The other day, I noticed that the registration on my jeep expired last week. That was when I recalled how renewing my vehicle registration was on my list of things to do within a couple of days of returning from the States. Back in June it seemed so far away. Also, I wasn't considering the hassle that renewing my registration would be during Ramadan.
After living in Abu Dhabi for just over a year, I've come to expect that I'll have to make a few trips any time I want to do anything official like getting an I.D., bank account, or registering for something. Tonight, I wasn't disappointed. In the U.S. or Japan, you can count on being able to look at a website or call ahead to find things like hours of operation or documents needed. Fortunately, institutions in the U.A.E. have progressed beyond that and no longer feel the need to stick to such rigid methods of passing along information.
Anytime something needs to be done, I assume that I'll need at least one reconnaissance mission to find out the real hours of operation or times I can come back when I won't have to wait for three hours. Sometimes there will be the document that I need that wasn't listed on the website. Looking at the website can be marginally helpful and calling while expecting someone to answer is laughable. During Ramadan when working hours are completely different, count on the usual hours to be the exact opposite of normal hours.
Since most Ramadan hours involve the evening when people have eaten and had something to drink so they aren't sleepy, hungry and dehydrated. The website said they were open until 9:00 pm so I thought maybe they would be open later. I wasn't surprised to see that when I got there at 8:20, they were closed and there were very few cars there. Suddenly, within a minute of arriving, about three or four cars got in line behind me to get their cars checked out. I must've happened to arrive just as the call to prayer was finishing. Within minutes, the place was packed. People around me said that the Vehicle Registration Center would likely open after prayer around 9:30, about an hour later. I figured I would wait.
Five minutes later, the manager of the center drove up and told everyone to go home and come back tomorrow between 8:30a m and 4:00 pm. I waited around to see if anything happened anyway but everyone else started to go. Later on someone was telling me that they would be open until 6:00 pm, but I wouldn't count on it. I think that means they'll be open tomorrow until they feel like closing.