Trip Start Nov 05, 2010
137Trip End Ongoing
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It's 4am and we arrived from Bombay 3 hours ago. We were excited to land in Abu Dhabi just because the airport itself is simply spectactular. It felt like walking into one of the grand casinos in Vegas with all the bright lights and posh decor.
The airport had a modern design, comfortable chairs,free internet stations, great selection of restaurants however, our 5 mins of euphoria came to an abrupt halt as we stopped at immigration.
"Where are your papers, VISA"? stated the officer.
"We are from Canada, and need to get a VISA on arrival."
"Sir, since January 1, 2011 Canadian residents need a VISA before they enter UAE
To our surprise, Sasha did the research before we came. He must've read on an old website that we didn't need a VISA. Prior to Jan 2011, Canadians just like our neighbors from US and Europe could get a VISA on arrival. We learned things changed when UAE wanted to bring more planes to Canada and our Gov't wouldn't allow it. To make a long story short, we we're denied entrance. Now we are stuck at the glam airport trying to figure out what our options are.
Here are our choices:
1 - Get a tourist hotel to sponsor us so we can get a VISA
2 - Fly to Muscat, Oman or Doha, Qatar or any other country where we can get a VISA on arrival, then try to find a travel agency that will process a VISA for UAE for us
3 - Find Air India and on top of figuring out the mishap, decode the language of "bobbling heads"
4 - Do what our Arab friend suggested and slip a bill to the immigration officer
5 - Pray for a miracle and maybe, Allah will answer our prayers *fingers crossed*
Sasha tried calling a few hotels to see if any do sponsorships. Unfortunately, none of them did. Dasha looked up cheap flights to Muscat. It felt like we had all the time in he world, except time wasn't the problem. Lack of sleep was. We realized as the minutes went by how slow our productivity was, but we are determined to work it out. Did you ever watch the show "Amazing race?" Because today, we found out what it feels like. However, we don't recall any team pulling an all nighter or staying awake for over 24 hours.
In 12 days our onward ticket is set to fly out of Dubai to Capetown. So, we have some time to hopefully process a VISA for UAE. Initally, our plan was to go to Abu Dhabi, Dubai then Oman. But, everything is jumbled now. Perhaps, this is where our flexibility and strength as a couple comes in handy. Times like these really put our relationship to the test. Traveling together is not just about the good times but the challenges we face together. "We can get through anything" Dasha exclaimed. Sasha said it best, "At least we didn't lose each other."
He was right.
Sleepless in Abu Dhabi (SD)