Sunday, March 04, 2012

In Jeddah: Day 107, Thursday,1st March 2012

My birthday was fast approaching now. Dr. Narendra and I spent the morning going to a district of Jeddah known as Sharafiyah. He wanted to buy upholstery for his sofas at home in Surat, and also curtains for all the rooms in his house, and he was aware of a certain shop in the said locality. We took a cab to this place, leaving the hotel at around half past ten. Earlier, I had breakfast at a nearby eatery. This place was full of customers who were mostly there to take a parcel of the offerings available. These consisted of tameez with dal, and some other interesting combinations that I was unable to decipher. I pointed to the already served dish of another customer and asked the waiter to get me the same item with a half tameez (for those who came in late, a tameez is much like the Indian tandoori roti, only, it is more substantial, larger and has other food grains besides wheat). 

As I was saying, we reached Sharafiyah after a long journey of over half an hour. We visited the large corner shop that stocked upholstery and curtains, and Dr. Narendra browsed the various designs, comparing the quality of the cloth with his own requirements, weighing in the options based on the cost of this material and short-listing or rejecting the various items on show. Eventually, I think he was not completely satisfied, and we decided, on his decision not to buy anything here. After emerging from the shop, we walked down the street to the multitudinous shops selling kitchen stuff, including utensils, crockery, cutlery, etc. I picked up, after a long search, some soup bowls and spoons, and then, we left this locality to proceed to another one that sold computers in this area. The reason was that Dr. Narendra was looking for a battery for his Dell laptop and had failed to find it the previous evening during our visits to the malls near our hotel.

The walk was long, and we briefly stopped to buy some stuff from Al Baik at one of their outlets. Eventually, we reached the market at around 1:00 p.m. We had to wait until after the Dhuhur prayers; thereafter, while Dr. Narendra went about searching for his battery, I browsed the various stores and picked up a cover for my external HDD for SR 15/=. After this, we returned to the hotel by cab. Taking rest for about a half-hour, we left again in the late afternoon for another foray: this time to a place called the "Jaroah" - which means "market". To go to this Jaroah, we took a private bus service, much like similar services in India or other developing countries. The driver shouts the name of the final destination and invites travellers to take his bus. The ticket: SR 2/= only. The journey took over an hour, as the destination was far, and he stopped at multiple places to allow passengers to alight and new ones to board. 

His bus had just 16 official seats, but each of the outer seats had one foldable seat attached, so as to accommodate one more passenger. Hence, he was able to take 26 passengers in his small bus! Jaroah proved to be beyond my level of imagination. It is as big as a huge stadium, with multiple pavilions for different items of trade. There are rows and rows of shops selling the same type of stuff ... for example, furniture, upholstery, toys, fabrics, bed-linen, automobile spare parts, electronics, white goods, and so on. In such a huge market, after a laboured search for over an hour, Dr. Narendra finally managed to find his sofa upholstery and curtains, both. I bought nothing other than a new pillow and a pillow case for the same to use in my home in Al Muweh.  We left at about 40 minutes past seven in a bus similar to the one we had come in. Considering the distance and the traffic, it was a wonder we reached the hotel within an hour. 

After depositing the stuff we (mostly, Dr. N) had purchased, we went down to the local Kerala hotel and ate  a dinner of Masala dosa. I went back to the malls to do some more window shopping, and also bought some dry fruits and minor stuff before returning to the hotel. I also picked up my new progressive glasses at around 9:00 p.m. Returned to the hotel, and went to sleep after some work on the laptop at about midnight.

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