Published: November 20th 2011September 28th 2011
As I reversed my car out of the space (it was herring bone parking, drive in, reverse out) I felt a clonk. I found my back light hanging off by its wires and a gouge just under two feet long down the passenger side rear wing. You can't get a repair done here without a police report but they have relaxed the rules a bit recently so if there is no serious damage and no witness, you can report the incident later, and not call 999 to summon a Saeed officer (a private contractor working on behalf of the police who log and record minor traffic incidents) , especially during peak hours.
Saket, my Ops Manager had suffered a similar thing a few months ago and said that the police station in Musaffah would be able to give me a report, but after eventually finding someone who spoke English, I was told I would have to find a Saeed operative and get him to write the report. I soon found one, but he told me that I had to go to the Traffic and Repair Department off 4th Street. I eventually found their office and the guy on the gate told me I had to go through and see Mohamed, I was taken through to an office where I had to take a ticket and wait for my number to be called. There were five or six counters. I also had to fill in a form that was written entirely in Arabic but I could match up the bits on my driving licence and registration card, although I had to write in English. Once my number was called I was greeted with a surprised man who beckoned over the office boy and told him to take somewhere else. I was led through a maze of offices until we came to a room with five blokes in smart uniforms all smoking and talking on their iPhones. They looked at my form, licence and registration, had a brief yet heated discussion before one of them led me to a much bigger office where a bloke in an even grander uniform was sitting behind a massive desk, he was also smoking and talking on his iPhone. After a while he asked me where my car was.
"Parked out the front" I said.
"Very good, now where is your Police ID?" he said.
"I don't work for the Police" I told him.
"Then why are you here?" he asked.
"Because various Policemen told me to" I honestly replied.
The Copper who had brought me to the office looked nervous but the bloke behind the desk started laughing.
"Ha! They thought you were Police! No my friend, you need to go to the Traffic Section at Muroor" he told me.
I walked back through the maze of corridors and to my car and drove to the traffic section at Muroor. After the usual explanations I was told that I had to go to the Saeed head office in Al Shabya police station. I drove there to find the car park packed with half of the cars illegally parked. By sheer luck someone pulled out of a space just in front of me and to the tune of beeping horns I pulled in, the guy behind me seemed to think it was his space and I had Arabic abuse shouted at me all the way to the ticket machine and back. There were at least 20 traffic policeman loitering round the car park, smoking and chatting on their iPhones, and not one of them was the slightest bit interested that a bloke was shouting abuse at me. Once inside the building and away from shouted abuse I was directed to an office, and from there I was led through a maze of offices until we came to a room with five blokes in smart uniforms all smoking and talking on their iPhones. They all had a discussion before one of them led me through more corridors and into the Saeed help desk room. The Policeman had a brief but heated conversation with the guy on the desk before turning to me.
"You need to drive back to where your car was damaged and call 999" he told me.
"What?" I said, "that's insane, my car is outside here, and I will never get the same place where my car was parked"
"I know, but please, this is easier".
So I drove back to my flat and again, luckily saw a free space. It was only about 200 metres from where my car was actually hit. I dialled 999 and twenty minutes later a Saeed officer on a scooter turned up.
"Hello my friend, you were just at Shabya, why did you drive back here to call me?"
I gave him a brief summary of the above, he laughed and wrote out a form, showing where my car was and the extent of the damage. He ripped the sheet off and handed it to me.
"Just take this to Muroor Traffic department and they will give you the paper"
"Why can't you give me the paper?"
He tapped on the screen of his laptop in the case on the back of his bike to indicate. "System down, too busy".
By the time I fought my way back through town to Muroor it was gone three, but I was surprised to see a virtually empty car park, at last, a bit of a break. I walked through the gate, past the police liveried Camero, Nissan Z350 and Polaris ATV through to the entrance hall. I'd been here before and thought I knew where to go. The place was empty apart from two tea boys.
"It closed two o'clock" one of them helpfully explained.
Just as I turned to leave, crestfallen, an Arabic guy walked in who was holding exactly the same bit of paper as me. He had a quick fire conversation with one of the tea boys in Arabic and told me to follow him. Up stairs, through corridors and past empty desks and kiosks we found a security guard, he directed us down some stairs, along a corridor , out of the building, into another one, along a corridor to an office where a bloke in a dish-dash was smoking and talking on his iPhone. The Arabic guy that led me there spoke with him for a few minutes, he got his form stamped and scribbled on then left. I greeted the officer and he looked at my form, stamped it, scribbled on it and handed it back to me with flourish.
"Shukran" I said, "So I can give this to my insurance company?"
"No" he replied, "come back in two days."