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Wednesday, May 11, 2011

Snake oil salesman or just old school?

Now that the bikes are in Doha, we now face a new challenge of getting a bike license and registration plates. Getting the bike license was simple enough but it involved paying a small fee of QR 200. The registration of the bikes was a lot more comical.

All the forms were in arabic so in the past, we got someone from T's office to fill them in for us as a favour. Only recently, we found out that there was a simpler way of getting things done. Whenever we went to the traffic police, we were always swamped by men offering "help" with our forms. These guys operate out of a small building outside the traffic police. With a couple of old typewriters and a photocopier machine, you could get them to fill out the forms for a small fee about QR50 negotiable of course.

 This kind looking old man started working on our forms. Who knows what he actually filled in the forms but that's the risk one takes I guess.

Then came the question of getting insurance as the police said we needed to buy some before we could get the bikes registered. This old man finished typing, looked up and offered us some insurance! How handy!

He was serious apparently.

His mate had a stash of insurance policies in his rickety drawer and would sell us some for QR 400.

This is his mate with the insurance. During the conversation with T, he was rocking back and forth on his plastic chair, with his bare feet tapping on the floor. When we commented that 400 sounds awfully expensive for insurance from who again? He slammed shut his drawer, sneered and said that it was the same everywhere.

T shrugged his shoulders and dutifully paid the 400. Insurance from the back streets of Doha.

Life cannot get funnier.

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