Life Lessons

Visa Run Fun

My last article was about 4 ways to renew a UAE Visa. I didn’t mention how I made the Oman border visa run fun.

I didn’t do so bad for a not so young gal. Even in my twenties when I tried to hang at the club, my friends had to rescue me from embarrassing myself by falling asleep. What can I say, a girl needs her beauty rest.

Honestly, I was delving back into a lackadaisical state, being a homebody instead of living life. It is all too common for me. Living in Atlanta, (GA) the majority of the time I telecommuted. I often got caught up in not leaving my abode for days at a time.

Plus the fact, we don’t have a car and it’s 40 DHS (approximately $11 each way) to Fujairah. I’m not the one to nickel and dime myself into poverty. It’s similar to the latte factor. The cost adds up.

In the grand scheme of things, once I’m outside, I’m having the time of my life. I’m meeting new people, eating something delicious, or having an enjoyable experience.

Dating My Artist Within

I’m reading The Artist Way by Julia Cameron. Currently, I’m on week 11. I’m expecting an epiphany soon. It’s a 12-week workbook to help all types of artists with creative blocks. A good read and mental exercise. There are two activities that are essential for the completion of the book: 1) write morning pages every day – journal 3 pages of whatever is on your mind 2) have a weekly artist date with yourself – something you enjoy doing. Frankly, I’ve been a bad courter and standing my inner artist up on multiple occasions. So I decided to make it up to her by making the visa run fun to Oman border. 

I enjoy dancing a lot (and so does my artist child), especially to afrobeats and dancehall music. We (my artist child and I) feel so free dancing to these genres of music. The one club that played this type of music in Fujairah recently closed down and turned into a Russian club (I think). The closest one to us now is in Dubai. Conveniently located minutes from the Union Station, where the Fujairah to Dubai bus ends. I consider this to be a good omen.

My 30-day visa on arrival was due to expire on Tuesday, November 19. I scheduled my border run to Oman on Sunday, November 17. (Times are approximate).

Artist Date in Progress

3:00 PM – I woke up from a 2-hour nap. Before leaving home, I packed toothpaste, toothbrush, deodorant, body-size scarf (to cover up on the bus), and my travel eye mask plus some books and my laptop. It was going to be a long night and the next day (I expected). In all honesty, I thought it was going to be a six-hour drive each way. I had the city of Muscat in mind. Instead of the Oman border. Therefore, I wanted to make the trip as comfortable as possible.

5:00 PM – I attended Daniel’s football (soccer) game. Exemplifying a supportive wife.

Daniel's game
Daniel defending his goalpost

7:30 PM – I caught a ride with one of Daniel’s teammates from Masafi Sports & Cultural Centre to Fujairah City Centre (the mall). Side note: The bus can be caught in Masafi if there is sufficient fare on your RTA (Roads & Transport Authority) card. This wasn’t the case for me.

8:00 PM – At Fujairah City Centre, I purchased wipes and thick socks. I forgot to pack my knee-high socks. 

All Roads Lead To Dubai

9:45 PM – I caught the last bus from Fujairah to Dubai on Saturday, November 16. It was a bit chilly on the bus. Immediately, I put on my newly purchased socks and covered up with my body-size scarf. I attempted to read a little but I was feeling sleepy. So I put on my eye mask and reclined my seat. The rest is history.

11:45 PM – I slept like a baby because I didn’t wake up until the bus driver yelled “final stop.” The bus had arrived at Union Station in Dubai. It was a great power nap.

Before The Club

11:50 PM – I walked 4 minutes to Al Ghurair Centre (a mall) to use the restroom and brush my teeth.

12:15 PM – I ordered a Grande Caramel Macchiato from Starbucks until 12:30 pm then people watched on the patio until closing time at 1 AM.

Me drinking starbucks
Young black woman drinking Starbucks coffee

1:00 AM – I made my way to the club. Hopefully, I would stumble upon a typist shop to print out the Oman visa. Wishful thinking. Unfortunately, no luck (yet) with printing out the Oman visa. Instead, I located Denny’s restaurant I planned to visit later that morning. Wondering why I didn’t make it to the club after walking for some time. A taxi driver saw me wandering and pointed me in the right direction. Another side note: Dubai is really safe for a female traveling alone. 

2:00 AM – I met Dady boy (that’s the name he gave me. LOL!). He said hello in several languages before I realized he was talking to me. I have a special admiration for polyglots. He told me his father is from Mauritania (a northwest African country I never heard of before meeting him). His mother is an Emirate. A very peculiar bloodline. He proudly became my personal photographer and accompanied me to the club. He kept asking me why my marriage didn’t come with me. LOL! I suspect he meant my husband.

In The Club

The club was located in the Fortune Hotel Deira lobby. The bouncer would not allow me to bring my backpack inside. Relieved because my backpack was heavy. As always, I overpacked. I removed my wallet. The bouncer issued me a ticket with a number. My backpack was placed in what appeared to be a coatroom. The bouncers were very professional. Admittance was free. The patrons of the club were a mixed crowd.

The DJs were on point. They not only played afrobeats and dancehall but R&B as well as hip-hop. We made our way to the bar. Dady boy was generous and bought me a drink. He entertained me for an hour or so on the dance floor before he went on his way. 

The DJ started to play some hip-hop and R&B. I made my way back to the dancefloor. A British Nigerian named Sixbert joined me. I’m guessing by his accent. He did a lot of talking. I hear some of you already (those of you that know me), thinking “talk about the pot calling the kettle black.” LOL!

His dance moves revealed he enjoyed dancing more than me and my artist child. I was a bit embarrassed he knew the lyrics to ALL the American songs and I didn’t. LOL! He even took the time to teach me some African moves. We danced until the lights came on. It goes without saying I had a B-L-A-S-T.

After The Club

4 AM – Walking off the adrenaline from the club and dreaming of the Grand Slam at Denny’s, I made my way there. In actuality, I ordered the Lumberjack Slam because I wanted pancakes too. My non-vegetarian/cheat meal for the week. I took a seat inside.

Moments later, an Algerian male and female came inside the restaurant. The word “Ant-boring” was printed on the female’s shirt. I complimented her on the shirt. They asked me to join them for breakfast. I accepted. 

Probably an hour and a half later, we were still enjoying our entrees and talking. The female did not speak English. Noor (the male) and I had different political views which made the conversation even more engaging. I can appreciate differences in opinion. He must have really enjoyed the conversation too because he took care of my bill.

New Friends at Denny's
After my night at the club, I met some new friends in Denny’s

5:30 AM – Noor escorted his female companion home (it was on the way to the train station) and me to the Union Station. Once inside the train station, I found the women’s restroom. I brushed my teeth and freshened up with the wipes I purchased earlier.

I took the next metro to Dubai Marina Mall. It was a 30-minute train ride to JMAAC station. I got a quick cat nap standing up during the ride. I’m glad I didn’t sit down. I probably would have missed my stop.

It was a 10-minute walk from the station to the mall. Once again, I went in the wrong direction so it took me a while to make it to the mall. My sense of direction can be off at times.

Run For The Border

7:20 AM – I finally made it to the Dubai Marina Mall. I still had to print my Oman visa before 8:25 AM. Once inside, I asked the security where I could print something. He directed me to the Address Hotel which connected to the mall. 

A beautiful hotel, if I may add. The concierge directed me to the business center on the second floor. It was so easy to access wifi, use the computer, and print out the visa especially for a non-guest of the hotel. Madrif at the business desk ended up giving me the visa printout in exchange for a review on trip advisor.

It’s turned out to be a generous night and day. I think my artist child is trying to tell me something…..schedule regular artist’s dates.

8:15 AM – I went to use the lady’s restroom with less than 10 minutes to spare. A tan-colored soccer mom looking van pulled up. The van was at full capacity. Due to the fact, I pulled an all-nighter (sort of)…, I was prepared to sleep once my nyash (rear) hit the seat. I was given the perfect seat, first row behind the front passenger seat. Once again, I removed my socks, scarf, night mask from my backpack, this time popping some ibuprofen and I went to sleep.

10:30 AM – We made it to the UAE border (it seemed like in no time) and went through the necessary procedures to cross the border. No photography was allowed at the border. Once at the Oman border, I went to the lady’s restroom and met Anna from Ukraine. She actually sat next to me in the van. On the return trip, Anna and I talked all the way back to Dubai Marina Mall. She had just taken a three-week English course and spoke English quite well. We talked about traveling (she’s been to a fair share of countries), our husbands, our UAE experience, and finding employment in the UAE.

It Was Finished

12:30 PM – We made it back to the Dubai Marina Mall. We said our good-byes. Personally, I was not ready to return to Masafi. I walked around the mall. I did some window shopping and eventually purchased a shirt and a face cleaner from Rituals. My new go-to place for my skincare needs. I discovered this gem while in Paris this summer. Afterward, I spent some time sitting around the marina, journaling, and reflecting on my life. I do that a lot, reflecting that is.

2:30 PM – I headed back to JMAAC station. I made it to Union Station 1 minute before the 3:30 PM bus was scheduled to depart. If I missed that bus, the next bus didn’t come until 5 PM. You know the drill. I took my socks, scarf, and eye mask out one last time to take advantage of some shut-eye.

5:30 PM – I made it back to Masafi. Daniel had dinner waiting for me. Who has the best husband? Both hands raised. I do.

Solo Scheduled FUN

Eleven months later, we have finally found an economic alternative to renew my visa. Simultaneously making the visa run fun. If you couldn’t tell, I had a ball while doing it. A monthly trip to Dubai would be a perfect outing for my artist child. Until Daniel signs with a better team or I get a job, whichever comes first.

The experience was like a caterpillar being released from its cocoon that finally morphed into a butterfly. The nightlife, the scenery, the people, the entire experience liberated me. Visa Run Fun!

Words Of Advice

If you’re interested in planning your own visa run fun similar to mine:

  • wear supportive shoes. It was too much walking for flat casual slippers.
  • pack light. Leave physical books and laptops at home. Every opportunity to sit will be used as a sleeping window. 
  • load your RTA card in advance especially if you plan to catch the bus in an area that does not have an RTA office.

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