Packing up during the last few weeks before I left got back got interesting when I had to deal with my car. Following up reflecting on the time in Bahrain, next it was time to pack up and head back.
Returning to the United States
Moving with the government sounds like an easy enough idea, but the process is a mess. Absolute mess. Anyone who has followed this blog for the past year and half knows that I haven’t moved often through my life, and in fact the most I have moved has been over the past two years or so.
Upon getting the word in September that I was promoted and would be coming to Rhode Island, I had approximately 60 days to report. The first incident that messed things up was my car. One of my rear wheels blew up. Not the rubber part, the actual wheel. Somehow a hole got blown into the metal part of the wheel. I was stuck on the side of the road changing the tire of my car in shorts and flip flops, and not to mention it was pretty hot with high humidity.
So now on top of scheduling the pack out of my villa, saying good bye to all those I had met and gotten close to, I had to deal with my car. In the United States, I would call the insurance company, get directions to the garage, pick up a rental car which would be covered by insurance, then wait for the work to be completed. In Bahrain? NOPE. I notified the insurance company, and they made me get a police report. Now, going and filing a police report is easy, right? NOPE. It took me almost 2 days to get it done. The first time I went, the traffic police station was full and I wasn’t going to be able to spend the whole day waiting in line, so the I decided to get there first thing the next morning.
This time, it was about 45 minutes of waiting until I realized that they did have a number taking system and I finally took a number. It was actually a piece of paper with 1-45 on it and they tore off squares. I realized this when someone came in after me and walked up to one of the desks, said something in Arabic, and was passed a number. The traffic office is about twice the size of a doctor’s office with no A/C, and 3 desks. The idea is that you go to one desk, explain the incident, then another guy looks at your vehicle. Then you come back, provide some more information, and then wait for the next desk to open. You go to that guy, he enters the information into the computer, and takes a payment of 20bd ($53) and then lets you go.
Finally my number was called and I explained the incident to the officer. He did not quite understand why I needed a report, but I told him insurance needed it. He talked to someone else, some other conversations, and he finally started the process. I took him out to my car, we checked out my wheel, and then went back inside to finish up. I was then passed off to the next guy where I would make my payment. Despite having the VISA/MASTERCARD logo on the window, they only took cash. I of course did not have any dinar on me, so I had to run back to the ATM on base to get cash. The guy tells me to come right back to his desk and he will be there all day long. Just pay and I am done.
Another hour or so later and I am back at the traffic station. Problem. All three people at the desks are different. I walked up to the 3rd desk, gave the guy my name, and told him I needed to pay and leave. He didn’t quite understand so told me to wait. I made sure I took another number and waited awhile until I was called up again. I explained to this guy I was just there and he got the report that was started. He looked it over and then started to ask all the questions over again. PERFECT.
As this guy starts asking questions, some other dude comes in, with a police officer friend in tow. This officer talks to the guy I was talking to, and then I was asked to go back and have a seat. I realize my mistake…I had not gotten one of my police officer friends to help me handle this issue. The officer and his friend, along with the person he got into an accident with, all get pushed to the front of the line ahead of everyone there. It took me another hour or two to get back up to the desk where the guy again wanted to see y vehicle and asked me more questions. After that got done, more waiting, and I finally got to pay. Wasted two days.
Now to the insurance…I took my new police report to the insurance company and started this process. They took my information and the report and authorized me to get a rental car for 8 days. No more. I told them I wanted to take my car to the Ford dealership in Sitra, which is a good 20 minutes plus away from my villa. It is not anywhere to drive. The guy said yes, call the phone number, which was the Ford dealership, and they’d take care of it. Easy enough, so I drove to the Ford dealership and explained the situation, but they didn’t have time to check it out and asked that I come back the next morning at 10 am. Sounds good, so I came back the next day. They take the car and ask me for a 60bd ($160) just to open a file. Discussing this, I tell them no, and they do agree not to charge to open a file. Now this is JUST TO OPEN THE FILE!
The mechanic tells me that he cannot look at it right then, and asked me to leave it there, and that he would contact the insurance company and have the work started. Now I am stuck. No ride to get back home, and it was the middle of the day. Ford didn’t have anyone that could drive me, and the insurance company told me “don’t you have someone to pick you up?” Really. That was the answer. Luckily enough, I had a couple friends who were getting off work soon and heading back my way. They picked me up a little while later and I was able to get my rental car.
The next day I didn’t hear from the dealership until almost 5 pm and they gave me the estimate. Now, it was up to me to call the insurance company and have their adjuster to the garage and confirm the estimate and okay them to start the work. I called the insurance company and they would send someone over there and call me back. I called the next day and my car was “on the list.” Later that day no word, and same the next day. I called the dealership and they said they had not heard anything about the adjuster coming by. I went to the insurance company and they called the garage to check. The garage said they did not have my car. PERFECT.
The insurance person tells me that I took it to the wrong garage. I specifically told him I wanted to take it to Ford because it was a new car and I wanted their mechanics to work on it. He remembered, but then told me I was to take it to the Nissan garage. After awhile I found out that it was the same company who owned both garages, but nobody knew where the garage was. The problem was this…I took the car to Y,K. Moayyed Ford, and I was supposed to Al Moayyed garage. I don’t know how I got so mixed up. Now I had to get my car from Ford to the other garage. Insurance wouldn’t help. Even the Ford guy didn’t understand why this was happening. And the insurance adjuster would not go to Ford to look at the car, he would only go to the garage. Thankfully, the mechanic at Ford helped get the car over to the garage. However, because of this my rental days were running out and now insurance would not extend it. PERFECT.
Now the garage has the car and the adjuster takes a look at it. They figure out the work that needs to get done as well as parts. Great, when will it be done? Well, parts won’t be there for almost six to eight weeks. I was due to report to my new assignment in about four weeks. Wasn’t going to happen. I decided I would go pick up my car and just get the work done when I got back to the states. It turns out the “garage” was in some maze of a weird little neighborhood that was quite and experience. I managed to call the insurance company and get them to pay me out for the work that was to be done on my car. They agreed to do so, and it took another whole day to literally drive across the country and sign paperwork, and then pick up the check. Of course this was not all done in one office. The next day, I tried to cash the check at the dinar exchange on base. NOPE. It had to be done at the bank it was issued. That sucked b/c it was just before the weekend and I was leaving on Saturday. PERFECT.
In between all of that craziness, I had my good byes with friends, packed up my villa, played the last few games of hockey, and wondered what my next adventure was gong to be like.
After 14 months, it was time to head back to the U.S.
Coming back…that’s next.
Thanks for reading!