir. Time will tell.