Wednesday, April 19, 2006

How much is summed up in that one word?
When the locals say "inshallah", it roughly translates to "God willing." They use it when they make appointments (as in "I'll be there at 3pm, God willing"). They use it for nearly anything. It certainly applies to trying to accomplish anything here.
Two days ago, I snagged the car's bumper on a rusty post while exiting a souq. The damage is minimal and can be fixed easily, but in Doha, you have to get a police report for any vehicle damage before it's allowed to be repaired. Yes, I had to go to the police station to get a police report because I snagged a bumper on a darned rusty post. INSHALLAH!
Luckily, I was with a good friend, who helped me through the insanity of it all. We drove to the traffic police straight away. It was 11:30am. Businesses close down from noon to four, so I only had a little time. I called ahead and they said to come, so I went. We parked the car, and I went inside. The officer told me (in limited English) to park the car out back and wait. So we moved the car and waited. And waited. And waited. (thank goodness Ellie was sleeping!) Finally, my friend went in search of a restroom. When she came out, she met a policeman and asked him about what we should do next. He told her that they weren't writing any more reports for the day and we should come back tomorrow. ARGH!
I've been feeling a bit stressed, so I went to him near tears, explained I had a baby in the car... He relented, told us to xerox all of our documents (license, registration, residency card) quickly and bring it to him. Then he said he would write the report and we could pick it up in the morning. Okay. Done.
I went back yesterday morning, but he wasn't there. Another policeman was. I waited for about an hour in a hot room full of foreign men who don't believe in deodorant while that policeman ignored me. Finally, a very nice Qatari man in a dish-dasha asked in wonderful English if I had been helped. I said no, and he started arguing with the policeman on my behalf. The policeman made this nice Qatari man act as translator, speaking to him in Arabic and refusing to attempt English. At last, he relented and said he'd look for the report. The Qatari man went outside, and the policeman went back to dealing with other people in Arabic. After about fifteen minutes, the Qatari man came back, saw me sitting there, and resumed the which point the policeman told him that I should just come back tomorrow. ARGH again!
This morning, Markus came with me. Having a man there works wonders for getting someone to pay attention to you! Also, the policeman from the first day was there (as was loser guy from yesterday). They attended to us right away. Here's the best part. When the nice policeman had trouble understanding the nature of my accident (because his English was limited), he had to ask the guy from yesterday...who sheepishly had to be the translator! THE SAME GUY WHO ACTED LIKE HE DIDN'T SPEAK ENGLISH YESTERDAY SO HE WOULDN'T HAVE TO HELP ME WAS THE TRANSLATOR THIS MORNING! Oy.

A stupid mistake turned three day hassle with Doha police. Get a police report for insurance, my fanny. Inshallah!

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