Add to Technorati Favorites expat Abu Dhabi Dispatches: Adios, Abi Dhabi!

Saturday, March 17, 2012

Adios, Abi Dhabi!

After I arrived at JFK and went through US Customs and Immigrations, I went outside the terminal into the unseasonably warm weather in New York. I was eager to to contact my family and friends but immedeately found out that my domestic mobile carrier (Verizon) had cancelled my account for some reason. My Visa card proved to be inactive too.

So there I was without communications and USD$. I had a pocket full of UAE Dirhams and was lucky to find a booth to change them to the current coin of the realm. I was happy to finally be back in my home country but was unhappy that things had degraded to the point where the basic services one would expect were no longer available to me partly due to my absence from the domestic US mainstream banking and communication system for almost 3 1/2 years.

That afternoon, despite my problems I felt a huge comfort to finally be back in the US. I was home for good. I got on the hotel phone and solved most of my recent problems with the credit cards and phone. The next day I flew down to the Southeast to see Family and Friends. I went from JFK to Birmingham, Alabama to Fort Walton Beach, Florida, then back to Birmingham, then to Las Vegas, Nevada, then to Phoenix, Arizona, then to Tucson, Arizona, back to Phoenix and then Las Vegas. I was fortunate to get a good job in the meantime. I now currently reside in a suburb of Las Vegas and am cool with that.

My exit from Abu Dhabi was not so good. To start with, I had to give a 2 MONTH FUKKING NOTICE to my employer! I am sure that is designed to hobble any chance with a future employer. Then, I had a 32 point checklist to complete before I was cleared to leave the country. One of which was a letter from the bank stating I owed no money. If I did owe, I would not be allowed to leave the country and would end up in a shitty UAE jail just because I bought an X-Box on the credit card and was late on a payment. Don't do that, beware!!! That didn't happen to me but it could happen to anyone. Sharia Law rules over in the UAE and as an expatriate, you just ain't gonna win.

I was given 30 days to get out of the country. The employer took my passport, health cards and ID days after my resignation so I was not free to go anywhere When you arrive in the UAE, they take care of everything, when you leave they are much less helpful. I spent the entire month of January trying to get the official stamps and clearances to get out of the country. The stress made me sick and I couldn't even keep a soda cracker down.

I found out I would not get my passport returned until my day of departure, which I was concerned about. All went well at the airport and I relaxed as the aircraft's wheels left the ground.

To those that fantasize about living in the Middle East, think again. My pay wasn't that good and you are owned by the employer without any rights whatsoever. Contracts are changed by employers at whim You get rear-ended at a traffic light by an Emirati and you will be charged for backing into him/her.

I have more to say, and I will, but I cannot recommend living in the UAE unless you are part of an organization with a fat US government contract.

The Arab, Pakistani and/or Indian way of doing business is disgusting. Telling the truth is looked upon as a sign of weakness. Shake hands and count your fingers!

The traffic is deadly, customer service is non-existant, rude people are common and there are no street addresses. Hell, they won't even transport you in an ambulance if the paramedics think Allah has willed you to die.

The internet is censored in the UAE, just like China and North Korea so it is refreshing to tell the truth from the USA without using a VPN or face prison time. I have an opinion that ANY country that restricts the internet has something to hide or doesn't trust its citizens with unfettered access to the rest of the world. The UAE is fucked up in that way. The media is similarly controlle.

I discovered that the UAE ( especially Abu Dhabi & Dubai) are constructs of a very insecure patriachal group of Sheikhs who are desperate to earn respect from the Western world. They are way behind and are trying to play "catch-up". They also play the "my dick is bigger than yours" game. Arab men seem very insecure. There is plenty of evidence of a national inferiority complex despite the vast wealth.

Sure, the shiny facades, big buildings and the vulgar displays of wealth may impress the trailer trash, but the truth is that these folks are but 35 years from living in desert tents, washing their eating utensils in camel urine and wiping their asses with their left hand.  Don't be fooled, if you scratch a little beneath the surface, the 15th century is still alive and well in the UAE!

I saw many lives ruined over there, mine included, almost!

If you can, stay in the US, EU or Australia. Those places are not perfect by any means but are far better than most of the rest of the world.

Your freedom and life may depend on it. Life in the UAE was nice in a lot of ways, but one wrong move and you can be in a very bad situation. You can be imprisoned for merely flipping the bird or insulting someone.

I am going to start a new blog about Las Vegas. This is my new home. It is an exciting city and there is a lot to talk about so stay tuned and I will provide a link in a few days. Life continues!


Neil Roberts said...

Congratulations on your escape! I feel your pain! I can really sense your relief and re-found freedom of expression. God luck with your next chapter! Keep me in touch with your new blog and I will follow with interest.

All the best buddy!


Ace said...

Thanks Neil,

I hit a hard, severe wall and had to "Punch Out".

It ain't perfect where I am now by any means but doing much better.

I have a new job, a new woman(!) and look to stay here in Vegas for awhile until I get "itchy feet" again.

The freedom of expression is a relief, more to be said but not all bad.

Keep in touch mate and if you get my neck of the woods, lets roll some dice!

New blog coming soon. Much to write about here. You have a friend in Vegas!


Chuck said...

Hey Ace, you working at ALGT these days? Glad you made a successful return back to the states, if I ever make it back to LAS for an N7 reunion we will have to finally meet in person for food and beerz.

Anna-Lou said...

So you are back... Don't forget to send me some news. I hope you're fine Randy ! I had some good memories of us talking on the balcony, but not too loud to be heard by local emiratis...
See ya :)

Dub said...

"I have an opinion that ANY country that restricts the internet has something to hide or doesn't trust its citizens with unfettered access to the rest of the world."

...and, here we are trying to fight off our own Congress' attempts at just that.

Kyle said...

Jonathan Mardukas: There's good and bad everywhere, don't you think?

Jack Walsh: Eh, well, I'd say there's bad everywhere. Good I don't know about.

Quote from Midnight Run, a great Robert De Niro movie.

That just about sums up the whole state of affairs be that back home in the States or here in the UAE.

Anonymous said...

Well it was nice following you on your blog. I want to hear more especially after the bitter and negative tirade you just published. By the way your I think your Twitter account is hacked. I keep getting direct messages from you with spam (see my copy & paste below and don't follow the link). Change your password or something so these stop.

Randal Parker (@Abu_Dhabi_Ace) has sent you a direct message on Twitter!

A powerful natural product…
Direct message sent by Randal Parker (@Abu_Dhabi_Ace) to you.

Ace said...

Twitter hack fixed

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