Sunday, October 12, 2014

Three days in Ta'if

After the end of the Hajj pilgrimage days, the roads to Ta'if, Makkah and Jeddah open up for the local people on the 15th of Dhul Hajj. Accordingly, I planned an outing to Ta'if from the 15th to the 17th of the current month (October 9th to 11th). I took one day's official leave, but left Al Muwayh in the evening of October 8th. Dr. Niaz Qureshi accompanied me from Al Muwayh, and he got off at a place called Arafat, which is a small village about 35 km before Ta'if. 

I checked into the Ahle Saif Hotel in Ta'if and had a quiet dinner at the Asian Hotel there. The first night passed off peacefully. On Thursday, I took my car to the garage where my Pakistani mechanic friend Mr. Nadeem Gujjar works. Handing over the car to him, I mandated him to repair all that could be repaired, and to overhaul my vehicle for any defects; after this, I returned to the hotel.  In the evening,  went around Ta'if, completing odd tasks; I also went shopping here and there, but mostly, I relaxed. Downloading some nice movies on my laptop was part of the relaxation strategy! 

In the night, I went to Vitamin Palace - an eatery on Abu Bakker Siddiq road, and ordered myself a treat of a Cheese-Chicken Jumbo Sandwich, a Fakh Fakhena (Fruit salad with Avocado, Mangoes, Pineapple, Pomegranate seeds and Papaya, to name a few ... with two single lops of ice creams at the top - vanilla and strawberry, in my case) and a soft drink. It was an immensely enjoyable dinner!

On Friday morning, I went to Jeddah in my now repaired car to meet Mr. Tanveer Malik, the Pakistani cabbie who had possession of the registration card of my old Toyota Corolla ... to bring this back from him. My forward journey got prolonged by a 100 km, thanks to wrong guidance by Samsung Galaxy's Google Maps, which guided me to a non-existent bridge to Jeddah (this prolonged my journey by 60 km), ... and then skipped a crucial U-turn to make me drive an extra 40 km!

Tanveer met me at his house, and I ate lunch with him and his nephew Mr. Ali. After this, before he could press me for more money (he has managed to inveigle me into parting with over SR 2000 in my last two trips to Jeddah), I took his leave and returned uneventfully to Ta'if by 5 p.m. In the night, I took dinner at the Asian Hotel. 

After this, I went to the Mobile Market and bought a slew of stuff such as a new battery for my Note 3, a monopod to take photos with my phone through a bluetooth connection, a new 10 GB Mobily Card for internet, and a new USB plug for recharging my phones.

Saturday saw me go to the Aramex office (it is on the King Faisal Road at a market place  just before the road turns to go toward Jeddah via Hada.) Here, I picked up my just-arrived external hard disk (2 TB for SR 474/-). Then, I went back to the car garage to fine tune a few installations, and then, to a car-key maker to program a new key. This guy could not make my new key because the programming did not occur properly. As a result, we had to wait for an hour before re-attempting the process - and this time, another man with greater expertise attempted it - and managed it successfully.

Earlier in the morning, I visited the local Centrepoint showroom on Shahar street and bought a new blue-coloured jacket and a new shirt for myself.

I then began my return journey to Al Muwayh, picking up Dr. Niaz again from Arafat. I arrived in Al Muwayh at a little after half-past seven. My journey had come to an end.

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