Thursday, January 20, 2011

Getting Mail - part 1

By now, you should be noticing from the "part 1" in the title of each post that everything we do takes more than one try here in Abu Dhabi, and setting up the process to receive mail is no different. The basic premise is quite different in that mail is not delivered to a physical residence, but only to a PO box at one of the Post Office buildings. This is at least in part because the addressing system isn't in any way standardized - the same street can have 3 different names and while there is a comprehensive grid system to help navigate the city, we're told only the ex-pats use it and if you try to describe something using the grid system to an Emerati, they won't know what you're talking about.

So, we need to set up a PO box in Dubai for the Epic Middle East office and we need to set up a personal box in Abu Dhabi for us. We started on Monday with a trip to the appropriate post office in Dubai and arrived about 3pm only to find out their hours are 8am to 2:30pm ... BUST! We're planning another trip this coming Monday and plan to get their earlier.

On the personal front, the reason we're trying to set up the box now is so that we can open a bank account (you can't without a PO box). The challenge is that we don't yet know where our permanent residence will be, so we decided to find a PO close to where Brian will be working. We found one on Bani Yas street which is the same street as the building where Brian works thinking that would be closest, however, when we explained what we needed to the taxi driver, he took us to something closer. Taxi drivers are fairly helpful even though sometimes they say they know where they're going and really don't. :)

We arrived at the PO and this one is open from 8am to 9pm on weekdays and even has some Friday night hours!! (NOTE: The UAE work week is Sunday through Thursday, with Friday being like our Sunday where official offices are typically closed and Saturday being like our Saturday ... did you catch that?) We got our ticket number and while I waited, Brian went to the information/greeter desk to see if he could get a copy of the form and get things started. And good thing he did, because we found out we need to provide 2 passport photos, a copy of his passport and 270 Dh (about $74). So, back home we went and will try again possibly tonight (Friday) or on Saturday.

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