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Tuesday, November 4, 2008

First Few Days

I flew all night from JFK and arrived in Abu Dhabi early in the morning. My employer told me I had to go to the Immigrations office at the airport to pick up my work permit. Much to my relief, the officer found the permit right away-I expected problems- and I was directed to a machine that did a retinal scan and then was allowed through Immigrations but got stuck in Customs as they wanted to search my checked bag. No problem, I left the porn back in the States. They released me and I went to Duty Free to buy "supplies"-Cohiba Cuban cigars, a bottle of Wild Turkey 101, a bottle of Absolut vodka and a case of Heineken tall boys. I didn't know how long it would be before I got to purchase these goodies again so I stocked up.

I enjoyed the early morning cab ride to my hotel and was excited to finally be on the ground for the start of a new chapter in my life. The hotel was a little old and worn but was comfortable and right in the city so I was within walking distance of most of my needs.

After settling in, I called some friends I had met on my interview trip. They are actually the son and daughter-in-law of a good friend and co-worker from my former employer. They have been working in Abu Dhabi for the last two years and were a wealth of good advise for my first few months here. I told them I was finally in town and we went out for a good dinner at the Corniche Sheraton Resort. It was a short night as the jet-lag was kicking in and I had to check-in at work the next day.

At 8AM, the company arranged car picked me up at my hotel right on schedule and took me at a very spirited speed to H.Q. where I was to do my new-hire paperwork. It went very efficiently and they even took me to see my new company provided living quarters a mile away. I was blown away by the apartment. It was brand new and very modern but would not be ready for occupancy for a few weeks. I then got a ride to the airport terminal to meet my boss and see where I would be working. Then back to the hotel.

I will spare you the details of the next few weeks in this post. They mostly consisted of riding to and from the airport area to get some required company training done, dealing with obtaining all the legal visas and other paperwork from the U.A.E. government, purchasing a new car and buying appliances, dishes, sheets, towels, etc., for the imminent move to the apartment. These all deserve posts of their own to do them justice.

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