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picture taken - with permission - on childrens' ward where I frequently consulted as gastroenterologist


once I was Santa Claus, but that wasn't in the Hospital... there we were forbidden to "Hum Carols" by executive order... it was in the desert where we ate turkey, duck,capon, ham - cooked Maori style buried in the sand. And what did we drink? Naturally gluhwein made by our Danish friends and white and red wines of our own making. And did we sing? You bet we did, the Escarpment some 150 kilometres from the hospital rang with 'Good King Wenceslas', 'We Three Kings of Orient Are' etc -- probably never before heard in the desert of Saudi -- and maybe not since. We had a Christmas bonus, it poured with rain but we had eaten, presents given, wine drunk; we enjoyed the rain, hadn't had any for two years. I can still see the remaining Brussel sprouts floating on a platter.


unusual hazards and tourism was unknown in my day, apart from the controlled hordes of pilgrims performing Haj.

But in Saudi Arabia there are sometimes 'exceptions' - one was made, courtesy of the Minister of Information, who early one morning became a patient of mine when next to the King at prayers he fell over in a faint. He had a silent ulcer which had been gently bleeding for several weeks. Endoscoped, diagnosed and treated he was well in no time. I discussed the possibility of taking a trip around Saudi Arabia; I had just bought a 4 -wheel drive, an excellent desert car. We planned a ten day trip. plotted our course and set off one evening in the direction of Mecca via Taif. The Minister had provided us with letters of introduction to the governors of each province we would pass through.

convoy en route to Mecca via Taif

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Martine | Reply 28.10.2016 21.39

En 1991, Osama a été vraiment un très beau Père Noël à l'Ecole française de Sharjah... Nadine croyait encore au Père Noël ...

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11.06 | 14:06

great intuition and so much sense...

25.10 | 09:32

Thanks Bill! You have hit the nail on the head.

14.08 | 19:07


14.08 | 18:24

Bill, Dad has been in all day, so is worried you have the wrong number. Could you send him an email at so he can send correct number?

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