Sunday, April 06, 2014

A Weekend in Jeddah - Day I :Thursday, 3rd April, 2014

I was in Taif on Thursday the 3rd of April 2014. I visited the Muderiya to once again make enquiries regarding Dr. Narendra's pending salary. I also visited Dr. Ahmed Ashraf and repeated my request to arrange for another pediatrician for al Muwayh to help me. Finally, I went to the Dr. in charge of arranging vacations, one Dr. Zohair, and urged him to look into my holiday request for June.

After these, I had lunch in the Asian Restaurant, and then left for Jeddah. My motive was to spend the rest of the day as well as the whole of Friday in Jeddah, visiting the sea-shore and maybe trying out other things. I intended to return to Taif on Saturday morning and then travel back to Al Muwayh by that day's evening.

My car travelled very well. I decided to take the non-Muslim's route to Jeddah, thereby bypassing Makkah. A wrong decision, as although initially the road was nice, it soon turned into a large tract of asymmetrically arranged bumps on the two-laned affair with no extra place for manouvering. I reached Jeddah at around 4:30, and by trial and error, I found my way to a hotel on Street 70, just off Palestine street.

This was a funnily nice place. Funny because it has two wings; the main wing has five floors, and mostly caters to Saudi guests; it is readily accessible from the reception, and you can get to your rooms on any floor through an elevator. The second wing is hidden. To get to it, you have to first travel to the first floor in the original elevator, then walk down the lobby to the second elevator at the back. From here, you ride up any of the higher floors to find rooms from 11 to 18 for that floor. I had room 313. The room was well appointed, had a kitchen with a gas range and a gas cylinder, basic cooking and serving vessels, and a refrigerator. The sitting room had 4 large chairs, a center table, and a large wall-TV. The bedroom was a simple affair with a double bed and an almirah. It had its own split A.C. The bathroom had a good 2-tub washing machine in addition to all the routine conveyances. This entire room was rented out at S.R. 150 per night, which is a steal, because in Taif, I get just a single room with a window A.C. and a limited T.V. experience for S.R. 100/- per night. 

There was just one problem aside from the funny access system. There was no room telephone, as the cables of the entire telephone network had apparently recently got destroyed. Hence, I had no way of communicating with the reception. The helpers, though, were very nice - Bangladeshis, all. They even went out of the way to serve me tea at night. In return, I helped that particular guy to set up his new smart phone and enabled him to create a Google account and a Skype account, so that he was able to speak with his daughter the same day (she is in Bangladesh).

The first night, I had dinner at an unusual tandoori outlet owned by some clan of Arabs ... maybe Yemenis. I had a lovely mixed tandoori platter with khubz and salad, etc. The food was great. After this rather late dinner, I walked back home. 

I watched a movie on MBC Bollywood before going to sleep at a little after 2 a.m.

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