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Amna got her car!

Amna and her new car - Nissan Altima - Bahrain

I want to thank everyone for their very valuable suggestions as to what car I should get Amna. In the end, we decided to settle for the Nissan Altima which was between the two budgets set, and offers very good value for money and safety aspects.

She has had it for a day and a bit now and is very happy with it. She even named it Julian!

The happiest person on Earth (other than Amna) is really Frances, who suddenly realised that she actually has 3 – 4 hours a day extra for not having to drive/collect them from school!

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Eye tests, DoT style

My daughter Amna has not only been nagging me to get a driving license for the last couple of years, but has already selected the car I will buy her on her successfully passing her driving test! Typical of the twit. Anyway, as she is approaching 18, I finally folded and took her to get a provisional driving license this morning.

I was immediately impressed as we entered the Traffic Directorate’s building; the offices were clearly sign-posted and the designated office has an automated queueing system in place. Brilliant, this is going to be easy.

I was immediately impressed as we entered the Traffic Directorate’s building; the offices were clearly sign-posted and the designated office has an automated queueing system in place.

Not wanting to bother the guy at reception and in the presence of the numbers vending machine marked with only two buttons: “Counter” and “Eye Test” I selected the “Counter”, it spewed the number and we sat down awaiting our turn. Our number came up within 15 minutes, “we’ll finish in no time” I happily thought – as I must confess that initially I have vacated the whole morning for this exercise.

Unfortunately as we sat at the counter the clerk pointed out that she should have done the eye test first! Great! Well, it’s my fault for being too confident and thinking that the Counter clerk would first vet all the documents, ascertain the applicant’s eligibility and only if that process is complete would he send the candidate to the formal eye test. Nope, one does the eye test first and only if that is successful the other conditions are looked into.

Back to the vending machine to get an “Eye Test” number this time, we went and waited in the allocated area. Fortunately for us, it seemed that the eye test process doesn’t take longer than 50 seconds, so it shouldn’t take more than 5 minutes to get to our turn. Amna suggested that in order to save time, she should remove her contacts. I thought that was fair enough, she removed her eyes and I handed her back the documents to take in with her.

Her number came up and off she went, but instead of it taking the usual 50 seconds, it took about a couple of minutes. On her exit from the office and looking at her face, I knew that something was amiss:

    “Everything okay?”
    “No, I need to come back and bring my glasses for the eye test!”
    “WHAT?! No way! I thought they would check your eye sight in there to find out how you could see things

without your glasses!”

    “Yeah, I thought so too, but, well, they don’t.”
    “Okay, where are your glasses?”
    “At home.”
    “What? You carry a handbag as big as a suitcase and you leave your glasses at home?”
    “Well I usually have them in the bag, but I cleaned it out yesterday.”
    “Okay, fine, do you have a spare set of contacts?”
    “Yes. At home!”
    “Damn. Okay, let’s drive back and get them, hopefully we’ll finish today.”

Off we went to get her glasses, but not only that, she decided that she would wear a new set of eyes and get a spare set just in case.

I just couldn’t believe that they actually test the candidate’s eye sight with glasses or contacts. What would they achieve with that other than ascertaining that the person can actually see with their optical aids? Would a person intentionally use glasses or contacts that would render their sight useless? What could this “test” possibly achieve and what is the logic behind it? The mind boggles. I put it down to procedure and bureaucracy.

I just couldn’t believe that they actually test the candidate’s eye sight with glasses or contacts.

Within the hour we were back, got another chit and fortunately as the place was a lot less congested, she was in to the “optician” with her contacts on, glasses clutched in hand and she was out in even less than 50 seconds!

“That was fun,” she said, “I barely read out two letters while covering the other eye, he signed the paper and that was it!”

I looked at the paper and could not believe the stupidity of the situation.

My daughter has perfect eyesight with her contacts in!

6/6 in all departments!

Me very very happy!

Even better and taking into consideration the cursory examination people are subjected to, why not cut out this queue and just install a chart at the counter

What the hell was all this about? Shouldn’t someone look into this stupidity? Am I missing something here? I’m not objecting to the eye test if it is done properly, for instance, checking the eye sight of a person who claims that s/he doesn’t use glasses but in fact s/he should, but if someone says that they do use contacts/glasses, what good is this test for? Even better and taking into consideration the cursory examination people are subjected to, why not cut out this queue and just install a chart at the counter and test people there and if the clerk notices that the candidate’s eye sight wanting, only then send them over to the “proper optician”? If more stringent tests are required, why not install a machine at the counter for a “go/no-go” decision? I am sure that this simple change would improve the efficiency even more.

Anyway, I am doubly assured now that my daughter’s eye sight is perfect – with optical enhancers. She’s got a good optician.

Back to the counter we go and within a few minutes we paid the required BD34.5 (including BD5 for the “Eye Test”) and left the building.

The whole process – including the return trip home – took less than a couple of hours. Not bad.

Now she’s got to attend a lecture on road safety and we need to find a good driving instructor. Any suggestions?

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Frogs in a pond

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Frogs in a pond

Frogs in a pond, originally uploaded by malyousif.



There is this “secret” garden centre in the industrial area of Sitra that my friend Rami led me to, and now I visit once in a while because they have undervalued plants, a pond with frogs, nice cacti if you care to spend the time to choose and very expensive seeds of which I have bought and planted a few.

I took my daughter Amna to it yesterday, and Amna being Amna, she fell in love with the frogs. They’re not for sale. She was heartbroken, so I convinced the guy to at least scoop up some tadpoles for her and put them in water in a plastic bag, which he did with thanks from both of us.

We arrived home and as we have a small pond, Amna emptied the contents of the bag – 5 tadpoles in various stages of growth – into it.

Now I wait to hear frogs in my garden. I think it will add a nice dimension!

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