Thursday, June 07, 2012

Days 200 and 201, Saturday, 2nd, and Sunday, 3rd June, 2012

Getting on with my story, I spent the next day, Saturday as well as the following night and the next 1/2 day in T'aif. The reason was to visit the Muderiya (Health Directorate) to return my passport and pick up my Iqama and to conduct some financial transactions on Saturday, and to coordinate with the Al Muweh liaison officer Mr. Ali to receive back the amount of HRA deposited with the Cashier by him on the eve of my departure from KSA a month ago, on Sunday. What else did I do? Well, I visited the T'aif's Heart Mall to spend some hours there on Saturday, I ate heartily all my meals at the Asian restaurant located near my hotel, I had both days' breakfast at the Thara Restaurant next to my hotel, I made a few essential purchases at Panda Department stores, I explored both the Shubra and the Abu Baker streets, and I slept and relaxed for two nights. 

During these two days, I also assimilated a lot of information on how to navigate one's way through the mechanism that is part of the officialdom in the Health Directorate. One has to visit nearly 5-6 people/departments before the paper that is essential for one's return to the Kingdom is ready. One has to try and communicate in Arabic (such as my knowledge of it is) with several officials before you get their signatures on the paper you hand over to them. One has to do a lot of walking and climbing up and down their two storeys of offices (most confusing to do this as all offices look alike), while remaining aware all the time that there is no cafeteria nearby to sate your hunger or slake your thirst. One has to travel across the city to keep going back to their offices located on Garwa street ... almost 4-5 km away from the city's centre that is the Gazzaz Mall. To their credit,I must point out that once I had produced the receipt of the payment made by me via Mr. Ali, the officer in the Cashier department retrieved a brown envelope from a well-organised safe and handed over the cash to me within 2 minutes.

The food I had in the Asian restaurant was wholesome, sometimes a little too oily, but always tasty. Hence I parcelled some of the items when I left T'aif to carry them back with me to Al Muwayh. What did I have? Well, I had a wheat porridge (Harees, they call it) on Friday evening, a kheema on Saturday morning, a dal on Saturday evening and a mutton curry on Sunday morning. By the third meal, all the waiters and the cashier/manager knew me well enough to attend to me more solicitously than before. I was offered an extra sweet dish, prompt service and a smile whenever I returned for the meal. It did seem like a shame that my fourth meal was to be my last meal for the time being. 

On Sunday evening, I bade good-bye to the hotel and T'aif and returned in a private taxi to Al Muwayh, just as I got calls from the Al Muwayh director to return by the evening as my colleague Dr. Yasser was getting ready to go to T'aif to be a part of a medical training course that would commence on the next day, i.e. Monday. I arrived in Al Muwayh at about half past five, and immediately went on call for today as well as the rest of the week. Thankfully, though, I did not receive any emergency calls that night and was able to unpack and relax in peace.

1 comment:

Holly Jahangiri said...

It sounds like a lot of red tape to go through! Still, you seem to adjust well wherever you are, and you have a knack for getting along well with others. That helps, eh, if only to get better service at dinner! ;)