Welcome to my blog. I write about fitting in, sticking out, and missing the motherland as a serial foreigner.

Day of reckoning

Today was the day our car registration expired. By some miracle, we'd managed to get our Emirates IDs and take out a new car insurance policy for the next year, just in time. It only took fifteen minutes (!!!!!!!!!!!) and 440 dirhams to walk out the door of Tasjeel with our new car registration. I still can't believe it was that easy.

The reason I called this post a day of reckoning is because the traffic fine system here is tied to your registration. You can rack up as many tickets as you want during the year, but when it comes time to renew your registration, you will have to pay them. Every once in a while they give a half-off amnesty for the fines but some people still pay a lot because of the ubiquitous automatic speeding cameras that are on all the freeways here.

In theory, you can check online to see what your fines are so there aren't any huge surprises when you show up at Tasjeel, but I knew that I wouldn't breathe easy until an actual employee told me the fine total. I felt so happy today when they said I only had a 50 dhs fine from when we had some trouble topping up our Salik toll gate tag a few months ago. I had thought I got flashed by a speeding camera last spring, and there was also the matter of when a Sharjah police officer took down my license plate number as I was fending for our lives in some particularly insane Sharjah traffic vortex over the summer. Apparently, neither of those things mattered because the 50 dhs Salik fee was all there was. Woohoo!

The best part is that now I know for sure there aren't any speeding cameras on Immigration Road toward downtown Sharjah. It's a new road, and there are signs saying that speed is controlled by radar, and the speed limit is a ridiculously low 60kph, but I've never seen a speed camera so I always go about 100kph (and so do my fellow motorists). I guess today was proof that there aren't any speed cameras there...for now.

So long, car registration process and speeding ticket (non-)surprises. Until next year! 

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