Wednesday, 20 February 2008

Stranded in the Desert

My siblings and I, have a bit of a reputation for travel jinx's and mishaps. We're a well traveled bunch, but somehow a dark cloud seems to follow us around as soon as we set foot near an airport.

This latest chapter is very bizarre indeed. My brother had recently gone to Saudi Arabia for a contracting work assignment and involuntary detox. I mean, why pay for the Betty Ford clinic when YOU can get paid wads and detox at the same time. His work agency arranged for a 6 month multiple entry work visa. Having spent just over a month working there, he was planning to travel back to Europe for 2 weeks and then return to work in Saudi.

He checked in for his flight and proceeded to immigration control where he was informed he'd over stayed his visa by 3 days - huh? Turns out that even though it is a 6 month multiple entry work visa - you must leave the country every 30 days.

Now here's the clanger. The visa is immediately revoked and he is told he CAN'T leave the country until everything has been sorted out. (whatever that means?) Apparently, he needs a letter from his visa sponsor humbly apologising AND he has to pay a fine. Fair enough that shouldn't take long right? WRONG! This was last Thursday and the Saudi weekend is Thursday-Friday (not Sat-Sun) and everything is closed and/or people are uncontactable. He's free to go back into the country, but needs the paperwork sorted before he can leave. He's now been stuck there for a week but hopefully close to getting out. If and when he does get out, he's unlikely to be let back in.

Ah.... but stuff like this wouldn't happen in the "civilized" world or would it? Well actually, yes it would. Attached is a recent news article detailing an Icelandic tourist who was detained at JFK in New York and was shackled hand and feet and interrogated for two days without being allowed to contact anyone. I understand the need for extra vigilance on our borders these days, but where do we draw the line between vigilance and abuse? ...and who's policing the police?


red February 21, 2008 5:23 am  

cripes. your poor brother. hope they sort the situation out soon.

Queen Of Clean February 21, 2008 8:33 am  

Oh dear, and I thought Irish red tape was the stickiest in the world!

Hope it all gets sorted out soonest.

Quickroute February 21, 2008 9:27 am  

Thanks Red and Queenie, good news, just got an email from him and he's Free at Last!

Manuel February 21, 2008 7:36 pm  

well you would poo yourself wouldn't you...crikey

Quickroute February 21, 2008 7:53 pm  

Manuel, no pooing in Saudi pls. Burping is a sign of appreciation for good food. Pooing, is somehow considered a sign of disrespect....go figure? Post that on your bathroom wall along with "employees must hands!"

Quickroute February 21, 2008 8:02 pm  

"wash hands" - note to self - learn to proof read!

Baino February 22, 2008 1:34 am  

Aww poor fella. I could never live in Saudi . . .all that tee totalling. Hope he's not driven to drink! *sips cold chardy*

Shaunj February 22, 2008 6:53 pm  

who's policing the American police? The ku klux klan. Bunch of fascist up starts..(the police I mean)

noel February 23, 2008 7:09 am  

i'm out and i'm free- cost 2000 euro and they were not nice about it. retoxing as fast as i can. drank one beer on the plane which knocked me out for 4 hours!

noel February 23, 2008 7:11 am  

i was going to do a blog of paddyinsa but it would be very short...

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