Saturday, February 01, 2014

And yet another weekend

The cycle of working for five days and then resting for the weekend has begun ... this week, I was looking after the OPD and my colleague was on call; this meant that I would have an absolutely tension-free weekend, and could, if I wanted to, go anywhere I wished beginning from the end of duty on Thursday, the last working day.

Inherently, though, I was not planning to go anywhere, as I have just returned from a long holiday, and do not crave the free time ... but then, something came up that needed me to go to Ta'if. It made my decision easy that my friend Dr. Measser, a Syrian resident who works ... or should I say, used to work ... in the E. R. was travelling to Jeddah with Dr. Moataz, our anaesthetist ... and could take me along and drop me in Ta'if. I write "used to work" because he is leaving the Kingdom this weekend, and going back ... perhaps to Turkey. His homeland is Syria, of course, but as that country is currently in the throes of a never-ending revolution, he has decided to make Istanbul his base for now.

Dr. Moataz was travelling to Jeddah to pick up his family which was due to arrive in the Kingdom from Egypt. There was one empty seat in the car (Dr. Measser was with his wife), and they accommodated me.

I had to visit an international courier service to send some important documents home, but, to my disappointment, I found the offices of both, FedEx and DHL closed for the day. I was debating whether to return to Al Muwayh (as I was not prepared to stay in Ta'if this time ... no toiletries, and no bag) or to hang in there for a night and do the couriering the next day. In the end, I decided to stay on, and checked in at my usual hotel opposite the Makkah taxi stand.

The Hotel Ahle-Saif has two Sudanese managers, and two Bengali workers - all of them know me very well; the managers always give me a good, clean room at low rates, and for this, I thank them all the time (their names are Ahmed and Moannad, by the way). The Bengalis - Munawwar Ali and one other whose name I cannot recall - which means Bangladeshis, actually, and not those from West Bengal in the parlance here - are also extremely helpful and it is a pleasure to tip them from time to time to ensure even better service the next time. Unfortunately, there was no vacant room when I came in, so I left what I was carrying at the desk, and went off to Ta'if Mall to spend the time. The "dabbab" drivers usually take SR 5 to take you there as it is less than a kilometer from my hotel. I spent the next few hours there, eating my lunch at Al Baik (I had one spicy chicken burger with fries and a drink, PLUS one fish sandwich (more like a Frankie, if you ask me). I looked around in other shops, and then returned to Al Baik to parcel some stuff to have back in Al Muwayh, and it was at about half-past three in the afternoon when I returned to the hotel, to be shown to a good room with a clean double-bed and so on.

I spent the rest of the evening dozing off or surfing the net on my S3 phone. Later, I went to the Mobile market to look around. The Note 3, which costs above 45K in India was available off the shelf for about SR 34K here! I may buy this in future. I also looked around for a Power-bank (saw an original 2500 MiaH one by Maxell for SR 150 at one shop), a cover for my Kindle book reader that is due to arrive from India through a friend, and other stuff, but did not buy anything other than a plastic screen protector for my Samsung Ace.

Dinner: I had my dinner at the Asian Restaurant which is just below the Ahle Saif Hotel, and then returned to my room by half past nine. I slept early - say around midnight.

The next morning, I went to FedEx and couriered my documents. This done, I ambled here and there, went back to my room, then checked out by half-past-one. I had packed all my food etc. that I had picked up from Al Baik as well as the Asian restaurant into a carton of water bottles (which the manager of Thara Restaurant so kindly provided me with), tying all this with a rope that was purchased by Munawwar Ali from a supermarket nearby, and I carried all this by a

dabbab to the SAPTCO bus stand, and then, by the bus back to Al Muwayh. Dr. Emaam Sayed, who I am good friends with, came from his duty to take me in his car to my home, and I was back in my house by five p.m. 

In the night, I watched T.V., went out for a bit, cooked some lamb curry, and so on, before going to bed by eleven, right after completing this post.

Thank you for reading ... see you around in the comments section. Guys, I need you to interact with me and not just be a silent reader. Send me your appreciation, critique, whatever ...

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