Tuesday, July 02, 2013

The Week Before Ramadan starts: Day 1: Ta'if

As readers of my blog are aware, the new weekend in Saudi Arabia is Friday + Saturday w.e.f. the end of June weekend. As I was off call, I had already submitted a leave form to the hospital director a week ago, and so, I decided to proceed on my holiday week. On Sunday morning, I left my home and drove to Taif, where I stayed at Hotel Noof. I visited the Muderiya in connection with the pending salary of Dr. Narendra ( a job that is becoming tiresome because the higher-ups in the Ministry of Health have bungled up somewhere!). Dr. Amr' was with me through the whole thing. I also gave my car for extensive repairs that may cost me more than a couple of thousand SR. This entails changing all my shock absorbers, both the axles, replacing the rear glass and whatever else the mechanic may find while tinkering inside. 

The mechanic was the Pakistani friend Choudhary Shabir, about whom I have written before. He is the same nice person who treated Dr. Asad and me to the beautiful dinner at Kababjee's ... and this time, it was my turn to invite him for dinner. During the entire day, I simply rested in my room, slept, and did this and that. In the evening, I went to the garage to pick up the car, which wasn't completely ready as yet. The machine and the car had been done, but the glass was not yet fitted, so we went to a glass dealer to get this fitting done. Unfortunately, it was time for the Ishaa prayers, so we had to disperse and return to the shop after the prayers. The old rubber piping had been removed and one of the workers of the glass shop was busy scraping the old bits of glass from within the piping so that the same piping could be used to accommodate the new glass. It seemed as though this scraping would take a lot of time, so my guests and I agreed to go for dinner in his car. So we did. 

This time, we went to an Indian restaurant called "Al Taoos" or the Peacock restaurant. This is a much-hyped restaurant, but the service is very slow, the servings are small, and the overall impression is of a place with much potential that is not being realised. 

Taken from our moving car, this is the main door of the restaurant

This is their logo or whatever, and this misspelt abomination adorns the tops of all the tables, the menu card and everything else here
This is the area where the youth gather to play pool. Each half hour costs SR 10

This is the top floor where they have a huge lounge with four giant TVs, a lot of chairs, some dining tables and very few customers.

This doesn't need a caption, does it?

This is Choudhary Shabir, and he doesn't look very pleased
This is Mr. Nadeem Khan, Choudhary's friend, who also joined us for dinner. 

By the time we returned from our dinner (and a round of ice-cream at Baskin-Robbins, courtesy of Mr. Nadeem Khan), the car glass had been fitted and the car was ready for my adventurous trip to Abha for the next day. I said my good-bye to the two friends and went back to my hotel to sleep off the night.

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