Yesterday was one of those days that’s fairly typical here. Nothing generally goes as planned, but somehow turns out okay in the end.

I started the day with some exercise at the Aspire park, which is about a 5 minute drive from home. Once finished with the more strenuous cardio part of my routine I settled in to my 20 minute walk when I noticed a single Qatari male. He was sitting on a bench, sandals off, reading a book. I thought he looked serene. But also out of place, somehow. Usually you see young Qatari men out together in groups. Typically, they’re either driving in their expensive vehicles, sitting outside of Starbucks drinking coffee and smoking under all the ‘non-smoking’ signs, or just cruising the shopping malls. But to find one outside, in solitude, reading – seemed quite unusual. I liked it.

view at Aspire Park

Home, showered, changed, collected our daughter from a sleepover, I was then off to Jarir Bookstore to drop off recovery disks needed for our son’s old laptop. He no longer uses it but it needs repairing in hopes that we can sell it and recoup at least some of its cost. I’m told now, as well, that I need to shell out another QR 650 ($187.50) for a new battery for our daughter’s laptop which was also there for repairs. Why is that, you ask? Well, seems the battery had been ruined by shampoo that had seeped inside her laptop. Don’t even ask…….a long story! So the battery was paid for, ordered and should arrive within 5 to 10 days and in the meantime she can use hers as long as it’s plugged in. At least that would eliminate her need to use mine!!!! Maybe selling the son’s laptop will pay for repairing the daughter’s! So, much for any recouping of costs.

Later I went to the mall as I’d decided to make a special Valentine’s Day dinner and needed a few of the ingredients. Well, needed most of the ingredients. My plan was to cook beef bourguignon and for dessert, a chocolate cake with whipped cream and fresh raspberries in the center, covered by chocolate ganache (see ‘planned’ dessert below).

Choc Raspberry Heart - Nigella Lawson

Well, what we ended up with was something altogether different. For dinner we had BBQ teriyaki chicken, new baby potatoes and corn. Dessert was white cupcakes with amaretto flavoured whipped cream and topped with strawberries / sugar hearts (see ‘actual’ dessert, below). Let me just say, “You can’t always get what you want” here! But, it was all yummy and provided something special to mark the day. 

Valentines cupcakes

My other task for the day was to get some ear drops for my husband. He’s had an earache for three days now but of course has not gone to a doctor. Instead, late each night, decides he might need some drops to help with the pain. So, as yet, there were no drops. Today, being Valentines and all, I figured I would be extra kind and loving….. and get some for him. While in the shopping mall I stopped in to a reputable pharmacy. No, they did not have anything for pain, only items to be used to wash the ear canals, etc.

I knew a source though, where I could likely get what I needed without a doctor’s prescription. An non-reputable pharmacy? The 24 hr pharmacy behind our house previously sold me some Isotretinoin (Accutane) a while back, which normally can only be prescribed to patients under signed consent and through a registered distributed program, requiring strict doctor supervision, monthly blood tests, etc. ……. Surely, if they sold me a very risky drug such as this over the counter, they would also hand over some simple ear drops without a prescription.

I walked in and asked for ear drops for pain. The lady behind the counter didn’t reply, but reached over and brought me a container saying only, “seven riyals”. Pretty cheap as that’s only about $2! I picked up the container, put on my reading glasses (drat – why can I not read anything without them anymore?) and read the information inside. Yes, exactly what I needed. So I handed over the cash and left.

ear drops

Some things here you can love and hate all at the same time and this is one of many examples. Yes, you CAN pretty much buy whatever drugs you want here without prescription, which would not be a good thing in some circumstances. On the other hand, isn’t it convenient that you don’t have to take 3 hours out of your day to see a doctor, etc. and just go out and buy whatever you want without a prescription?

On the way out of the pharmacy, I held the door open as I left and then noticed that the older Qatari man behind me said “thank you’. You might think his response as being routine but let me assure you, it is not. Qatari men are not supposed to speak to a woman here in public who is neither his wife, or a member of his family. His words may seem trivial, but they made my day a little brighter just knowing he would take the time and somewhat of a ‘risk’ to say thank you for my gesture.