It was a week that I was looking forward to, as I would be able to relax once again after a week of work in Al Muwayh. Dr. Yasser has been very cooperative of late, and he immediately signed my leave form. The only problem was that he wanted me back in Al Muwayh on Wednesday night as he wanted to go to Ta'if on Thursday morning.
I decided to make the best of the next few days. I left for Ta'if in the afternoon, reaching there on Monday evening. I took my usual room in Hotel Ahle Saif, which, as my readers might already know, is located right above the Asian restaurant in Aziziya area of Ta'if. It also has free, fast wireless for its guests. It is in close proximity to a Kerala restaurant known as the Thara restaurant, and is right opposite the Makkah/Jeddah taxi stand. It is close to Tahweel-Al-Rajhi, the service counter of the Al Rajhi bank which caters to thousands of non-Saudi men and women who wish to transfer money to their families in their home countries. It is also close to Babariya area (where you can purchase fresh meat and fish), Shubra (with all its myriad collections of shops that sell food, clothes, shoes, etc.), Abu Baker Siddiq St. (with its Vitamin Palace, electronics shops, clothes shops and what not). To top it all, the managers there know me well, and charge me a very reasonable lodging rate.
In the night, I ate dinner (mince meat with roti) at the Asian restaurant. Back in the hotel, I spent time blogging, playing Criminal Case on FB, facebooking, downloading some movies, and surfing the net). Slept late.
I went to the Muderiya the next morning, and by early afternoon, I was in possession of the muqafa of Dr. Narendra. I finally wired him the money by evening. A fruitfully spent day. However, some knots are still left to be untangled. Let's see how we can retrieve some more of his money from the Ministry of Health. In the evening, I met up with Dr. Asadullah who is a friend, and hails from Pakistan. He took me to a car mechanic by the name of Choudhary Shabbir, who organised and repaired some of the glaring problems in my car. He also offered to take Dr. Asad and me to a new place to eat. Our original plan was to eat Chinese food, but when we reached the place where the restaurant is located, we discovered that it was closed for renovation.
The change of plan then took us to "Kababjee" a Saudi-owned, Turkish managed place on Shahar St. The photos below are from there. As you can see, this place makes no bones about the fact that they sell meat. Raw skinned carcasses of goats adorn the display windows!
|Self with the companions enjoying a mixed tandoori platter with rice|
|The main sign-board of the Kababjee restaurant|
|Those are goat/lamb carcasses hanging in the display|
|The interior with tables on one side and the serving area on the other.|
|Mr Shabir Choudhary, whose treat it was|
What we ordered was a rice and mixed platter of kababs for four. However, the quantity was too much, and we could only finish half of the food served on the plate. As a side dish, we ordered some mince-mutton samosas, and these were very delicious. Service was great, and the food arrived piping hot. Of the platter, the chicken seekh and the lamb seekh were both fantastic. The tandoori chicken pieces and the mutton pieces were average.
The next morning, I relaxed, visiting Panda (Ta'if's Heart Mall) and enjoyed window shopping, eating snacks at Al Baik, etc. In the afternoon, Dr. Yasser called up to inform me that his plan to go to Ta'if on Thursday had been cancelled and therefore I was free to stay longer if need be. I was overjoyed, as I had originally planned to go to Jeddah on Thursday to meet my cousin Juzer and get back my car documents which were lying with him.
Accordingly, I went to Jeddah on Thursday afternoon, reaching Juzer's place very late at around half-past eight. En route, my front right tyre burst after colliding with a kerb, and two men, probably Pakistanis, helped me to change the wheel with the stepney. After collecting my documents from Juzer's place, I decided to brave it out and drove the same night back to Ta'if.
Both my journeys - to Jeddah and back - were via Hada and the mountain route, which is something that some of my colleagues in Al Muwayh had told me not to try as it might be "difficult". On the contrary, I realised that if I kept to the speed limit that was actually displayed, I was able to go very easily. The return journey, which I had thought would be more difficult as night had fallen, turned out to be event-free too. I reached Ta'if at about midnight.
My last day was spent sleeping in the morning, then going down for breakfast, and finally, eating my lunch at the Asian restaurant and picking up some parcels of food to take back to Al Muwayh. However, there was one more assignment to do: after Asr', I went to Maard street and got my stepney replaced with a new tyre, thus undoing last night's damage in toto.
My drive back to Al Muwayh was accomplished without any further trouble and I reached home at 9:00 p.m. on Friday night.