Dubai's Desperate Housewife

Trials and traumas of a full-time mum in Dubai

On “just dropping in” to the bank

with one comment

You get it every now and then if you live in Dubai: the email from the bank that asks you to update your visa and UAE ID paperwork.

I ignore it, of course. Don’t we all?

I ignore it maybe three times – until I read a horror story on Facebook about a friend of a friend whose account was frozen with no notice, leaving sleeping rough in Cambodia with three kids under three all because she didn’t update her paperwork, and I think maybe I ought to, y’know, do it.

So I call up the bank and ask if it’s possible to email scans rather than rock up at the branch with originals.

It’s not possible. Of course it’s not possible. I knew that.

“Just drop by your local branch with the originals,” says dear, sweet Preeti on a crackly line from Andhra Pradesh.

“But Preethi,” I sigh. “The words ‘drop by’ are hardly appropriate in Dubai where your branches are few and far between. The nearest branch of your esteemed institution is 24kms and 30 mins drive (I Googled it) from my house. There is no ‘dropping’ involved.”

Of course Preethi doesn’t care.  “Is there anything else I can do for you today, Mrs Dubai?” she asks.

I drive to the bank. Only this is Dubai and in the six weeks I’ve been away, the bank has disappeared. Well, it hasn’t disappeared: I can see it. I can see it through four lanes of roadworks, construction, cranes and concrete barriers. I can see its jolly little logo peeking out at me through the haze of construction dust. But I can’t get to it. It is a tiny island in an ocean of construction.

Bank, bank - wherefore art, thou, bank?

Bank, bank – wherefore art, thou, bank?

I drive past the bank in four different directions and in ever-decreasing circles, each time doing elegant U-turns that bring me a few metres closer but never quite close enough to actually access the car park. I consider turning my documents into paper darts and launching them across the Dubai Creek extension and then, about 35kms and 45 minutes after setting off from home, I give up and turn for home.

Let the account be frozen, I think. There are other banks out there.

But glory be, on my way back to the main highway there’s a sign – a yellow sign with the name of my bank on it and an arrow to follow through the construction site.

It’s a post-apocalyptic world out there; a world of dead palm trees, of juddering JCBs, mountains of sand and half-built concrete pylons; a world of ant-like construction workers grey with cement dust – but then, suddenly, there it is among the cranes, no longer separated from me by concrete barriers: the bank. I feel like I’ve completed the final round of The Crystal Maze. I cheer. I park. I update my documents.

And then, dear friends, I start finding my way back out…

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Written by mrsdubai

August 25, 2015 at 7:06 pm

One Response

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  1. Congrats on finding the bank! Now that I drive here I always feel so accomplished if I arrive anywhere without getting lost!

    widerangingramblings

    August 26, 2015 at 2:34 pm


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