Thursday, October 17, 2013

Writing in after a long time: The Saudi National Day

A week has passed since I last posted in this blog, and the reason is that nothing really eventful is happening, However, I must mention that we had the Saudi National Day celebrations on 23rd September. This day is observed as a holiday all over the country. It commemorates the unification of the various tribes into one nation by the first king of the country Ibn Saud in 1932. This year, our hospital celebrated the event in a big way with decorations and a lot of festivities. The immense decorations were funded by the government, and the elegant displays were made by the highly talented Filipino nursing staff assisted by the other nurses, workers, helpers and all the rest. Larger decorations were put into place by the male staff of the maintenance company. 

Within a few days, the hospital began to look like a new bride! The main colours used in the decorations were green and white, the only two colours on the Saudi Arabian National flag. There were festoons, balloons, strings, confetti, posters, curtains, ceiling decor, boards, and much more, all adorned in the two national colours. In spite of such sparse use of colours, the hospital shone like a new tourist attraction or like an art installation! Here are some frames of this decor for you to enjoy:

The central entrance lobby

The corridor going to the E.R.

An interesting decoration

A close-up of the central lobby ceiling

Another interesting balloon assembly

One of the internal lobbies within the hospital

That's me with the decorations
 The piece de resistance was, however, the special decoration just inside the main gate of the hospital. A Saudi traditional home milieu was created here, with cushions laid out on a carpet, vessels containing dates, other traditional foods, models of a full Saudi family with the father, mother, and two children, a wall decorated with colourful wall decorations, and more. On the other side, there was a model of a futuristic Al Muwayh, with a mall and many new buildings, as also a mud and brick traditional house, a Bedouin tent with camels, and a back-drop of photographs depicting some historical views of old Riyadh and other places within the Kingdom. Take a look:

A traditional Saudi home

More of the same

Food servings

The side-table with a pair of binoculars, perfumes, threads, and a perfumer

The futuristic Al Muwayh with a mall

A mud and brick traditional house

A model of the Holy Kaaba

The textured ceiling

On the National Day, the entire hospital wore a festive look. However, it was at about half past nine that important dignitaries came to visit the hospital and broke bread with the administrative staff. They took a round of the hospital, admired the decor, sat on the home decoration that is shown above, and stayed there to partake of tea and dates. After this, they were all taken to lunch in the kitchen.

The V.I.P.s of Al Muwayh, including the Prince (second from left)

The Prince of Al Muwayh with the Hosp. Director and Asst. Director

We were all invited too, and served a delicious buffet of traditional Saudi Arabian dishes; one of them was a wheat and mixed grain porridge much like our khichda or harissa; another was a sort of large chapati dipped in honey; a third was a mixed vegetable curry; there were others that I could only partly understand, but, yes, there was chicken too. The serviettes were all steel, and the plates and stuff we got was all green, and disposable. 

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