web counter The Madness of MokcikNab: Dadda in Damascus
The Madness of MokcikNab
Motives, movements and melodrama in the life of a thirty something mum.

Thursday, June 02, 2005
Dadda in Damascus

Dearest Sayang,

I figure you must have work coming out of your ears
right now, so that's why you're not signed in yet. No
worries, I can wait. Maybe if I have the time, I'll
get a phone card and call you later, maybe midnight
your time.

I didn't sleep at all last night because I was waiting
for you to come on Yahoo Messenger and I was worried
because I haven't heard a word from you for two days.
On hindsight it wasn't a good idea to go off schedule
because you wasted those two days just travelling,

Okay, actually I did go to sleep eventually, but it
was almost four, and I woke up again at about six, with
the phone still clutched in my hand, woke up in panic,
because what if you came on and you saw that it's a
little gray face sleeping beside my name on YM.
Checked what time it is in Riyadh (my phone didn't
have Damascus) and waited, waited, waited for the
gprs to kick in so that I could check Messenger. Of
course, you were never signed in, and I say this
without the slightest intention of creating guilt.
Really. You took the trouble to wake up at 5 am to
send me that lovely email; so that at least I know
you're not dead. No, I mean it. It was lovely.

I swear we have to fix the fixed line, replace the
lightning struck modem and get ourselves some web
again. Or else get me 3G. Only 150 mah.

The girls have mumps, they look like humpty dumpty
right now, and playing the part of invalids with
thespian perfection : lolling about on the sofabed,
moaning, refusing medicine, and insisting to have a
wet towel applied on their foreheads, perpetually. And
then, come five o'clock, they'll be out on the
streets, running about, infecting the neighbourhood.
I notice the drama gets worse during bathtimes.

The cat is sick,too, perhaps from eating bad coleslaw,
or left-over spinach spaghetti. He thinks his loo is
underneath the chinese cabinet. We're putting him in
his cage for the time being, despite Aliya's protest.

The past two days have been one big bureaucratic mess
for me, and I swear I will wring the neck of that
doctor who did the maid's medical check-up and
promptly absconded and uprooted her clinic. FOMEMA
people, though extremely polite and always reminding
me of the good time we had during their re-launch, did
nothing to correct this gross failure, apart from
giving me another slip so that the maid can do another
check up, which will take another ten days.
They had the cheek to tell me the new checkup is FOC.
They won't write a letter to support my plea for an
extension from the immigration, presumably because
then blame would be attributable.

At first they even refused to give me back the original slip,
the one that had the first doctor's signature on it, which
was my only proof that the maid had actually done the earlier
check-up. I said photocopy was fine, so long as you
certify on it, which of course was a big no-no. They
won't certify on anything. Eventually they relented,
even though they made it clear (very nicely, though)
that this was "against our policy".

This does little to counter the public's perception that
their raison d'etre is little more than money making.
I will write to the papers. I always say that, though I
know I never will. (No, I really will)

Immigration on the other hand, was surprisingly
efficient and helpful, even though they were the ones
I had worried about the most. I walked to their block
while chanting rabbi yasir walatu 'asir under my
breath, with every step.

The prayers must have worked.

The enquiries people thought it was a serious matter,
said it had never happened before and ushered me to
see the Timbalan Ketua Pengarah. Unfortunately, there
were already like ten people waiting to see him, and
more arrived, carrying dockets and consternation.
Fortunately, an officer saw me, thought I'm still a
journalist, enquired about my problem, and immediately
asked for the passport and supporting documents. He
gave me a one month provisionary visa. I have never
been more grateful to be a has-been newscaster.

Tell me some more about your 1930's hotel, send me
pictures. I'm glad the weather is much better this
time, so you won't need the pullover after all. I
slept with your shirt on Tuesday night, but I forgot
to tell Ti not to put in the laundry.

I hope you'll have some time to walkabout this time,
if you can manage to finish every thing before next
Wednesday. You should really see Tadmor and Krak des
Chevalier. Will you be praying at the Umayyad Mosque
tomorrow? I'm sure it's breathtaking -- I saw pictures
of it during the lecture at the Islamic Museum a few
weeks ago. I was paying attention, not like some

I may be going out with (deleted) later tonight, can?
He's going home tomorrow so he needs to buy perfume
for his mom. The mother is pleading for his return
because she says she misses him so, but (deleted)
found out from his brother that it's an arrangement so
that he can meet his future bride. I think the news made
him positively ill, for reasons you and I know too

It's six in the evening, I should really be getting on
home. It's terrible not to have you around, but I have
to admit knowing that I can get through red tape
trouble without you, is, well, kinda liberating. That
said, I still want you here. You're good for other

Eight more nights to go, dear God.

"And did you exchange a walk-on part in
the war
For a lead role in a cage?"


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