Tag Archives: Jeddah

Skirting the Ushaiger

I happen to notice a small fire in the woods by a few scores of lumberjacks in the forest where I live as an expatriate. This is an incident occurred in the heritage village of Ushaiger which is situated 200 km from Riyadh. Ushaiger is one of the oldest towns in the Najd region. According to social media and few websites including Okaz, a model named Khulood walked the village in a short dress breaking the strict dress code implemented by laws in the Kingdom.
Although I see nothing wrong with a girl wearing a short skirt and traveling to any sites (besides religious places). But I have to forward few of the points towards the incident happened in the heritage village.
 
1) KSA’s strict dress code on women has to be applicable and under such law, she should be treated as per the law. And let me clarify that this is not my opinion.
 
2) Like seriously, who wear short skirts on historic places??? This is absolutely silly and beyond any common sense! Tourists in Arab countries like KSA and Jordan wear track suits, track pants, long shorts etc. Even the female Westerners travel to such places wearing an abaya (loose over-garment) to maintain the dress code as per the law.
 
3) The reactions on the social media sites are mixed. Some have demanded to arrest her or kicking her out of the country. Few considered her act as brave and there is some number of people who consider it welcoming with freedom of expression. Those who want to read the reactions on Twitter can hashtag with the name Ushaiger in Arabic.
In a country where the women are not allowed to drive, the coming years can meet the demands of change and accept the freedom of expressing. But will take a lot of time to accept this.
 
Being a staunch supporter of personal freedom, my opinion is that the local sharia laws have to cut loose the grip, ease the environment and make it welcoming. There was a time back in the 80s and 90s when the ladies in the Kingdom have to hide their hair and wear plain abayas. Now it has become a fashion and has nothing to do with the religion. Gender mixing is already seen in the public places. So the social environment is not to be confused with Islamic principles. You cannot judge on the basis of the dress if the lady is provoking and abusing her religion or if she is a Muslim or not. What about the mannequins in the shopping malls displaying much shorter dress than the one in this incident?
 
What happened in this incident was a silly display of show-off but this act will raise a lot of eyebrows on the Ifs and Why-Nots across the Kingdom.
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Hankering in the Wrong Queue

Click the link above and read the article. This news is presenting the precise situation of the construction of depressed multinational circumstances in an economy struggling to escalate employment opportunities among the citizens in the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia (KSA).
 
University Of Business and Technology (UBT) organized a job fair where 40 companies offered some 3000 employment and training opportunities. To utilize the chance, Saudis, as well as expats, reached the door knocking but while they entered and arrived at the fair, the non-Saudi job applicants realized that the offers were limited to the Saudis only.
UBT didn’t bother to mention in their event program that only Saudis will be considered for the jobs. Result? 1000 non-Saudis or expats showed up who were eager to work with the recruiting companies within 48 hours! 48 hours!!! I didn’t witness the show but like other readers and observers, imagine the peak of misunderstanding. The non-Saudi candidates would have been in the queue and when their turns finally have come, they would have been immediately rejected or informed on their faces that they are not entertaining the offer to you expats! Now read their faces and do the maths yourself. After this, the expats would have become a hurdle or an obstacle on the path of job-seeking Saudis going towards the recruiters. 
 
With the growing tensions among the expats who are students or seeking jobs, this event can be observed in many ways:
 
1. There is a tremendous demand of expats from the field of business & technology who are willing to join and boost the economy. If one job fair can unintentionally fetch 1000 CVs in total from two different companies then imagine the total numbers.
 
2. At the very same time and location, 4000 Saudis are reported to show up which again shows how much is there a potential to generate the economic measures.
 
3. The article repeatedly records that the representatives of the recruiting companies in the job fair were ‘surprised’ and ‘shocked’ to see so many expats applying for the job. Their state of getting shocked and surprised is the sign of negligence and ignorance which falters the people responsible in the ministries and the administrations that they fail to notice/observe that the sweat and the blood of the expats are playing the most dynamic role in the economic progress of the country.
 
4. Another very important point which should be in focus after being surprised and shocked, most of the developed and developing countries who progress in their economy, do not consider the color, race, religion and the country where the job seeker belongs to. Because the candidates of any diversity are welcome to join the firm, considering the impression that they will benefit the company and the economy of the country overall. And that is how the teamwork is done.
 
Considering or prioritizing one national over the other in KSA or any part of the world builds disputes and rifts, brings cultural and ethnic misunderstanding, causes depression and theorizes a protest for the justice. Ignoring an individual on his/her nationality instead of considering his/her qualification, experience, work efficiency and compatibility will always bring a wrong impression. How would an expat aim to stay in the kingdom and think for the goodness if he/she is rejected for his/her not being a Saudi? And if being Saudi is must then the nationality should be granted after a minimum stay of 5 Islamic or Gregorian years. There are thousands and thousands of cases where an expat like me is born and raised here. On my 33rd year, a guy like me, after all the life spent here, is clueless about his future after reading and listening all the rules and observing the tensions created by those rules for the expats.
 
That is not how the country is led by prioritizing the locals and completely ignoring the expats or firing them from the jobs. A wrong example is created globally to the observers because of most of the people in America, Europe, Australia or even in India, are working and studying together as a job seeker who is eager to fulfill his/her dream/ambition to become something and a student who is aiming high with no distinction and divergence.
 
5. With the state of being shocked and surprised also indicates the hatred when one stated in the article, “We don’t know how they got in and who let them in”. This sounds like if the organizers forgot to fix the notice board outside the job fair that “No Beggars And Dogs Are Allowed”. Shoo Expat! Shoo!
 
Being born and bred here in this country, being a son of my city, Jeddah, I advocate for the employment of the Saudi men and women who hold a lot of promises in their chosen fields. I do wish that the citizens, like the expats, should boost the economy by their contribution. But but but not by cutting or firing the expats from their jobs to replace us with the Saudis but by creating employment opportunities, so the citizens and the expats can together help and stabilize the economy of the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia.
 
May Lord bless the King and the Kingdom. Amen.

I AM SAMI NAIK

My Selfish Diary: Romance Catoholics

In the kingdom where I breathe a confound alfresco, the personal and working life of the born-and-raised expats like us are at a question mark; and being the custodian of our fates, us millennials borrow some time to think on the brink because the bettering dreams turning into shattering dreams is a realization that the hope is hopped in our recession.

Although, beneath the line of soliloquy, an expat like me try to focus on plethoric theories to heal the gashes of the unwanted past and favor the time to catch a train of well-wishes. No matter how cruel how pollute the world becomes, do good and have good and leave it on God.

My best friend Liza and I are devoted cat lovers since childhood. Being sensitive to the most innocent and loving creatures in the world, we have lost our pets in front of our eyes but strived to make the better of few of the cats who caught our attention. I have come to various incidents in serving, rescuing and paying my last respects to the cats in my life. Once my family pet 21 cats at home due to the birth of few of the cats helping in multiplication but we didn’t give up during our never-ending financial crisis. We gave our pets a combined respect and sent each of them to a German lady who served animal welfare and care. May Lord bless that lady. It was a decade ago, now who knows how many of them are…

Liza with her family moved out from the kingdom for good. She has settled in the Pacific and eight months later has returned back for mere a month to meet her parents and kins. My sin is that when she was leaving, I couldn’t meet her. But when she returned, she was busy to schedule our reunion for the sake of our old friendship saga which originates since we were hardly a year old.

Yesterday night (18.04), when Liza had an outing with her family, spotted a pair of beautiful adult cats in their cat tree but to a major surprise, there was no individual on the street keeping the pets. Which clearly meant that someone dropped such adorable cats in their tree on the street and left for God knows what reason. Liza was agitated and mutilated at the same time due to the fact that she herself cannot do anything about the cats because she herself is staying with her family.

Liza messaged, sent the pictures of the poor and sought if I can look after these but I excused for having 10 cats at my own home; the numbers enough to refuse the others. She was very perturbed and distressed repeatedly thinking about the fate of those cats. The cats were silent and weren’t leaving more than few inches from their tree. I advised her to ask someone at this hour of time if anyone, by any good luck, can foster these.

It had been hours and during midnight, at my usual routine of playing FIFA17 at PS4, Liza messaged me and asked for help all of a sudden. My eyebrows grew more hair to learn what on earth had come up as late as 1.30 am. She responded that she want to drop those cats to someone who has agreed to foster the cats at this hour of time. *Yawn*

When the world is sleeping to wake up early for the prayer, for the work, for waking up the kids for the school, there are some rare breed of inhumans, I mean humans,  in some very interesting part of the world who are eager to rescue the cats and drop them at the safest place possible.

Being a huge comic books reader, I realized that I have learned more humanity and aimed to do better things in life than I was ever taught in school. Serving for good has boosted my enthusiasm and helped me follow my omens. At such a time when I used to lie on my bed, I decided to help her and rescue the cats.

To reach as quick as possible, I drove the car in haste and completely forgot that there was a speed breaker in one of the area streets where I use to drive daily towards my office every morning. The car badly hit the speed breaker and the reason of installing such thing was completely fulfilled. I cursed myself and patiently drove the next moments. In 15 minutes, I collected her from her cousin’s residence and this is how Liza and I reunited and saw each other again.

My car is driven on the sleeping streets occupied by the sound of silence. The city of Jeddah gives you freshness when you drive towards the seaside especially at midnight but here the rescuers were very fresh for the purpose. Unluckily, she forgot the spot where she was hanging with her relatives an hour ago as the place was very unfamiliar to her plus she had no internet on her cell phone. Also, was I having the luxury of losing the lifeline of the cell phone as I didn’t charge the battery due to an unexpected twist at the eleventh hour. All she knew was that the place is nearby the seaside. After a 15-minute drive, Liza called someone and collected the instructions of heading towards the destiny where we realized that we were going precisely opposite.

At King Abdul Aziz Road, I was supposed to take u-turn just before Al Manar Car Wash but instead, took u-turn after Stars Avenue Mall and drove towards Tahliya Park and Salaam Park situated in the Andalus district. The time was running and so were our heart beats because the presence of the scared cats at the spot was at risk.

I drove back and reached the spot where she had witnessed those cats. To our utter good luck, the cats were there in their tree. The pair were so scared that they weren’t popping out of their tree and had severely low cries. When Liza lifted the tree, the cats neither popped out nor hit the paws to her. They were lying inside the tree, no movement. She easily dropped the tree in the back seat and we left the spot.

  

We thanked God that they were safe and had no sign of abuse. I don’t know the class or the breed but the cats were very beautiful. The rescue attempt was half done and there was every possibility that while I drive the car, the cats may release themselves from the prison of the tree and get panic. The whole destiny while returning back, the cats made not a single attempt of escaping from the car again indicating how frightened these creatures were.

Now that ‘someone’ who agreed to foster this ongoing midnight was never met by Liza nor did she know where was she living. She had the coordinates but had no internet. I had the internet but didn’t have enough battery in the cell phone to follow the next coordinates. So she was unable to send me the coordinates, nor was I able to match the address on my app. There was no shop nearby and I was still expecting a razor paw or a love bite on my neck coming from the back seat.

The madness prevailed us to type every single unit, letter, and punctuation to form a coordinate on my app which was very bizarre. The idea didn’t make any sense but we had to act swiftly because the time had crossed 2 in the morning, the foster lady was waiting, the petrol of my car was alarming, and the paws on my neck was anytime incoming. Soon as we typed the whole address and clicked for the directions, the mobile lost its life and slept.

Liza suggested stopping the car at any shop so she buys the card to charge the internet because we had no other option. The card was bought, the internet began working on her cell phone, so were the coordinates. I drove on Liza’s directions and guess what! the destiny was a couple of kilometers away from my own home.

We reached the destiny and I parked the car on the corner. The cat tree was removed from the car and one of the cats did panic and struggled to pop out and escape the situation. She controlled and carried the weight; and disappeared into the building. Ten minutes later, she returned with a huge smile on her face and the rescue attempt was complete. We together declared “We Did It”. It was a joyous and emotional moment. We felt extremely, immensely, and supremely blessed. No matter how many bad deeds we have done in our life but there are some good deeds we are manifestly proud of.

 

God is the witness that in the humming chore of sleeping homes where the residents borrowed time to fulfill their dreams and wake up for their offices, schools, prayers and different purposes, there were two passionate cat lovers who considered no unwillingness and gave the pair of poor cats their new guardian who may/will treat them better than their former guardians. They were not our pets nor were we anything to them but it was the concern which clouded with the chance of rescue.

I dropped her back home and the time was around 3 in the morning. It was an unforgettable night. Perhaps if I had not helped her, she would have increased her blood pressure or killed her brain in developing theories or over thinking all the possibilities and plausibilities over the situation on that street; and at the same time, I may have felt guilty not to help her and the cats while struggling to sleep. Our nights were abnormally lengthy and we surely slept in our homes in peace after a very long time.

My Selfish Diary: Placate the Spectre

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Breathing a polluted age of ignorance is a confounding experience. I observe more and learn nothing. Treasures of the endorsed festivities are devaluing and the ranks of discipline among the hoppy generations collapsing. People who lack money and power are atoning. The word ‘regret’ has its own dictionary and level. The patience is pleading, the patient is bleeding. Blood on the street is more than in the hospital. The population is increasing and rate of employment is decreasing. This is like a man alive in his grave struggling to come out of the box because he knows he can live more and die later. But what if he comes out of the box? Will his fellow creatures accept and agree his survival?

Now I hair more on me face than I used to on the skull. I dig pictures on Facebook of recent past like a couple of years ago and see my physical transformational downfall. My thinking clouds produce more heavy rainfall than the aggregate raindrops of Sri Lanka in an entire year but my head hardly gets wet. I do not get the courage to step up and make my mind what exactly I want because I am disturbed by everything surrounding me.

Most of the people nowadays are not noble, don’t have a good heart and are also not respectful. Lying is exhilarating and dying is an extended version of grieving ceremony. Exchange of regards have unusual dance moves and fast-food is delicious enough to fart my sweet acidity. When I try something in life, judges on the streets have a double-look and smiles are wide. I wear a beanie cap out of context without following season because I don’t folking care. I just love wearing this cap because it facially completes me and defines differently. Now the judges on the floor behave like a curmudgeon falling from a banana skin. I enjoy the curiosity on the contrary note because this is my folking life.

In recent days I planned to watch classic films of Dustin Hoffman and after a long time, I watched Midnight Cowboy. Jon Voight played the leading role. He was a cowboy from Texas seeking work opportunities in New York. With all the excitement on his face hoping for a new career, things didn’t work and get frustrated living a new yorker life. That drop of emotional complexion is what among the millennials today. The world to us is quite a complicated and hopeless case.

A few days ago I happened to know what craziness everywhere is with the game Pokémon Go. I had no single idea of the game which has taken the world follow it madly everywhere especially on the streets which are some alarm to a social life. By realizing its features and by knowing how exactly this game is played, I was lost for a second. How far has the world gone from making logic? What the folk is wrong with people? I can easily distinguish two different classes of humans nowadays.

On one hand, there is a chaotic world where people are killing each other and both parties don’t even know the purpose behind this. Too much terrorism is disturbing the planet and a general life of a common man. There is too much ego and anger involve that installing or restoring peace between the two has become highly unlikely. While on the other hand, there is a very interesting generation who are roaming the streets, the malls and public places to catch the victims on their smartphones. To what level of craziness an app can take the entire human race!?!

By gaining weight and becoming lazy, I have temporarily stopped following google maps for interesting sites in the kingdom which is another minus to my mood. Globetrotting is a mood swinger which gives you fresh energy. Now I need coordinates for peace where I can listen to myself and follow it. I need fresh air with a bottle of alcohol with a beautiful lady beside me who can understand me, who can accept me, who can become a morphine and please to me.

But it is hard in a cruel world full of hatred and hypocrites because the faith and loyalty nowadays bargain at a cheap price. Meaning and importance of love have been damaged, sincerity has dropped and commitment has no word of mouth. Internet freedom has made things a lot easier to corrupt the word ‘LOVE’. You have more choices of rejecting and accepting a person with the least and easiest excuse that the one to whom you were in relation didn’t stand for you even if you were blatantly wrong. Love is a subject and adultery is the real business of frustration.

If we carefully notice then the newest generation of youngsters is more impatient and frustrated than the older one used to be. Internet freedom is one reason above but other genuine reasons easily are the usage of mechanism in their earliest ages which is making them clever, wit and fast but at the same time they are growing more hyper-tense than the old ones. Today a two-year-old kid can explain to the elders the salient features of smartphones. The kingdom where I live, children of 15 before the turning of new millennium weren’t that bound to television sets and watching films due to many reasons, and one of the reason is lack of TV sets at homes but now a child of 8 uncontrollably can download a film of his choice by illegal source and watch. I sense with the passage of time, nothing will be in our control. The human-made machines will kill the race and generations and we will not have a space of time to blame ourselves. It is an ugly truth.

I do not borrow commitments to tweet a decades-long relationship with ladies because there is no promise to muster my courage to betray the loyalty. Being healthy is when you are at your desiring peace. Fulfillment of lust has more promise than odd expectations in fake relationships. An honest reason to why a man fond of woman’s beauty fall prey to exotic dances and strip shows.

After losing the gem of my life, I don’t desire an espousal but a relationship before a possible nuptial. Because for me, it is disloyalty of love to consider someone for the rank I chose the one I loved the most and lost in brutally unamiable way. And secondly I believe in freedom of choice for both, the lady should have potential enough to replace her which is highly unlikely and I should be good enough for her that she will see her happiness in me.

Folk the love! What am I now? My eyes are catching artificial attractions everywhere I go. Women with crystal looks, deceptive faces full of makeup, winterful smiles, and a rainbow of huge bags are a source of blessing to my punctured and penetrating eyes. Why not is it pleasant? I don’t see any harm if my intentions were not to hurt her or spoil her mood. It is not the love I seek, but the curiosity of eyes I speak.

Jeddah is a potential metropolitan city. It’s nights on the busiest commercial roads are jazz to my ears. Sporadically when I plan to drive the popular and busiest streets of the city at night, I am lost. At that time when I am driving my vehicle, my ears play Bernard Herrmann‘s marvelous saxophone-theme of Taxi Driver. I feel myself Michael Caine driving a classic Aston Martin DB4 or a Mini Cooper S. That is some source of relaxation and comfort.

If you are mentally disturbed and need a peaceful mind, I advise you to listen to Jazz music. Jazz is the best source of music when you need to come out of stress. I recommend you to listen Miles DavisKind of Blue and some other phenomenal numbers of Thelonious Monk and Adderley Brothers.

I quest the eternal spots of repose and solace to relinquish the dystopia. In a bad mad world, the sound of seashores is more pleasant than the sound of silence; farm and cottage houses build on my masonry is a willoughby. A library of books, a shelf of action figures and comic books, a hologram light of Batman in the corner, a Jazz or Opera to my eardrums, four walls covered by frames full of historic wars and portraits, a hookah near my chair, a beautiful charming girl in her lingerie posing a centerfold near the fireplace is my ideal room with a view.

Scold my wonders but no abuse as I articulate my wish and borrow some time for eternal merriment. In my hemispheres, dictating emotions are sharper than a sword, silence is just a roof of all hurrahs. Peace and jazz of my borrowed life are just an endorsement which will swiftly and repeatedly ask me the same question all my life.

I AM SAMI NAIK


 

 

A TRIP TO HELLIFORNIA

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Al Wahba Crater

Being a globetrotter, there have been various trips I diary-milked your reading efforts. I have always felt blessing that the nature of being roady-piper became a source of understanding the secrets of marvelous sites in this kingdom which is by some range long remembered as dry and desert area. Reaching the altitudes or losing the grip down towards the surfaces made me realize that this Kingdom has advertising cards enough to send to the invitees around the world to treasure their experiences. With all the practice of longing the trips somehow, there was one trip which promised to give the unsharpened axe to hit my own head and butt. This trip was expected to be the mega-road-trip event within the kingdom covering almost a week but turned out to be the omen’s curse. Today I am sharing you a painful, embarrassing but a funny trip in six parts.

PILOT

This occurred in Mid-2014. Holy month of Ramadan was ending in July end and I requested almost 1-week internal vacations from my office on the last day and to my exuberance, the request was accepted. Google Map was the binocular of treasure-hunt and more than 35 sites were marked. Participants were approached and succeeded to take three of them.

There were four characters in this road trip:

  1. Gandalf – He had a vision, a road-trip map and stuck on it. Plans had been penned and God’s will was hoped for a peaceful trip.
  2. Alien – He was the first to be approached by Gandalf. He was the co-pilot of Shadowfax. (Old myth confirms, without their mutual understanding, trips wave in the clouds of daydreaming.)
  3. Caesar – This Roman cowboy had an unfinished business but he did join on a condition that he was to be allowed to complete his work. Approved!
  4. Deadpool – This unarmed sidekick had never experienced a road-trip. Teen by age and legal expat by document was making his traveling debut.

 E01 – AAAAAND FUN BEGINS

Gandalf had bought a new backpack from Jarir Bookstore. Alien assisted him. Deadpool had his packing done and by plan, the four creatures left Jeddah after final prayer of the day. As usual, things didn’t work and delayed in wait. The chosen Shadowfax was Hyundai Veloster 2014. All four left by midnight and ate dinner at Raheli station with Arabic rice & chicken dish ‘Matghoot’.

Petrol was filled and left for the first mark. The first mission was to reach Al Wahba Crater which is 367 km drive from Jeddah. But before this, the vehicle stopped at another station, this time for the sake of nature’s call. Deadpool had his embarrassment as he wasn’t used to of not using toilet seat. Toilet partitions were suspicious because few had no locks and water pressure in the hand shower was terribly low as compared to the residential units. Three travelers were done with the cleaning but Deadpool wasn’t coming out as he had his more frustrating adventure debut. The toilet unit he chose had no shower but a small bucket lol. Gandalf checked all the units and found the last one with the toilet seat lol. As Deadpool was washing his hands, he pointed at the unit and he took all his chance to that unit. The sidekick took time again and this time there was no water lol. It was just the beginning and left the station for Al Wahba Crater.

This Al Wahba crater is almost similar to Barringer Crater located in Arizona desert of the United States. Al Wahba Crater according to Wikipedia source is 250m (820ft) deep and 2km (1.2mi) in diameter. It is so deep that if you throw a stone from the top, you will listen its end in 6 seconds. There has been much speculation about the origin of crater. Many believed a meteorite hit the place. According to Wikipedia, many geologists agree that Al Wahba Crater is a Maar crater which is caused by a phreatomagnetic eruption. That is an explosion caused by groundwater coming into contact with hot lava or magma.

There was less but enough time to enjoy the site. The car was parked and stood on the top from where they can view the whitish surface of the base in the dark. All four travelers lied on the rug and focused on the falling stars. It was so exciting to look above the sleeping sky with millions and millions of stars and counting the one moving from its edge. Sun oped its eyes on the surface to bring beauty on the surface and time arrived to move the vehicle towards the spot where the hikers were to descend down.

Gandalf decided not to go down because he knew that once all climb back, then all will be dead exhausted and journey towards the next mark will become questionable. So he saved his energy and the rest descended down. It was a silence in the alfresco. After every 10 minutes, Gandalf used to check from the corner if he could view anyone’s feet touching the surface. In 20 minutes, he finally watched two small ants Caesar and Deadpool on the floor. Like I wrote above that the crater is 250m deep so the microscopic expectations are high from such altitude. Alien was exhausted and had told both the hikers to reach the surface by themselves as he will take rest. Was that rest going to ease his exhaustion? Here began an unexpected change of fortune.

E02 – MISS CALL FROM OMEN!

While lying in his shadowfax with the bags and snacks, Gandalf got a call from Deadpool and updated him that the Alien was in trouble and cannot climb. Before going down, Deadpool called him again informing that they somehow are trying to climb and reach. When they came back, they further informed that he had vomit and excreted loose motion. They had no remedy but Gandalf did know that by distance of 50kms, there is a general hospital in Mahad adh Dhahab. According to Wikipedia, this Mahad adh Dhahab is a gold mining area of Madinah province.

The driver tried his best to reach the spot asap and kept asking if he was feeling better. They reached the hospital and Caesar took him to emergency ward while Deadpool and Gandalf rushed towards the toilet to clear the hours-long unfinished business. Deadpool had finally used a comfortable toilet with a convincing hand shower lol since that stop before Wahbah. The alien informed the clinician that he has a history of lactose intolerance. He had his treatment for the next couple of hours and there was confusion over the ill state of the patient and time of recovery and all the landmarks they were planning to reach on this trip. There was a huge question mark and time was running. Mahad adh Dhahab was the next mark after Al Wahba Crater but from Mahad, they had to reach Al Shahanah Historical Tower in Ar Rass town in five hours by the time 4pm. But it was 12pm already.

Gandalf noticed there was a partition in emergency ward for each gender. Male and female ERs were separate by some distance and located in opposite directions. Surprisingly there was neither water in any dispenser nor tissues and water in the toilets near ERs. Plus, there were no chairs for the patient’s people in ER. So either they sit on his/her deathbed or stood firm staring hither and thither. There was a very old patient who wasn’t able to walk properly. He wasn’t provided a wheelchair; instead his son told him to sit nearby and didn’t help him sit!

Hours later, the doctor had passed him and allowed to take him with them. At this moment the travelers had mixed emotions. Caesar proposed the idea to return back as it was not safe to go ahead with not-fully-recovered Alien. But Gandalf argued that the next stopping is over 500kms from Mahad to Ar Rass, and when they reach the destiny, Alien will take all his rest and fully recover. With the series of useless arguments, they took the risk and the plan went ahead.

E03 – TIRANT & TIRANNY

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Shadowfax: First Blood

Within 10 minutes after leaving the hospital ad driving towards Ar-Rass, the vehicle suffered when one of the tires hit a huge pothole which further reduced the chances of reaching the landmark at time. Not only the tire was punctured but they had doubts over the rim. In the middle of the silent road and extreme sun-heat, the tire was replaced with the stepney small enough to limit the speed below 80kph. The new tire was the demand of the situation but more to the misery was that shadowfax had low-profile legs (17 inch rims) and availability of such leg in a small town was very low. It was 2pm already when most of the shops were closed at that time and if any shop by chance was open, they could not have arranged that particular tire.

Alien was dead sleeping, Caesar was sleepy but Deadpool was very dehydrated because the source of drinking water had also became an issue. This trip was becoming an unexpected curse as nothing was going right. After all these miseries, Gandalf changed his plan to reach Madinah instead of Ar Rass only if the low-profile tire is not found in the coming stations on the road. Caesar was insisting to abandon the trip and return back but he was convinced that the issue will be resolved in few moments. Gandalf crossed Mahad area, long broad road was inviting more exhaustion over patience as every next tire shop he checked, he found no such tire to restore the faith in completing this journey. Every time he stopped, he had to drop all the bags from the car boot to take out the dead tire to show and ask the worker if any life can be restored. And he got the same response that the new low profile tire had to be bought and won’t be possible to locate on the next stop. Finally, Gandalf made his mind to reach Madinah and buy a new tire.

All were dead slept and there was no sign of life during the destiny as the stepney-bound vehicle was driven at not more than 50kph to avoid further more obstacles and reach Madinah safely which was 200kms away.  The current scenario was exasperating Gandalf as the vehicle wasn’t able to gallop. All what he saw was a range of mountains stretched at lengths on both sides. All he could do was pray to Lord to avoid further curses and not to involve in any intrusion. With remaining distance dropping, the color of sky changed with the hailing darkness inviting the four retired veterans of hope to Madinah. Caesar woke up and witnessed the Holy Mosque. He forwarded his wish to visit the Holy Mosque but Gandalf refused to take him at the site due to the fact that the visit will cost hours and waking up early in the morning for the next destiny will become impossible due to reckless sleep in late hours.

After the tire recovered from a shop, the travelers quested a suitable hotel and found an acceptable shelter with only one room and a toilet. For Gandalf’s misery, the toilet had no lock but was bound to take bath while holding the door from one hand, embarrassing. The alien was taking a much proper rest and it raised Gandalf’s hope that his co-pilot will be all fit and on his legs by morning. For dinner, Gandalf and Caesar looked after a possible restaurant and to their huge surprise; there was a Pakistani restaurant open in late hours. The demanded food was getting prepared and took almost half an hour and while returning back; the pilot lost his way and took further half an hour. Indeed Gandalf had breathed an ill-fated day.

Before all fell asleep, Gandalf and Caesar restored their argument over hopeless future of lengthy trip. Caesar’s incomplete work had no ending as he was supposed to submit his work via internet that very night. He wanted to go an internet café nearby to finish the work but there was no such place. Then he decided to look for available flight seats, go airport and give up the trip. Somehow he postponed this decision. Yep that was Day 1.

E04 – GOOD MORNING BAD DREAM!

No special dreams were arranged for few hours as everyone woke up with best hopes and high spirits. Due to exhausting schedule and collapse of timing, Gandalf altered the plan and skipped the plan of driving towards ar-Rass town and Uyun al Jawa city which were the sites to be reached after Mahad adh Dhahab. His next stopping was Hail city which was landmarked on Gandalf’s original treasure-hunting map. Alien was still not fit and worried Caesar was still not confident to precede the next mark. Gandalf was determined with high hopes. They checked out from the hotel wearing backpack and bags in hand. Dropping from stairs of the hotel, Gandalf was informed that the condition of kidney patient had deteriorated again; I mean the new tire of vehicle had lost all the blown air. It was a major shock, sudden punch on the lurking face, start of another hopeless episode of lengthy trip and beginning of bad morning with uninvited curse.

The faces were dropped to meet a new low. They didn’t have enough money to checked-in the same hotel nor can they all sit in the car to increase chances of further problems in the vehicle. It was hardly 6 in the morning and to injure further expectations, it was Friday; so the chance of meeting a mechanic in an opened shop at this time was also very low. So the refugees took their bags out from the vehicle, and sat in the waiting area and let Gandalf drove the effected vehicle in hope to spot a mechanic in any part of the…. city.

Gandalf drove the vehicle hardly at 10kph. Embarrassment was that a lot of people were staring the vehicle and its driver. In fact some labor-class Pakistanis were smiling at his fate and whispering the case to the others. It was very awkward experience, in fact more annoying when he was at traffic signal and had to hark horns of crazy drivers behind despite the fact that he had turned on the hazard lights. He drove in this fashion for 20 minutes and to his surprise, he found a Pathan mechanic in one shop working on the other vehicle. Sigh of relief!

The mechanic’s verdict was dispiriting one and he declared the rim to be more problematic than the tire. He advised him to drive slow and safe but change the rim asap. Gandalf returned back to hotel to see sleepy faces. He was still positive to overturn the curse and proceed towards his plan. When they came to know he was still reluctant to return back, Caesar insisted to him to reconsider his courage.

Then the silent Alien, his best-man in all the trips, requested to drop him at bus station so that he will return back home and the rest may continue their journey. His illness had seized him to bring any positive intention for this trip. He had given up. This was the moment when Gandalf lost his edge and realized the highly promising trip is meeting its unfortunate conclusion. His determination met a severe low and dropped all the plans. It was finally concluded that they were collectively giving up the plan and returning home. Alien’s giving up was the only way to overturn his decision. It was a very sad but acceptable end of the trip. Taking a chance out of this concluded bad luck, Caesar humbly asked in soft tone if he could now let him visit Holy Mosque!!! He still refused and left Madinah city.

E05 – THE FASTEST SLOTH TO PENINSULA

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Shadowfax: Last Blood

The time was hardly 8 in the morning and the vehicle was driven at mere 40kph. It was a huge drop in speed to escape any remaining curses. The temperature was heating high and all were dead sleeping once again. It was a very ugly traveling debut of Deadpool who had toilet and dehydration issues the whole time. He had given miserable updates to his family at home during the whole trip and this time he had informed that they were returning back.

Distance between Madinah and Jeddah is roughly 450kms and the cars at normal speed reach the distance in 4 hours and 20 minutes. But in their case, the calculations and expectations were painful. Gandalf had to play his random songs to normalize his mood because he was still enraged of this terrible fate. Caesar was excited to return back and that excitement was infuriating him. So whatever random song he asked to keep it play, he tuned to the next song and behaved like a sheepish child. After some time he was back to normality because it was foolish to depict sadness on the concluded one.

Less than 100kms were left when the rim changed its mind again and decided to irritate the travelers by excreting air from the tire. It was noon and sun was above their heads on a highway full of running trucks. It was easily the unluckiest trip ever suffered and the stepney tire was fixed again. The vehicle in most part of the journey was at pace lower than the heavy vehicles but faster than any of Terrence Malick films. They finally reached home in almost 7 hours. More than half of the duration was taken in driving the vehicle at 40kph which forcibly turned into max 80kph later. Gandalf was physically done and dropped himself to bed with body ache. He was not in his senses and all his ears heard were from his father in the other room saying “Perhaps God had not accepted this plan”.

The remaining days of the short vacation were also spent mostly in pain as Gandalf suffered loose motions on long run. Perhaps he was lucky to return back on time to suffer this at home instead of the places he had never been too.

This unforgettable incident happened in 2014 but I began to write somewhere in Oct.2015 and is now finally completed by the end of July in 2016. I don’t know if I should thank the participants to make this trip unforgettable (for sad reasons) but I would like to apologize to them for rude behavior caused from the events full of misfortunes. The real identities of four characters I named in this blog will not be disclosed.

May you readers and travelers not face the obstacles and enjoy the trip with excitement, Amen.

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The Four Principle Characters of The Story

The Old Ruins of Khuraybah

One boring day, I was sitting idle on my office chair, had less burden of work and no idea of what-to-do was existing. Then I began clicking my old Facebook albums and I found few albums of my past trips with my globetrotting buddies. And I realized that the year 2015 was empty of any attempt of exploration. Then my brain cells discovered a puffy cloud of thought that I should dig some interesting sites on Google Maps. Minutes later, I found a route between Rabigh and Yanbu, opposite to Mastourah which lead towards two ancient villages of Al-Abwa and Khuraybah. The pictures of ruin sites on the Google Maps looked very interesting. I marked the place and informed my fellow Pirates of the Arabian the new spot to dig the treasure of history.

Weeks passed by, and our commitments didn’t match to drive any weekend till 18/9. Our plan was to reach the destiny at the time of sunrise to avoid unbearable temperature. But somehow the plan didn’t work and left Jeddah by sunrise. The place is 257km away from Jeddah but if you drive between 120kph-140kph, you can easily reach within three hours. The chosen transport of legitimacy was Mazda 6 2014.

Route to al-Abwa & Khuraybaah

Our first stopping was at the Raheli station where we bought a can of Pringles, few Bison energy drinks, couple of Kit-Kat chunky, Max-Chili flavor of Lay’s, bottles of cold water, half kg of bananas and a packet of seeds.

Some plans hesitate our desires and get delay and that was the very same case with us when we left by sunrise at 6 am but the advantage of leaving late was that we had all benefits to get our eyeballs seduce to the nature’s beauty existing on our left and right. The sun rising on my right promised mountain eclipse with the light rays waking the land and our sleepy mission. I didn’t sleep that well because I generally am much used to of sleeping maximum 1 am but for this plan, I had to change my normal routine and off to bed at 11 pm and coming out of grave at nearly 3 am.

My friends, Athos and Porthos, have been in major contribution in all my/our expeditions that include Madain Saleh, Johfa Fort, Thee-Ain Village and Wahbah Crater. This Abwa-Khuraybah plan was our first expedition since Nov.2014. Yeah, commitments and responsibilities have delayed/postponed our plans to that amount of time. This was the first time that we three drove the same car in any trip. Most of the time, not more than two were driving in any trip. I always had issue of mobile battery charging as my Xperia Z is always spitting life faster than blood due to tremendous use of making high-quality videos and images. But this time, my buddy brought inverter.

The temperature was touching in mid-30s and was promising that the heat will folk us hard. We three always share common understanding of playing roadies musical tracks in our vehicle. Mostly these are trance and house music. So we basically have no musical disagreements while the destiny is breathing.

We never realize that the time passed so fast as the destiny was less than a dozen kilometers. Our first mission was to spot a site of religious significance; the grave of Bibi Aminah (R.A.), the mother of Prophet Muhammad (S.A.W.). Aminah (R.A.) was Qurayshi by tribe from Banu Zahrah clan. When the prophet was 5 or 6, Aminah introduced him to Yathrib (Madinah) and his extended family. While traveling back towards Mecca (Makkah), she fell ill and died. And she was buried in the village of Al-Abwa God knows where this grave is? Hellooooo anyone!! I am in the middle of the road! On my left were some suspicious mountains which make me feel the probability of her grave and on my right was a small village where my fellow diggers were using the toilet.

It was pretty silent place and I saw few children playing until they stared at us and ran towards their guardian. Didn’t know if I scared them *feeling annoyed*, do my face carry a haunting image? Oh I also noticed a herd of sheep staring at us. They do respond and speak in God knows very very strange voice. I did ask one of the kind if it knew the grave but failed to understand its gesture.

Baa-Baa Interrogated…

We actually were too urban for the place and its inhabitants as the car approached towards us and began interrogating. He was a very rude man who had no intention to help us in locating the spot and told us to leave asap. We did leave and relied on the Google map.

We stopped to the opposite site of the mounts where we were predicting the possibility. We climbed one of the easiest low-altitude mountain and began sniffing around for 20 minutes. There was no help and we googled the site and found some images of her grave with the stones colored green and some had the stones covered with green cloth. With confusion arousing and rising temperature welcoming, we left the spot with disappointment. Fate was not with us to stand near the grave of prophet’s mother and I was scared of our plans meeting further failure when the village of al-Abwa was nothing but a wasteland with few dozens of people holding their heart and walking on the street. As it was Friday morning, so there was an understood silence with all the shops closed. There were many ruins and wild bushes installed to make the place look either interesting or distressful enough to expect a zombie by our next stopping.

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After 10 minutes drive, things became lively when we saw a small farm. In our surrounds, there were mostly private properties with land cruisers. Google Maps was confusing us in picking an exact route towards Khuraybah where I had my target for the purpose of this trip to view the old ruins what I viewed in my first attempt while sitting idle at office once. Those were improper roads going towards Khuraybah but it wasn’t that hard. Reaching such hard tracks with ease is comfortable if you have a SUV.

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Yesssss we made it!!! By some distance I stared an ancient mosque which was in google maps. There was some life back in our mission as we reached the spot. The place surely is not well-known to the common travelers as we found an ancient mosque and some 63 same-dimension ruins of most probably shops or houses. There is some sign of civilization far a distance but there is no sign-board to explain us what history lies here. Sun heat was getting worse as I began sweating and our mobiles warming. Making videos became a problem as we tried to cover most of the important figures of the site.

Spot Discovery…

I explored the interior and exterior side of the ancient mosque with no dome and minaret above the ceiling. The ceiling work is all wooden furnished which gave us some idea that the work is not that ancient as compared to the houses built on marble mountain in Thee-Ain village where the ceilings were made from juniper trees. The same juniper case was in Deira City of al-Ula, the old town consisting of 1032 houses.

Presentation…

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Presentation 2…

My fellow pirates decided to climb a nearby mountain to explore and have a complete look of the view on an altitude. Meanwhile, myself down near the mosque, I spotted a large rock with ancient islamic calligraphy with the words of Shahada. And that was the only rock I found. I tried to locate more familiar rocks but that was the masterpiece.

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Some historians or archaeologists should dig this place and come with some useful results. This place is inviting and explorers like we did feel the heat but found an amazement in checking such historic place. I have tried to research this place on the internet and some literature sources are indicating that sites of Rabigh, al-Abwa, Khuraybah and Johfah were once a pilgrim station for Syrians and Egyptians.

The mountain climbers descend down as we approached towards the vehicle to take rest. Minutes later, we left towards the ruins again. These are 63 ruins, each carrying almost same width as the height cannot be considered because some of these are incomplete. Each ruin is consisted of black stones. There was nothing in these ruins. Only few were covered with thorns and wild plants. None of the ruins had ceilings which creates further more doubts of its ever being houses or shops. How come the houses or shops never have ceilings? Out of 63 ruins, 23 were partitioned. Yeah we did count below the teasing sun. Our stay at Khuraybah was not more than 90 minutes but exploring with such amount of time at the temperature somewhere near 40s is still some craziness.

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We left the spot with some great experience and while we were taking u-turn towards Jeddah, we swiftly decided to check Masturah beach. Masturah sea is located exactly opposite road of the targeted site. We were hoping to witness heaven of sea-view in Masturah but happened contrary. It was unexpectedly a very dull and boring place with no life at sea. Not a single human existed on the beach and it was understood.

Masturah is not only a beach under the surface of Red Sea but carries historic significance. Islamic geographers and travelers in old times have mentioned few way stations and one of them existed long time ago in Masturah where water was abundant. It also was a small sea port in early Islamic period. Masturah today is differed with new and old areas divided by old road that leads between Makkah and Madinah. The old Masturah was a station as mentioned above, and there were huts and plenty of wells. Each well was 8 meters in depth and its wall 1 meter thick.

Anyhow we left the spot with no change in emotions. While returning back, I was driving and my fellows were extremely tired and taking a nap. It was a wonderful trip and folk yeahhh!! we did miss Friday prayer lol.

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The Green Passion

The place where I open my eyes… The place where my father was allowed to earn his livelihood, to bring his spouse and make his family…. The place where their people allowed to have my own national school and complete my education….

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The place where Prophet Mohammad (S.A.W.) was born… The place where Islam was born and the God’s message revealed… The place where earth’s two of the three holiest mosques Masjid al-Haram and Masjid an-Nabawi are protected by those who call themselves it’s custodians…

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The chosen nation whose chosen leaders not only serve their people but the entire Muslim brotherhood by providing you the best possible service in your Umrah and Hajj… Whose leaders invest billions and billions of dollars in holy mosque expansions to facilitate our prayers and worships…

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It has been 85 years when King Abdulaziz announced the country as a kingdom. There is no such example where the religion and its followers are served in that massive capacity with token of respect… And today we celebrate this day with love and respect…

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Saudi National Day 2013

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May God bless my Kingdom of Saudi Arabia….

May God bless my King, the Custodian of the Two Holy Mosques King Salman ibn Abdulaziz al Saud

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My Selfish Diary: Chasing the Time

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In three words I can sum up everything I’ve learned about life: it goes on” (Robert Frost)


Chasing the Time…

The title says it all. We all earthlings are chasing the time, questing for happiness, hiding our tears, hoping for peace, begging for mercy, seeking a justice, digging our graves, listening to the whispers, silencing the outcry, watching the cruelty, praying the pardon, facing the warned….

But above all…

We are chasing the time…

And this chase continues and time keeps defeating us again and again and again.

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There was a home where I came to my senses, and I began completing my tenses. I began learning how to eat and wear the clothes, I began reading how to become able to life by …….. passing your academic exams. I began searching the lost soul of wisdom. I began dreaming high where the guardians forbid. There was a home where I celebrated my birthdays as the years went by and never realized that a year of my life existing on earth had its final say. There was a home where I came to an age of enticement and abide.

 

But there was a home where I never came to understand, I never came to realize that all my life was a ‘bloody LIE’, deceived by my own, humbled by a beast within me, truth never exposed or juxtaposed, cries never listened but heard… Yes… there was a home, missed by miles. Held my nerves, breathed and carried on.
There was a home I lived for two decades, where I began to talk, where I began to read and write my name, grew up, succeeded and lost….. Then all of a sudden in 2004, I lost my home… I lost my world… I lost my shelter… My eyes saw it destroyed, had no power to stop… Held my nerves, breathed and carried on.


The truth is you don’t know what is going to happen tomorrow. Life is a crazy ride, and nothing is guaranteed” (Eminem)


Indeed justification of life is unpredictable. And that is what happened when I lost that 20-year-old home. I had never expected what was coming in next 10 years. My family in the Kingdom then faced the most expensive outcry of breathing the alfresco i.e., the home I lost was not the last I moved. We were bound to change our residence three more times in next 8 years.

It was 12,000 SAR yearly rent of my 20-year-old home, a decade later I recently moved to my 5th home with a yearly rent of 26,000 SAR… For the first time in 30 years, I left the area where I grew up because of recent house-shifting crisis. And for what reasons?? Lemme blog out…

It was a perfect FML script written by someone above the rainless clouds. So allow me to speak a chapter of a turnaround in one expat family.

For years, we fed a cat since the day it began shouting from the back base of our building. It began climbing the stairs and sensed the familiar scent at doorsteps. It became a routine and soon all neighbors realized the cat-human real-life bond in their building. It became a disturbance, kids of our neighbors got scared and routinely began shouting all over the building.

Time passes by and natural phenomena began to reveal from the cat’s belly. It became a threat for us as we knew from our old experiences that cat never bore less than two kittens at a time. She gave birth to six kittens down the backyard of the building. Three of these died earlier but the rest also began to tweet the mother. Neighbors blamed the running circus on floors of building on us and warned they would kill all of these creatures if we didn’t manage to keep these stay away from the stairs. So we were bound to pet four kittens last year and they grew to adult age. This re-state of keeping cats as pets was not that expensive like before but of course, money talks.

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Now let’s walk the talk. This last residency was a fly drown in a glass of water. In the beginning, the man to whom we signed the contract, left the building in few days and we realized that there is some years-long rift between him and his brothers. We kept receiving threats from his mental brothers to leave the spot but threats were harmless. Once one of them took my brother to the counselor and things were not that same. It was hard to consider another shifting of residence in such an expensive living environment.

A couple of months ago, my mom left to India after a long waiting state of applying for the visa. Soon she left, a couple of cops marched our doorsteps in few days to leave the building asap. It looked alarming situation but we were confirming from the owner of the building. The day came when the owner gave the painful briefing to leave the building in not more than a week. A week!!!!

The owner was in a very sorry state with the explanation that his brother registered the property case on his brother in court and a short notice issued to evacuate the building in a week. The quarrel was blundered between the brothers but the most to a gash and suffer were we the tenants. With heart in our mouth, here began Wacky Races between the tenants of searching their next residency with a global-warming acidic yearly rent to confront.


 “Life is a dream for the wise, a game for the fool, a comedy for the rich, a tragedy for the poor” (Sholom Aleichem)


Due to big-money rent pay involve in every ‘House for Rent’, the option to leave our area of 3-decades-stay become mandatory. It was the most disappointing search due to the reason. I was observing where the world is meeting its end, where are we going, how things are getting expensive, how life is getting complicated. With all our efforts to make a flat our home, we somehow began struggling to look for a new flat to pretend it a home and chasing the time again.

Then comes another painful time when we paid our final goodbye to our first ever car. 1982 model of Mazda 929 was our very first car bought back in mid 90’s. My father, myself and my brother learnt driving and the vehicle became the base of our normal routine with millions of golden memories. Last decade, it couldn’t afford the strength enough to stay long with us with many problems. It became a patient with regular medic visits. Later on, we bought Chevrolet Optra 5 years ago. We became used to of it. Then I bought Hyundai Veloster last year and then this Mazda became a history. Dead for a long time, the goodbye was very emotional. The dead car was in such a shape to bring a feeling as if a long-run loyal and faithful horse is finally giving up life to its owners.

Father has his final goodbye to a car which stayed almost two decades with many golden memories
Father has his final goodbye to a car which stayed almost two decades with many golden memories

As the days passed by, the short notice period came close to our throats. The cruel the nature of terrible fate was the absence of a wife/mother at home which was enough to break us badly. The quest of shelter continued and survival of the fittest finally met in last remaining 120 hours (almost close to Aaron Ralston’s fate).


Often when we lose hope and think this is the end….GOD smiles from above and says, ‘Relax, sweetheart, it’s just a bend, not the end!’” – Unknown


Living in Faisaliyah district, once questing in Bawadi district meeting a disappointment and returning back with a kind friend helping me in my quest. I was about to take a u-turn to my home with a mourning face to end another day in grief unfinished business, struck a hammer on my brain to take my chance near to Al-Salamah district with few remaining minutes to Maghrib prayers. The questing session in Al-Salamah looked fade with no sign of hope as usual until our eyes met a building with a signboard ‘House for rent’. ’twas like if the most beautiful girl offered me her life…..

Anyhow the location was observed and was far beyond than a level of satisfaction. This home was bought with no waste of time in taking the decision at 26,000 SAR (after bargaining btw). The next challenge was……….. shifting without mother!!!

To our good luck, when shifting was to be done, the weekends were about to began with the most possibility that our friends will help us in such critical situation. And that did happen, saying a humble ‘Thank You’ wasn’t enough nor was I able to make words or phrases to express the support I received from them.

A large vehicle was too expensive and unaffordable. So the camel of a carriage was one of our friend’s pickup. So expectations of numerous rounds of shifting were already expected, and efforts of more the time-consuming on moving and dropping objects at a pace were on the count. We had enough friends to help us on that particular weekend of exhaustion and combustion.

The real session was taking all the home stuff from top floor to base. Plus the packing especially the kitchen accessories required mom’s assistance. In her absence, my father and brothers had to repeatedly co.ordinate with her on Skype, through a video chat she had to view every inch of shifting stuff and decide what to reject or not. Thanks to technology which made it lil easy to co.ordinate our complicated home shifting without her presence but presence.

The interesting scene was of cabinets of the kitchen. The newly bought home had only one cabinet. Buying the new was within our financial reach, the only idea brought things to accept reality was to take the existing cabinets with us. My father proposed this idea and my brother seeking permission from the owner, he gave his consent. Within few minutes, the owner called and gave us consent to take all the cabinets (he did permit to show his anger for sure on his brother’s case filing attempt). Opening the cabinets, you need a special mechanism to un-wall. Our pickup friend helped out, with other friends altogether put the heavy labor of hours to take household shape in our matters.

Under 48 hours my father and our friends had unscrewed all major furniture and fittings, every single piece was poured down from one stair to another. Housing in 2nd floor, a friend proposed an idea that each of us must stand on each corner of stairs down till the pickup and movement of objects can be made faster in different hands at a time. The plan worked, energy saved, morale boosted. In almost three days, the whole of household items was moved. Physical exhaustion had its peak.

Not one but four tenants were shifting the same day... absolute madness!!
Not one but four tenants were shifting the same day… absolute madness!!

The view of home shifting in the building was an absolute madness. It was expected that moving of tenants within a week will make things look abnormal but one brother’s fight for power and hunger for money messed the whole situation with the funny part that he himself was the tenant of this building. They were four brothers in all once living in this building, the rest you may understand…

The day shifting began, was the day of presenting household items in shape of an open exhibition. Not only were we moving our stuff with a pickup waiting outside, also were three other tenants joining the household labor parade with two trucks parked and congested the place with no cars to move a big space. The 4-tenants open exhibition produced a dozen labors plus ourselves bringing down the items, and a lively atmosphere of children of tenants playing outside. It was an outcry.


Once you say you’re going to settle for second, that’s what happens to you in life” (John F. Kennedy)


With the beginning of a new week by night, we introduced all of our four cats to the new home. Naturally, they didn’t accept the change. Confound and feeling betrayed, sniffing and wandering. With new home installed on the ground floor, guests of Al-Salamah were about to face their toughest challenge, meet the local cats of Al-Salamah. The local salamah.fm began to invite the outbreak outside our home, as the local cats surrounding outside the netted balcony looked like the White Walkers of ‘Game of Thrones’.

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Tabby a.k.a. Chipku.. Recognize it in a picture above

With all the cats struggling to accept the change, one of these could not qualify and met to its disaster. Rebuilding a new enthusiasm of unpacking, screwing and placing all the items, we fell mentally disturbed towards the nature of this cat. Unnaturally it went shouting for 12 straight hours. The next morning my father began shouting that it was hitting his head on the wall and walking like a blind. He was right, that cat dramatically lost his eyesight, he wasn’t able to see or understand what lies ahead of its walk anymore.

In few hours, we met another sign of horror from it, the cat was now not even sensing normally. Shaking, moving its head, lying like a dead, eyeballs getting wide and not attending us like before. We rushed to the vet clinic where the doc stated a temporary brain injury by perhaps a hit on its head allowing blindness. Brain injury meant it would not last for long. We could not hold tears and return home hopeless.

The other story broke in India when I came to know that mom had a terrible sprain on lumbar spine which pulled her nerves. She wasn’t able to walk or sit. Therapy was going for weeks. She didn’t inform us due to our shifting crises. My mother could have completed her therapy in India with a genuine delay, but yet again the local Kingdom procedures of iqama renewals made her return to Kingdom soon. These surely were the hardest times of life at a very wrong time.

My brother and I began cleaning the brain hit cat. It was kept in balcony alone for days due to the fact that it went crazy with other cats and was a possibility to spread its problem in other. The cat wasn’t able to move or walk. It passed its urine on its own body, in addition of bags of dust and litter already occupying its skin.  We realized that further dirt will increase chances of increasing the disease or such a massive pain will kill it severely. We put the cat on bath by pouring water on it, lice-shampooed its body, brushed and combed it. Cleaned and washed the balcony. Mom had advised us to manage Zamzam water for its drinking and wiping it while praying some supplications.

Things worked as the cat struggled to survive and tried to bring things back to normality. In these days, Alhamdulillah it is active and can sense normally but lack the eyesight. On the other hand, my mother began walking and returned back to the city. How strange the life can be, she left to India in one home and returned in the other.

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More stories and incidents will enter my life. Until now this is one critical chapter really needed to blog off. The reason behind writing this blog isn’t a personal diary to open. My purpose of narrating a sudden panic in life is to tell the reader how a common man in the Kingdom gets hypnotized of a situation when a second person indirectly kicks you and makes your life miserable. How a citizen becomes an expat.

While reading the whole, one will realize a socio-economic issue is persistently prevailing. Being a common man, I am not physically tortured but wounded with a burning fate trying to escape. The man who filed the case was no one to me, and life of the whole family got messed. The one who will collect family iqamas indirectly made mom’s health at risk but with no intention. Had there no such rules, my mother had fully and quickly recovered in India. The doctor who stated the cat suffered the brain injury was incorrect.

Last of all, I would like to thank my friends who helped us in our critical times of home shifting. Although I don’t write names in the blogs but I should mention due to their efforts. I would like to thank Moizuddin Bhai for helping us out in the unstoppable quest for new residency and supported/guided us when required. I would like to thank our friends Faizan, Alpha, Taha, Maroof and Rizwan who helped us in home shifting and worked day and night. In the end, I would like to especially thank Waqas and Umair, without whom this amount of work would neither have been finished nor the shifting would have ever been possible. May Allah bless you all.

It is all about only one person to rely on, cheer, motivate and make him/her powerful to survive the life and make him/her run with time. YOU. Believe in yourself… Time will pass by and will never stop and we all will grow more and more and more. So

Always look on the Bright Side of Life (Monty Python)


I AM SAMI NAIK

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My Selfish Diary: A Starving Patience

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(Yawnnnnnnnn)

Je me baladais sur l’avenue
Le coeur ouvert à l’inconnu
J’avais envie de dire bonjour
À n’importe qui
N’importe qui ce fut toi
Je t’ai dit n’importe quoi
Il suffisait de te parler
Pour t’apprivoiser – [Joe Dassin – Champs Elysées (1969)]

(Yawnnnnnnnn)

11.30 am Thursday…
Date unknown…

Thursday is half day… mmm full day…
Half asleep and full snoring…

Itching my ass and dust on my bed…
A rumbling routine and mumbling routine…

Sumbuddy aching my ears to WAKE UP!!!! Ahhh it is not my harlot in scarlet, it is our confound abba (father) in twilight. Now what??? yeah prayer time… so lets pray and worship Facebook…

I am the face of book on hat-trick to get blocked for past few years. I am one of the profiles who receive boring notifications but fold my legs on the sofa when receive a message in inbox. What is inside???? Nothing… it was just a fucking 8-ball pool game invitation!!!!

Good morning Jeddah. My beloved city where I was born, where I was raised from boyhood to adulthood. The food and sea of this city is the pride specialty. 

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Mornings and Evenings, I walk the lines in awakenings…. in city of happenings…. driving in the shelter of persuasion and embracement that the automobiles will be at peace but not piece… but tragically it is tantalizingly a no-holds-barred match at every space of road…

Every vehicle in Jeddah is experimented not with the driver’s capacity of capable driving but overcoming the feasibility of meeting the ditches in the road. I am a proud citizen to be one of many who encounter and flounder.

Hail the morning of Jeddah. My city is half-awake till call of prayer for Zuhr. The cars parked are washed with the washer half-asleep. Breakfasts are done for hours with no fixed timings. Building constructions are performed by unskilled labors. 

Traffic are jammed, minor vehicle-hit accidents have made the roads congested. Cafeterias are noisy of orders and frying eggs but salons and stationary are dull. Banks are crowded and govt offices carry long stinky queues. Translation offices have problems in their scanners and printers. Nurses in medical institutions are coming on time and patients are long waiting for the arrival of doctors. 

Educational sites are over-crowded with every size of life-appetizers and transports whereas industrial areas suffer more of heavy trucks, breaking the traffic signals and bounding the other vehicles to cross any side resulting into hours long traffic jam. Malls in morning are bunk places and malls in evening are over-crowded with more walks and talks, entering the shops, gimmicking the individuality, asking the prices and walking away.

In well-popularized malls, morning witnesses many foreign customers than evenings. Most of the flock of feminine are famines in self-presentation, very cosmetic-bluffed, powdered more than a clown, eyebrows furnished like Groucho Marx and contesting their slimness with the hockey stick or HB pencil.

As a customer, they are worst than the Chinese. Few of them don’t even know to whether pull or push the door of boutique outlet. As the trip ends and comes out of mall, their outside world is more cruel with the reception of world’s most cheapest wannabe boyfriends and freshy bunkers/bonkers. Oh world!!!! where are you moving towards????

A city/country with tremendous potential and source, but outspoken when it cannot meet the criteria of world’s social and moral customs. Within the binding of living culture lies a stinky ego in the alfresco. Ex-pets and local-pets are fragmented/tormented to each other by abiding the rules & laws, which are sometimes confused with religion, sometimes barred with gender-mixing and sometimes unjustified with social life and employments.

When I take a look at history of human civilization, making of warriors and empires, rising of arm forces; I come to realize and make my firm belief that there are only and only 2 ways when the greatest nations in the world are build;
1. Either by ruling over the others or
2. By building the empire/nation on your own.

What part are we, what land are we?
What soil we fertile, why curse we missile?
What proud are we, then why hopeless are we?

May we all realize and correct our mistakes, admit our sins and ask for repentance, sustain and maintain with words of wisdom under the guidance and protection of Allah.. Ameen.

May my prays and wishes come true, but that is a further stage, what about now. We suffer the duffer and praise the bluffer. The animals exemplify how human they are, we tend to qualify how animal we are. The brothers fight under plight and we smell more nonsense when we realize their bizarre reasons, is that what we live to listen for?

The world we are living is the place where your newspapers are absolute lawyers of liars and social networking websites are truth-speakers. The world we are breathing is the place where the educators and thinkers (influenced to many millions of viewers, listeners and readers) are non-believers to the existence of Allah but the poorest and the beggar of His blessing is the most religious and faithful to Allah. Just take a moment and think about it!

We bullshit the utter nonsense that science and technology has exceeded the limit of serving humanity and easing/comforting the life. Really?? Then why we suffer more diseases than before?? Why the young generation has become more frustrated than before?? Why people are complaining more of heart diseases, increase of sugar level or blood pressure than before?? If condoms are the gateway of safe sexual intercourse, then why are there more cases of HIV than before? Don’t irritate, just think about it!

With time goes by, our minds are controlled with the installment and persistence of fixed jurisdiction throughout the world. We are bound to think to the limit, not crossing the limit and thinking beyond. This is the soup in the bowl, this is bread in the plate, now have your meal. We are the most common creatures to accept what is said and done. We confess what the majority decides and declare a person either he is truth-speaker or a liar, a leader or deceiver.

When we come to the conclusions after summing all the united states of confusions and distortion, everything goes messed and wrong. Clashes between different schools of thought begin, historic sites are put on demolition, peace is pieced by unrest strikes and violence of riots, oil prices increase, demand in stock decrease, frustrations of gentlemen makes them genitalmen, children read guns and shoot books, animal cruelty is enjoyed, places of worship become favorite spot of terrorism, clapping hands become a sign of celebration, playing foul games and illegal affairs with opposite sex count in resume of honor, history becomes boring and adult movies become interesting, ancestors are your demons and girlfriends are your angels….

Just a month ago, Economist Intelligence Unit’s Worldwide Cost of Living survey placed Jeddah, the 9th most cheapest city in the world. Are you kidding me??? Life is getting expensive, food is getting expensive, even the cost of breathing or living is getting way expensive than ever. I lived my first 20 years of life in a 4-room flat which cost us 12,000 SAR a year as rent from 1984-2004. To this year 2014, we have changed our residence thrice with an extraordinary rise of 9,000 SAR a year. Bring this economically ill statistician to me, so I can interrogate his qualifications with ease.

Like I said above that “The brothers fight under plight and we smell more nonsense when we realize their bizarre reasons”. The owner of the building we reside had a years-long running dispute over property with his brothers. The case is now subjugated and won by one of brothers who was hungry of snatching the whole property from them. And as result, the court has short-noticed to evacuate the building within 10 days. I repeat, within 10 days!!! Can you just imagine and calculate the sudden rise of mountains on the heads of all living/existing tenants?? The brothers were fighting for property but we are the one losing the shelter and facing the sun heat. So is it really easy to look for your new home, shift your belongings and migrate to a new home sweet home within 10 fucking days???? With me, my fellow neighbors have also experiencing painful situation. May we all tenants overcome the situation, get new homes which bring blessings to us and our families Ameen.

Sometimes the burden of chastise is shouldered by the salted amount of foul hands which sweats the half-wit bullied-wicked game to demoralize you. Not every local is cruel or a hunter-man. But lack of education and early fragrance of money and power to rule (not lead) put most of the locals in immortality and make the non-locals feel as frantic. People responsible for the welfare of this country should adopt measures to ease both locals and non-locals, so they can serve and make their own life and also of their family and kinsmen here.

Turning back to my life, I keep myself low-profile. Besides my work, I am a globetrotter, I like traveling with few of my fellow globetrotters and enjoy lifetime experience of visiting amazing sites in Saudi Arabia. Of course there is a temporary break now. I walk the work and decide what to do, eat what I want as food prepared at home or outside with friends, download and watch the movie I want, read the book I want. (Comfort yourself, overcome the complicated situations) When I drive my car, I keep my ears unnoticed of possible sounds of horns to enter my eardrums by playing the songs on my mobile connected by blue-tooth to my car because I don’t want my ears to listen traffic noises. Every month, I am notified on my mobile that I violated the traffic rules by over-speeding. Fine! I pay and I don’t cry.

Like hundreds of time, myself and driver of other vehicle come to terms to cross a road or street, I indicate him by hand to go first. Reply! he raise his palm of gratitude. Scores of time also, the pedestrians walk in front of my running car and begin losing the edge whether to move or back up, I point them to forward your steps. Reply! they smile and raise their palm and run.

Why am I speaking/telling what the fuck do I do? You don’t give a damn innit? But just notice my last 2 paragraphs, isn’t there something you find you don’t behave like me? Are you still at ease in your life? With all my miseries I personally and emotionally have suffered in my life, I adopt my own measures to live my life freely. Imagine if you are working with your own decisions; eating watching drinking reading listening whatever you want to; paying your installments, fines, penalties without panicking for no good reason, like how many tensions you overcome and breathe your life.

What if you really give the fellow driver a chance to drive the road first, what if you let the pedestrian cross the street before you race. You are on your own benefit of what you did for yourself and your life. Simply the angel on your right shoulder write good notes about you and mark your safety for right-doings. What if I tell you to get attracted from the beauty of a girl/woman crossing from your sight but do wish her that she get a loving and caring husband? I know this will sound funny, but trust me its magic.

I dream and imagine that I live in my own mansion near the sea shores, no greed of money and power but blossom of happiness and merriness. Sounds of sea waves fell high on my ears, seagulls caws and squawks. Listen the soul refreshing songs which I loved the most. The girl to whom I have loved the most join me in my prime. And I enjoy a joyous wonderful cold weather and spend a wonderful moment of life with her.

Ahh that feeling!!!! Einstein was right… “Imagination is more important than knowledge”.

You may say I’m a dreamer, But I’m not the only one
I hope someday you’ll join us, And the world will live as one

 

                                                                     I AM SAMI NAIK

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FOLLOW ME ON TWITTER @saminaik_asn

 

My Selfish Diary: A Flight to Dammam

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My work is my decision and my division is my provision. Multitude of harkness or gratitude of happiness. I am not familiar with ‘my selfish diary’ or ‘e-notebook’ but one thing I know about me is I am too awesome in O TWADDI (desi FML).

I borrowed a peace of time from my local librarian of colorless books and informed them my plan for almost a week stay in Dammam-Khobar with my fellow colleague of justice league.

First reaction: What? -_-

Second reaction: Why? -_-

Anyhow, things went right for me and my fellow. Packed the bag and off we go. Good morning at King Abdul Aziz International Airport, Jeddah and goodbye to my brother (who dropped me). When I go to airport, I have a special feeling. Walking around and wandering hither and thither. Emotional faces all over (specially South Asians :P ). We witness to see different class of people related from all walks of life altogether. Travelers like business class and some professionals never have more than a luggage but families (specially South Asians :P ) travel with dozens of luggage (roughly taped and using marker to write their address), with a f***ed up radio tuned to baby’s 99th symphony and scores of zamzam cans.

There are two groups usually to be seen in my almost every short-stay at airport. A) Bunch of beautiful and ugly air-hostesses B) Indonesians :P Admittingly in my case, I see a decent staff when luggage is to be thrown for cargo but a three-cent staff when I and my handbag are about to be scanned. I am not a lot into the airport daily/regular affairs but for me is a hiccup of ‘What’s next?’. I feel like if I am desi version of Viktor Navorski in Spielberg’s ‘The Terminal’.

Last time the man who checked me this January (when I was going to Riyadh) told me to off my shoes and keep my belt on. This time, my shoes were not penalized but the belt was crucified :S The guy who checked me wore a Ted-Turner moustache and eyes staring on every passenger like a complaint letter. There was no thin red line on the floor to statue before my turn. He rudely stopped me thrice to wait for my turn (3rd STOP! he looked pretty stupid because I never moved even an inch, probably his English slipped from Move to Stop).

Moving from a bookstore for me is like scent of a woman. But witnessing a Justin Bieber book in that collection is like a sudden heart attack in public place. Then comes the sitting area which I had a second thought because it was like a sleeping area where most of travelers had their faces bent down. Then I realized that they all were committed to their toys.

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My colleague and I did our breakfast at a French restaurant La Cuisine with a chocolate donut and espresso. Such a quiet place and waited for our turn to come. Then gates of heaven opened to meet our virgins. I was the last man to enter the bus. With all men standing and all women in black sitting. I unintentionally had a glimpse of a fatty for a second or two. In response, she in veil was like if she recognized the rapist :S Witch please!

The chosen aircraft to destination was A330. I knew my seat because I had done the boarding pass work last night. As usual, I began staring air-hostesses. Most of the products were Manila but not Vanilla. Few non-Manila (Arabs) were surprisingly aged with a make-up more than a clown. I always thought if PIA (Pi**ed In A**) were the only to recruit such aged ladies with a death certificate. A330 began moving like a roller-coaster going towards the top.

All air-hostesses began a Marcel Marceau. To be honest, when they were giving instructions, they looked like a fade-up constable. They had no facial expressions and body language. Poor Manila babies! I always expect them to give instructions by dancing on ‘One Night in Bangkok’. The plane flew with ease. It was my first traveling when mobiles were allowed to use while touching the sky. So I began playing words-finding game app.

All of a sudden from the back, 2 demons came with an offer of forbidden tree. The trolley was full of Caesar juices. The Arab air-hostess with a huge nostril and Groucho Marx eyebrows asked me my choice. It took me less than couple of seconds in choosing until her eyebrows grew more hair and reached to the nose tip :S Before I launch my new FML chapter of getting embarrassed by a lady shouting at me in front of all, I politely asked for a cup of Caesar juice of orange. Next question by Hatima Tai was about sandwich. The options were flora and fauna. I swiftly chose cheese instead of tuna. What a rude rodent!! she never smiled on any traveler and duration service to every person was like approx 15 seconds because she took a lot of time in picking a cup from the packet and placing tissue paper below it.

I noticed the a-hostesses in both rows and calculated an unmatched comparison between an Arab a-hostess and a Manila one. The Arab one had began serving the travelers way before her but ended up 2nd to her with a huge-margin. It was not like if Tagalog beauty was quick to end serving every traveler by throwing and attending the next. She served every traveler mere 6-8 seconds with pluses like smiling and “enjoy your breakfast”.

Ahh leave it!! let me concentrate on my breakfast. Vowww what a breakfast!! This sandwich wasn’t kept in an oven or warm place but my guess is Greenland’s igloo -_- The bread had just arrived from the Robben Island, produced 40 years ago to serve the prisoners (even ignored by that time). What’s inside? aah yes! how come I forgot what I ordered? exactly ‘Cheese’ that’s it -_- nothing else. Every bite of this sandwich, chewing and crossing my esophagus literally took 5 minutes -_- I felt I was deceived of the unexpected service (‘trolled’ is an applicable word here).

02

Book reading was my hobby which now has become my weakness. Had somehow finished reading the remaining half of Andrew Crissell’s “An Introductory History on British Broadcasting” in last couple of days in Jeddah because I made up my mind to start a new book in my new destiny. Now in plane with half destiny reached, I began reading ‘Zaviya’ by Mr. Ashfaq Ahmad. Ashfaq sahab is one of Pakistan’s finest writer, philosopher and critic, hugely responsible for writing memorable stories and plays in Pakistan Television’s golden era like ‘Man Chalay Ka Sauda’. This is my first experience of reading an Urdu-language book.

Time to lose eardrums with 3rd degree pain -_- I tried to focus on Zaviya stories but minute after minute, a curmudgeon angel hit a needle on my eardrums -_- The children began crying in pain -_- We landed safely and got unseat with ease when most of travelers had left. Reached King Fahd International Airport (min 25 kms away from the main city). A very quiet airport with no busy routine like Jeddah’s one. Took our luggage, bought a 15-Riyal-ticket for bus to Al-Khobar. I knew it will take minimum an hour in reaching the spot with a bitter truth that the driver was a Filipino, so I began reading ‘Zaviya’ where I left.

Driving at max 100 kph, he was listening hits of Bob Marley, Bruce Springsteen and Madonna. The ticket I got from the conductor had four blanks to fill with no idea what the ticket asked me to do. So I filled this way…

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Depending on my limited resources of the whereabouts of popular place Al-Rashid Mall, I kept staring at many of malls crossing from my sight. The bus kept going for 40 minutes. After that, I told my colleague to speak in his Tagalog to his kaibigan (friend in tagalog) to make him understand. The moment he spoke to the driver, all kept staring at him (don’t know why). One thing is good about the Filipinos, their nature is very friendly and well communicative to everyone. In their first encounter, they get in touch with their fellow natives so deep that ‘rude’ is not a word in any dictionary then. I used the word ‘Rude’ because mostly in my fellow Pakistanis, I don’t see that coming. In first encounter, they will ignore you at the time of knowing where actually you from. Rudeness is harked when the two don’t meet at the smallest point in agreement.

If you really want to see the cultural difference between Pakistanis and Saudis here in the Kingdom, just witness the minor vehicle accidents. If two Pakistani vehicles get hit here, the national assembly (of Pakistan) will establish without a speaker. The two parties will blame each other, begin shouting and respecting each other’s mothers and sisters, cursing and sparingly coming on for a one-on-one. As contrary, many incidents occurring between the two locals first meet with a proper handshake and exchange of regards, smiling and calling the traffic police to finish the matter with ease. Besides few of incidents of extreme heated exchange of words, you usually will see them apologizing and talking politely.

And now we reach the spot, off from the bus but the luggage door is not opening from us -_- Anyhow we have reached our destiny, got the hotel opposite road to the Mall. It is a comfortable place. Alhamdulillah for a safe flight, nice hotel and a lovely weather. Nowadays, it usually is not more than 25 degree by day. Nights are cold like approx in the 10s. The ordered food has arrived with the doorbell ringing now. Time to eat and burp…

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