I left the travel agent empty handed on the first visit because despite the notice on the door to the ladies section stating the opening hours of 9am – 9pm, they actually closed at 3pm during Ramadan and didn’t open again until 9pm that night. I made a second trip the next morning and went through the standard process of booking a flight to Melbourne:
I present a flight voucher from KSU for a ticket to Canberra, I explain that I want to fly to Melbourne instead, travel agent spends 30 minutes trying to determine if a flight to Melbourne will be cheaper (it is), I present a list of the dates and times I specifically want to fly, travel agent books with the right carrier but wrong times, I insist that flights be changed to the ones I want, travel agent expresses concern with long stopover in Dubai, I explain the advantages of direct flights to Melbourne as opposed to stopovers in Asia, travel agent sits in confused silence but eventually relents to my demands.
This went fairly smoothly but in order to complete the booking I had to go and see a man in the main building for authorisation of the purchase. I went to the area where I was told the man would be located and asked the first person I saw if he could assist me in finding him. This man took my paperwork and started working on it, printing out new papers, stamping and signing things for the next 10 minutes until he finally handed back my papers and informed me that the man I needed was not here right now and would be arriving in about two, or maybe three, hours. Having no desire to wait around, I decided my best bet was to come back the next day when they opened.
The next morning I arrived early and sat waiting for the man arrive. Half an hour later and the man I need to speak to has not arrived so the man I spoke to the day before decides to send me over to another person to get the approval. That man isn’t in his office either so I get directed to the ticket office, where I hand over my forms to another man to look at. He taps away at his computer for 10 minutes and proceeds to explain to me in a very thick accent something about refunds. Alarmed, I ask whether my ticket has been booked and he again tries to give me some spiel about KSU and refunds and ticket prices, which makes absolutely no sense. He passes me another sheet of paper, labelled as a refund request, and sends me over to the refund counter. Confused and rather concerned I head to the refund counter and pass over the paperwork I have been given. He signs it, and then I sign it, and then he asks me to pay him 15 SR. I lose my temper.
Fortunately, the refunds desk was located right next to the supervisor’s office so my ranting and raving was quickly attended to by the manager on duty. He invited me into his office where he looked up my details and provided me with an explanation of what was going on. For some reason the booking I had made the day before had been cancelled and the thickly accented man had re-booked my flight for me. The price of the flight had come in at 4715 SR, 15 SR over a previously undisclosed price limit for my flight and therefore, I was required to pay the difference. Since I was never informed about a limit for a “complimentary” flight, I continued to rant and rave about being forced to pay extra until the excess charge miraculously disappeared off my bill. My ticket was promptly re-issued (proceeding through the standard booking process I mentioned above) and the supervisor ensured everything was in order so I could finally leave with a valid ticket home to Australia. I had decided it would be wise to delay my departure until mid-September to ensure that I would not have to stress about my impending flight if there was some reason for a delay in my clearance being approved. As it turned out, I did need all that extra time.
All that was remaining for my exit visa paperwork was the letter from the university stating the end date of my contract. I visited the ladies’ section of the KSU administration building and was told that I should have received this paperwork from the College of Medicine. After explaining that while my contract is through the college I have no other contact with them I was asked to wait while some calls were made and the paperwork was faxed over to me. Finally I was ready to submit all the documents for my visa.