Thursday, January 23, 2014

Four days and already feeling so much difference

It's been four days since I returned to Al Muwayh and joined my duties. Ta'if, at least, is bearable, as it is a city, after all, and although one does not get all that one wishes for, one can at least while away the time going for a walk, eating at new places, or simply visiting the mall. Here, in Al Muwayh, time does not pass; it plods, slowly, as morning turns to afternoon, afternoon to evening, and evening to night. It doesn't help that it is very chilly outside - even the hospital temperature is preferable to the outdoors, although the former is centrally cooled with large machines. 

All those whom I gave a free gift to - the nurses and the helpers, really - appreciated my choice of dangling ear-rings brought from the shops of Mumbai. The main reason for this is that these have an ethnic design specific to India, and they don't get such stuff in their own country, or the neighbourhood, or in Saudi Arabia. I also gave a few doctors some selective hadiya, but that's about it ... one can't get carried away by gifting to all and sundry. For the record, no doctor has ever brought anything for me when they returned from their own vacations. Nurses have, though. 

I was invited, along with some other doctors, by Dr. Emaam Sayed for lunch a few days ago. His wife is a very talented cook. There was the usual fare of broasted chicken and rice, molokhia soup, a sort of tawa chicken, and then there were a few surprise dishes like the Egyptian "kucheri", which looks like masoor pulao of our country, and a "gravy" to add to kucheri, which was vinegar spiced with some herbs and a little chilli. Also, there were a few other starters such as a sort of fried thin slices of chicken, and what seemed to be veggie rolls. After dinner, we were served a dessert of what appeared to be pudding topped with shavings of chocolate ice cream and then, tea. All in all, a very nice meal.

In fact, Dr. Emaam had asked me to get spectacles made for his daughter Noor, his wife and himself ... from India, and on the whole, he was very pleased with the results. I made a total of 5 pairs of glasses ... all for less than the price of just 2-3 such pairs in Saudi Arabia. 

Yesterday, I finally shed my ennui to make my first food here ... I made a cauliflower-potato mix that I had today, for lunch ... it has come out very good. I do miss the endless snacking that I used to indulge in in India, but - to be honest - this is better, since it may help me lose weight and make me fitter.  

Dr. Yasser is due to join on Sunday as he is currently on leave from the job. One of our senior nurses, Sr. Armina, left the Kingdom for good. So did Dr. Jumaa, our ortho specialist. He has been replaced by Dr. Zohair, who comes from Palestine, but with a Russian passport (since Palestine is not yet a recognised nation on the international scene). All the others are where they were. Intriguingly, one of the Filipina nurses is on vacation, but has not chosen to go to her homeland and is staying here in Al Muwayh ... when I asked someone why, I was told that she wants to save money to make her house in the Philippines. Strangely, it does make sense, since we end up spending so much money taking gifts to our relatives ... and, also, the Ministry gives us back half of the air-ticket fees if we don't ask for a ticket to our own country. 

Since the last time I reported on the winds of change blowing in Al Muwayh, the progress wheel has ground to a halt. No new shops or enterprises have come up, and the existing new ones aren't thriving much either. It looks like a false start to me. 

And that is where I will end for now. Please do join the conversation by leaving behind your valuable comments in the blog ... thank you.

P.S. This is my 250th post on this blog.

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

I envy the food. I don't envy the ennui. I too must lose weight which I find hard in cold Montana, U.S. but easier in warm Costa Rica. Best all, Kåre Enga.