Friday, December 21, 2012

Taking a much-needed break: Wed 5th December to Monday 10th December 2012

As I have mentioned in an earlier post, my co-pediatrician went on his annual vacation in the days immediately following my return from Hajj. Since then, I have been working all alone without any break. I knew I could seek relief from my duties for a few days, and the hospital administration would need to give me substitutional relief by appointing a locum doctor in my place; such a locum doctor would have to come from any of the other hospitals in the Ta'if region. Dr. Shehabeldin went out on a limb for me, but could not get a replacement for me from ANY of the other places. I was getting frustrated. Eventually, he sent a request to the Muderiya to arrange a locum doctor from Ta'if, most likely from the Children's Hospital in Ta'if. 

The substitute doctor arrived at about half past three on Wednesday 5th December 2012 (21st Muharram 1434 H.) Having explained everything I could about the in-patients and showing him around the hospital, I finally left the hospital to start my five-day leave. I decided to stay in Al Muwayh that evening, winding up my other tasks and relaxing. 

On the next morning, I travelled to Ta'if with Dr. Alaa Ashwah, the E.N.T. surgeon. He had his own work here, He was kind enough to leave me as close to my hotel as possible. Later, I joined him in Panda and browsed the mall with him until after the dhuhr prayers. He also took me to a food mall called the "Riya", where I purchased some salted, baked biscuits and a pineapple fruit tart (which, by the way, was very nice!) After this, he dropped me near the mall and proceeded back to Al Muwayh. I handed him some of my purchases, to keep in the boot of his car - I promised him that I would retrieve my stuff when I returned to Al Muwayh.

I returned to my hotel where I relaxed, prayed, downloaded movies and did similar stuff. In the evening, I went to the "tahweel al Rajhi" to transfer some money to India, then went to the Mobile market to buy a Samsung S3 phone and then back to the hotel to retire for the day. I ate my dinner at the Indian restaurant below my hotel (as usual). 

On Friday, I purchased a "Pehla" TV pack from a shop on Khalid bin Walid street, visited King Faisal hospital to meet my friend Dr. Asadullah (the surgeon who has always helped me in the past), and got my contacts and other data transferred from my old Samsung Ace to the new Samsung Galaxy S3 with the help of an Egyptian Mr. Ahmed, who has a small shop in the mobile market. I ate breakfast at the Thara restaurant but the next two meals in the Indian restaurant. 

On Saturday, I went to the Muderiya, retrieved my passport, which I have decided to keep with me (they have recently permitted this for all expatriates who work in the medical sector) and then went back to my hotel. I also recovered my new Iqama from our hospital's liaison officer Mr. Ali, who met me near Gazzaz mall after the Ishaa prayers to hand it over to me. Barring this one job, I relaxed the whole day. Then, early morning on Sunday, I went to Jeddah. The reason: I wanted to visit the office of the  Ministry of Foreign Affairs (vazarat kharjiyyah) to submit the form I had filled for my family's upcoming visit to the Kingdom. I had filled this form online, then downloaded and printed out a copy. Along with the form, I had also brought with me, my marriage certificate, birth-certificates of both my daughters, the copies of all our passports, and a copy of my new Iqama and a letter from the Muderiya showing my current occupation, salary, etc. (the so-called Taarif Maali). I took an early morning taxi from right opposite my hotel, reached Jeddah at about 8:00 A.M., and reached the MOFA in a new taxi in the next seven or eight minutes. A very orderly queue of people was in place, all controlled by just a few policemen. At about 15 minutes past 8:00 A.M., the offices opened, and the queue began to move forward. After entering the complex, we had to surrender all our mobiles/laptops to a policemen who put all the cell phones in small cul-de-sacs, and handed a numbered token to the visitor. The queue inside led to a third policeman, who asked for the original Iqama to confirm our identity, and thence, admitted us to the inside room where a bank-like token system took me to a window within about 40 minutes, and I submitted my form and the supporting documents to the Saudi man inside.

By half past nine I had finished my work. I left Jeddah soon thereafter, and reached Ta'if at about half past one. By three p.m., I checked out of the hotel, and taking the usual bus of SAPTCO, I was back at Al Muwayh at around  half past eight p.m. in the evening. 

I resumed work the next morning.

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