Today we did another border run. Which sucked. Normally they take too much time and are a generally lame day for us, but this time was so much worse. The UAE, in all of its infinite wisdom, has decided to give only 30-day visas to Americans now instead of 60-days. And now instead of it being 40 dirham for Kaden and I to get stamps out of the country, it's 65 dirham PER PERSON and they force Stu to get an exit and entrance stamp as well, therefore paying the 65 dirham too. So instead of 40 dirham, we paid 195 dirham just to leave today. Because they can, Oman also decided to up the ante and what used to cost us 33 American dollars now costs us well over 45. And again, this is supposed to happen now every 30 (!!!) days. Screw. That.
So, poor Marcia will be sent all over the place to help us collect the documents we need to get our residence visas here, but it will end up saving us a lot of money (with the cheaper fares and 60-day visas, it came close and was actually going to be under what we'd have to pay to get residence visas here... now that is out of the question). Before we can get them, both our state and Condoleezza Rice will have to approve our documents and they must be translated into Arabic and then the UAE must approve them, then I have to get an AIDS test and a chest scan before we can get the visas. Fun stuff.
In other news, we were supposed to have another knitting group meeting today, but unfortunately there is a demonstration in support of Gaza going on on the Corniche, we've been advised by the Embassy to stay out of sight and away from downtown (do as the Embassy says, I say!). Lindsay's husband said there was a demonstration in Dubai recently that got out of hand and he didn't think it was a good idea for us to be down there so near to it. So we had to cancel. Lame, but probably for the best. Instead we're going to go to Tony's to grill and joke about how we really should just make Isreali flags out of crayons and construction paper and head down to the rally... In America, I might just do it. Here, out of sight, out of mind (or at least out of shoe-throwing and spit-laced angry words range).
I don't understand the Palestinian-Isreali issues anyway. Granted, I am not Jewish or Muslim, nor am I a relative or resident of either place, but in spite of the hate-inspired violence, is there REALLY something going on that has a remedy? Anyway, not my place to chat about it since I'm admittedly totally ignorant to the reasons for their deep-seeded anger issues with each other.
This got me thinking about whether we really are safer in America, or if we just FEEL safer. Here, when things are told to us from official channels (let's say government channels, for instance) they may or may not be accurate... in America, if someone in government tells you something, they will be held to it (for damn sure if it's in writing). Same with our crime issues and traffic laws. We respect our police and government because they have power. Here? Not so much. But I wonder if that power that we know our police have (since we GAVE it to them) really makes us safer, or if we just take safety for granted. I would LOVE to be able to be at home right now and walking alone at night in downtown Boise to my car and never worrying a second about it. But that doesn't mean someone couldn't have mugged me anyway... so, it's something to think about.
Hot and Sour Soup
2 days ago