As usual I had not been planning our holiday in time. Well we knew we were going down to Kampala but I had not booked the flights. Normally it was not a problem as the flights did not use to be full in June.
I was trying to get the bookings done online but the system kept refusing to do the final booking. Each time I re-tried the price would have gone up another 200 Dirhams.
Over the weekend we had been shopping for stuff we needed but for some reason neither the MasterCard nor the VISA card was working. I knew we had money so there should not be any problem but it did not matter were we went the cards were rejected. I saw other people shopping having the same problem. In the end I had 220 USD in cash left.
Being in Dubai this was a major problem.. Everywhere you go it is always possible to pay with cards so carrying cash was not normal.
Sunday morning I went to DNATA, while my wife was sleeping in, as we still had no bookings. I figured I could get a seat with my gold card and she already had her ticket but no seat.
I arrived at DNATA around 1030. Being in shorts and a T-shirt I was already casual enough :-) The T-shirt being black saying "I am not paid enough to be nice to you". I like T-shirts that are a bit sarcastic every now and then ;-)
It finally came to my turn and the girl at the travel desk start finding us some seats.
"Well Sir. You will have to wait 2 weeks before we can get you a seat." she says. What??? I need to fly sooner than that.. what about in business class.
Well Sir. it looks full but there are two seats on today's flight..
And today's flight is at 1430 so are you sure you can make it to the airport in that time. I said if you can book it fast and let me get back home right now then no problem. It was now 1130 already.
OK sir that will be 210 USD for the taxes and upgrade taxes. Again I tried to pay with the credit cards but they are still being rejected. Sir you will have to go and pay cash at the other counter.
I run over to the other counter and pull out 200 USD and then pay the rest in Dirhams. Leaving 10 USD only in the pocket....
I run back and it takes a while before the tickets are written out. At 1200 I finally run out of the place and start driving home. We live about 20 minutes away from DNATA office and of course about 40 minutes away from the airport. I call my wife "Honey we are flying in 2 and a half hours if not we have to wait 2 weeks, please pack asap I am home in a few minutes."What ? you must be mad" she says. "Well what to do We cant stay 2 more weeks" I counter. She agrees and I continue flying down sheik Zayed Road. Arriving home just before 1230. She was just about ready with all the bags and we pack them into the car. I did not even have time to change as we have to get to the airport within the next 30 minutes. Again we fly down Sheikh Zayed road and manage to get to the airport just after 1300. I drop her and the bags at the entrance and then find a parking for the car. We get our boarding passes and run through the airport. Seems I am always running in airports for some reason!
Pew, we get on board the plane and finally relax. The air hostesses are looking strange at me each time they pass. I wonder what is going on then I realize that I still have the T-shirt with the nice print on :-) Next time one of the girls serve me a drink I tell them the T-shirt is there to remind me I need to be nice to people. I can hear them discussing and having a laugh in the galley.
We arrive in Uganda and luckily we have someone meeting us as we would not even be able to pay a taxi to get back home.
It took another 3 days before the cards started working and then we managed to have a good holiday.
On my return back in Dubai I get out to the parking and of course the parking ticket were up to about 300 USD. I drive to the exit and try to pay. "Sorry sir we don't take credit cards!" - What?? all places in Dubai take cards. "No sir not us!"
I grab my 300 USD and ask the guy to accept dollars as I have no Dirhams yet. The guy reluctantly accept them, of course at a bad rate.
There simply is no win situation.