Thankfully, I don't have to deal with ministries and governmental offices very much. But a couple of weeks ago, I had to contact the ministry of health for some information, and it wasn't exactly the most helpful experience I've ever had.
Here's how the story unravels:
1) I find the phone number of the PR department of the ministry of health in Abu Dhabi. I give them a call. Someone picks up. I ask for the information I needed, he tells me I need to contact a division of the ministry in Dubai, and gives me the name of the person who could help me out. Okay...doesn't sound so bad. I ask for a phone number in Dubai, but the PR person in Abu Dhabi does not have it. Hmm. Isn't he supposed to know the number?
2) Next, I try to find the phone number of the person whose name I have. So I call 181 (which now became 199 by the way), and they give me the ministry's number here in Dubai. So I call...no answer. Call again...no answer. Call a third time...no answer. Call 199 again to ask for the number, to make sure I got it right. They give me the same number again. I call again...and just as I was about to hang up, a lady picks up. Success!
3) Or so I thought. I try to explain to the lady what I'm looking for...as I'm babbling away, I realise that she's put me on hold...I was on hold, while I was babbling away!!!! Like an idiot! So I wait, and wait, and wait....and waaaaaaaaaaaaaaaiiit....
4) I hang up, thinking that she's forgotten about me. I call again. Another lady picks up, she tells me she's transferring my call to the right department. As she's transferring me, the line cuts.
5) I call again, a lady picks up (is it the first one, the second one, another one? I'll never know), she tells me I need to call another department. I ask her if she has the number, she mumbles something then transfers my call. I wait. And wait. And wait. Finally someone picks up. I ask for the information again. She tells me I have the wrong department and transfers my call again.
6) So I get transferred for the....I don't know, I've lost track of how many times I've been transferred already. I wait. And wait. And wait. A man picks up. Tells me I have the wrong department, I should call another department. I ask for the phone number, he says he doesn't have it. I ask for the number of the person whose name the Abu Dhabi office gave me, luckily, the man has that person's mobile number. Okay. I'm getting somewhere here. My wild goose chase was finally leading me somewhere.
7) I call the person's mobile twice. No answer.
And that is where I'm at. Ten phone calls later, and I still don't have the information I need. I'll try again tomorrow. Wish me luck!