Monday, June 18, 2012

Day 215, Sunday, 17th June, 2012

Days lead to nights, and, with Allah's grace, nights unfold into new days, as my stay in Al Muwayh continues beyond my apprehensions for my father's ill-health and I settle to complete my first year in the Kingdom. News of the demise of one of the royals of the Kingdom came in on Saturday (it was the death of their Interior Minister and deputy Prime Minister and heir to the Crown, Prince Nayef) on the TV, and a three-day mourning was being foretold. 

Patients are few and far between, on account of the increasing heat outside, and the possible flight of Saudi Arabians to other, cooler countries/parts of KSA at this time of the year. (Vacations have begun already). I am currently doing "on-call" and I was supposed to go to T'aif today to give my driving licence test with Dr. Maesser, the Syrian resident doctor, but he backfooted yesterday night and we had to keep our plans on hold until a more opportune time, perhaps in the next week.

My stay in the hospital's room on the upper floor continues till Dr. Shahid's family leaves with him, perhaps at the end of this week or slightly later. The room itself is clean, but there is the problem of my having to go outside to eat my meals, as there is neither a kitchen nor a refrigerator in my room. I have a more relaxed day, as I have to simply climb down a flight of stairs to join work, climb up a flight of stairs to go for lunch, and so on. However, on the flip side, it is more trouble after the end of the working day as I have to go long distances to access the super-markets or reach the garden where I go for my daily walks. Also, I am unable to access my own belongings that still lie within my old room in which Dr. Shahid stays with his family. And, I have to drink water at room temperatures, and food that is cold (I buy my next day's lunch on the previous night and leave it in the room with the A/C turned on, hoping that it will not spoil till noon on the following day). 

Dr. Yasser, my pediatric colleague, bought a Mercedes used car during my month in India, and has, therefore, become more "mobile". As per the news, he is shifting to a better house that is farther away from the hospital than his present premises. It was nice of him to give me a lift one of the evenings even while his family was in the car with him. He slowed down near me and offered to take me to the hospital.

In the coming months, almost 4-5 nurses from the hospital are leaving the Kingdom; of these, there are 3 Filipinos and 2 Indians. As it is, the hospital is suffering from a shortage, and their exit, unless substituted by arrival of new nurses, may cause more problems for the administration. I hope and pray that replacements are found soon.

A new restaurant that opened on the main Al Muwayh road has helped me get food for the last few days. Owned by a Saudi, it has Yemeni cooks and menu, and an Indian (Muslim Maharashtrian from Mahad) cashier/manager (one Mr. Sayed Abbas). He - Mr. Abbas - is a cordial person, and enjoys talking. He even served me a tea free of cost on our first meeting. Since then, I have purchased several things to eat, including a scrambled egg preparation that was quite tasty, and an overcooked mixed vegetable preparation that was just about passable. Along with the food, he gives a khubz free; however, his khubz is quite large, and impossible to finish in one sitting. 

That's about it for now. Thank you for reading.

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