Thursday, June 28, 2012

Day 223, Sunday, 24th June, 2012

This was the day I elected to go to T'aif to transfer some money home as well as to prepare a banker's draft for submission with my application form for MRCPCH examinations that I am planning to sit for in October this year. I took a lift from a Pakistani trucker called Umer. He was gracious enough to accommodate me inside the front cabin of his huge trailer. He has been working in the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia for more than 15 years now, and he turned out to be an interesting person with a lot of stories to tell. Being a cautious driver, he took over 2.5 hours to reach the point where I was to alight, as he was going further to Jeddah. I reached that point at about half past ten; we parted, and I walked a little distance before I could find a cabbie to take me to the bank's transfer office (the Tahweel Ar Rajhi) on Shubra street. This office, where I have so far gone over 10 times in the last seven or eight months, is located about 100 meters before the main taxi stand and the Gazzaz mall of T'aif. 

There was a considerable rush today, and as I stood patiently for my turn, I suddenly discovered that I no longer had my mobile phone with me. In a panic, I borrowed a mobile from a fellow person and tried to ring my own number. The number rang, yes, but there was no reply from the other side. There were just two possibilities: either the phone was inside my own room in Al Muweh, or I had accidentally dropped it in the truck in which I had come ...and the trucker had either not heard the phone ringing or something equally weird had transpired, of which I had no inkling.

I completed my bank work, procured my draft and came out dejected. I tried my own number again, and suddenly, my phone was picked up by none other than Umer himself. He told me he had my phone, which he had found inside his truck cabin, and he told me I was welcome to come to Jeddah, where he had already reached, and try to retrieve my phone. 

I got into a cab to reach Jeddah, and reached there by 3.30 p.m. I called up Umer (by now I had his number as well), and we finally met inside the King Abdul Aziz university. He invited me to join him for tea, but I politely refused as I was already going to be late for my return to Al Muweh. I returned to the bus stand in the same cab, and eventually boarded a bus that would arrive at Al Muweh by half past ten in the night. 

In the event, I actually reached at about 12.45 a.m. The bus got delayed because of two  reasons: a) its air conditioners failed and we had to pause for about half an hour before they could be turned on again, and b) the driver and his assistant were both meek, slow driving Bangla-deshis, who covered a journey of about 400 km in seven, instead of five, hours. 

I requested the driver to drop me off before the bridge that heralds the arrival of Al Muweh, and from there, I walked it up and got to my room inside the hospital at a little after quarter past one a,m.

Thus ended a day of troubles that had started off so well and with wonderfully small targets.

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