Wednesday, May 02, 2012

Day 168, Tuesday, 1st May, 2012: The road to India

Today, I reported for work as usual, but took the day off after noon, and proceeded home to finish my packing for my journey home to India, which begins within a few days. To be precise, I leave today and go to Ta'if and spend a night here; on Wednesday, I receive my passport from the liaison officer Mr. Ali; then proceed to Mecca; I stay a night in Mecca, completing some shopping, etc. On Thursday morning, I proceed to Jeddah, staying in Juzer Kagalwala's house for the day, and shopping for a few things; in the night, I board the Air India flight to India, arriving there on the morning of Friday, 4th May, 2012.

As planned, I left Al Muweh for my first vacation today at around 2:00 p.m. The mode of transport was a taxi-car driven by a certain Mr. Khalid, a Pakistani person who lives in Al Muweh. Khalid turned out to be a very interesting person. As it turns out, his taxi was a Chevrolet Lumina, year 2001. It is in excellent condition, and the drive was smooth and effortless. In fact, Khalid has already decided to sell off this car for just SR 15000/= and I was sorely tempted to tell him to sell it to me, However, there was just one small problem. I was about to leave for India, and had no cash in my bank account since I had either withdrawn it to carry it back to India or was planning to wire it to my NRI account there. Alas for all this ... but I had to also consider that I still had no driving license. So, my car purchase will have to wait till I return to Saudi Arabia after my holiday. 

We reached Ta'if at fifteen minutes past 4:00 p.m. Khalid took me to a hotel bang opposite the SAPTCO bus stand, where I secured for myself a room for SR 100/= for the night.I paid him his fare ( a discounted amount of SR 150/= ... discounted because he had demanded SR 200/= from me when I had fixed up with him the previous day); and thereafter, I let Khalid go.  The room was under cleaning, and I finally moved in at about 5:00 p.m.

From then on till about an hour or so, I made myself at home; then, I left the room and went to the local Al Rajhi bank "Tahweel" to transfer some of the money to India. After this, I spent time at the local Ta'if's Heart Mall. During this, I window-shopped in quite a few outlets. There was a shop that had an awesome display of costume jewellery. It was closed when I reached there on account of Salaah, so I myself went over to the mosque that is connected to the mall and did my prayers as well. After this, I returned to the shop and took pictures of the items which I liked. Next, I connected with Inas by using the Whatsapp application. I shared the pictures with her, and she, with Nishrin, and through this technique, we short-listed some of the nicer items on display, and I concluded the purchase by paying cash to the shopkeeper when he came back from the salaah. What a great way to make sure that the things you buy are going to be liked by the people you buy them for (read "wife and kids").

In the meantime, I had also contacted Dr. Asadullah, who had my flight ticket with him. He came over to the mall by 9:00 p.m., and took me back to his house to have dinner with his family. His parents are here in Ta'if too, and I was fortunate to meet his father, who turned out to be a very interesting person. Dinner consisted of home-cooked mutton curry with "tameez" brought in from a nearby bakery. 

After a sumptuous dinner, Dr. Asad came to leave me back to my hotel. He is one of the nicest people I have known. I thanked him and he left. Back in the room, I ended the day by watching "Casino Royale" on MBC 2, interspersing my viewing with the writing of this entry, which I finally completed doing around 1:00 a.m. in the morning.

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