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Wednesday, October 7, 2009

Liquor License Redux

My liquor license expires this month so being the beer aficionado that I am, the task of renewing it jumped to the top of my "to-do" list to insure an unlimited future supply of suds.

Unfortunately I chose the wrong day to do it.

I got off work at 7AM and came home to take a nap. I can sleep for an hour and am good to go for hours after that. A trip to the grocery store, a car wash and the Liquor License renewal was planned for the day.

The grocery store trip went well but I was fourth in line for the ADNOC car wash so that took some time.

Then off to the police station where the necessary paperwork, passport photos, letters of permission, visa copies and Dirhams would be exchanged for a shiny new Liquor License that is good for another year.

When I arrived at the police station, I was issued a visitor's ID and proceeded to the area where the transaction would take place. There was a long counter with 5 stations. One station was labelled for the Liquor Licenses and the other four had signs that said "Black List". I don't know what that meant but I am sure it was bad and I was glad I wasn't there for that.

The Black List stations were empty but the Liquor License area had about eight people waiting in chairs. I pulled a queue number from the machine and took a seat. After about 12 minutes the clerk called the eight people up to the counter and a lot of arm waving and loud vocal protests immediately began on the part of the applicants. This went on for some time and, being in a police station, I was surprised that no officer showed up out of curiosity to assess the situation although many walked by. The clerks manning the Black List stations were actually smiling and laughing at the scene going on.

After five minutes of this fiasco, the woman in charge of the Liquor Licenses (sporting a blue camouflage uniform, teeth braces and a black beret) walked out from behind the counter and led the irritated customers to an office somewhere out of my view. I continued to sit there and watched as the customers left the office and walked out of the police station one-by-one with dejected looks on their faces.

I sat there some more and curiosity got the best of me so I approached the counter. I asked one of the Black List ladies what was going on. She explained to me that they had run out of blank Liquor Licenses and that it would be one month before the stock will be replenished. She told me to come back then.

No wonder my fellow expats were agitated, they were there to follow the rules and were probably down to their last bottle of Chardonnay. Now it will be at least a month before they can legally purchase alcohol in the Emirates. Not to mention all the other expats who hope to get/renew a Liquor License in the next few weeks. As I was told, it can't be done.

I took it in stride as I am fortunate enough to have enough supplies to last me until then, but if I was down to my last two beers, I might not be so patient and understanding.

I appreciate the fact that the U.A.E. government allows us expats our vices. I think that is very generous. They don't have to do it, but I am glad they do.


Dave said...

Good story. Just as well you have enough supplies or a long trip to a northern emirate may be required......

Ace said...

I hear you! Then run the gauntlet back down South to AD with a sagging rear end....the car, not me!

Ace said...

Thank you, I aim to please!!!
Just remember, ED stuff is OTC here.
Like buying aspirin!!!