I have now lived in 6 countries other than the USA. Traveled in many more. Never ever before have I been illegal. Never ever before have I been without my beautiful blue passport. I do not even have an ID card right now.
When you enter the UAE, you are given a 30 day visa, not 90 in like say Panama. Mary Ann came in with a work visa, and she is good ’til the camels fly. But I had to enter as a visitor (they don’t say tourist here, it is a visitor visa). I had gone thru hoops back in the states to get paperwork so that I would qualify as a dependent. I have done all I can do.
Last week, before my 30 days were up, I planned on going top Oman for a day. Oman is basically right next door, and very cheap to get to. Unlike Panama, a Visa run does not require a 72 hour stay. Some people walk across the border, have lunch and walk back, good for another 30 days. I planned on flying from Sharjah which has a nice new Intl airport served by many airlines. It is the HQ of AirArabia. Air Arabia is the Middle Easts premiere discount airline. For a trivial amount I could have flown into Muscat.
I had it all planned out. I was going to arrive around 9 a.m. and take the 7 p.m. flight back to Sharjah. That would give me enough time to see a few things in Muscat (there are not more than a few to see anyway) and dip my toes in the Gulf of Oman, which is part of the Indian Ocean. If you do not count the “Southern Ocean” as a real ocean, then I will have wetted my toesies in all the worlds oceans, that being, North and South Atlantic and Pacific, and the Arctic. All I have left is the Indian ocean.
The university said that they were ready to process my passport with the immigration folks. Mary Ann preferred I do that instead of the visa run. So, with trembling hands and a troubled (even more than usual) mind, I turned over my passport to the University beauracracy. I NEVER give my passport to other people for more than a stamp and a scan.
They still have it. It has been a week. As of today I am as illegal as a Mexican migrant in Modesto. I am holed up in the hotel room. I feel like I swam the Rio Grande. If I run out of smokes I guess I will call room service.
There has been a lot of newspaper chatter about illegal copies of passports being made and used for nefarious purposes. Luckily I have a name that most nefarious aimed people would balk at traveling under, but I still worry.
If you see a newspaper story about (insert my name here) robbing the Dubai Diamond exchange, please correctly assume it is a zirconian (insert my name here). The real gem is sitting on my balcony reading a book.