Mr Khaki at the hospital


We've been running around just about everyday for the past two weeks doing various medical stuff. Yesterday we had an appointment at Tripoli Medical Center to see a specialist to get another opinion about Adam's teeth.

TMC is a huge hospital. It's reportedly the largest hospital in North Africa. It has this fountain in front and is surrounded by lanscaped gardens. The main entrance hall reminds me of shopping malls in the US. Marble, stone, multilevel and high ceilings. It has the same acoustics - a kind of hollow echo with the sounds of voices, footsteps and water fountains. The main hall contains a public pharmacy, gift shop displays, a snack bar and the offices of the various out patient departments as well as the guarded entrances to the in patient parts of the hospital. We sat and people watched while we waited.

Off to one side is a small courtyard that had been turned into a cafe. There's a fountain in the center that's surrounded by bright blue Pepsi umbrella covered tables. It was nearly one o'clock in the afternoon by this time and the place was deserted. I was attracted to the colour and play of light and shadow and decided to take a picture.

Out of nowhere appeared a 'khaki man' Traditionally, the security all seem to wear khaki and I refer to them all as 'Mr. Khaki'. He was not pleased that I was taking a picture and said it wasn't allowed. I pointed out that I wasn't photographing any people, just the umbrellas and that the place was deserted. My husband came up to see what was going on and Mr Khaki blabbed on and on and on and on, about how he had seen me taking pictures of the fountain outside and allowed it, but that taking pictures of the hospital was not allowed. My husband said, 'She's not taking pictures of people, only the tables and umbrellas, and besides it's not like a public hospital is a military installation or something. There are no signs anywhere that say taking pictures is not allowed.' I said to Mustafa (in Arabic so Mr Khaki would be sure to understand), 'Oh never mind. It's always a negative story here.' and we walked away to wait near the door of the out patient department.

About two minutes later another 'Mr Khaki' came - he was wearing the same uniform but it was a grey one, and with him were two plain clothes guys. Mr Grey was appologizing profusely to my husband. He said he wanted us to know that they are not negative and didn't want to give a negative appearance or impression. If I wanted to take photographs I could take as many as I liked but I would have to report first to their office and get special permission.

I imagine these khaki men have their work cut out for them. Nearly everybody nowadays has a camera. While we were waiting we noticed two other people taking pictures with their cell phones. I really doubt that everyone who decides to take a picture will want to waste half the day explaining why they want to take a picture and what they want to photograph to the head hancho of the Mr Khaki brigade before they can take their picture. By then the picture would be long gone anyway.



By the time we left the hospital I was hot, tired, hungry and irritable. The fountains that had looked so colourful in the beginning just looked dirty now. hhmmm... Thanks Mr Khaki! You really made my day! Posted by Picasa

Comments

  1. There is nothing worse than being in a good mood and then comes a moron or two around ruining everything by pointing out "the rules".

    My advice in such situations: never argue or get angrey, just play "the dumb blonde" even if you´re not! That way at least you will be laughing about it afterwards.

    Playing dumb and smiling has rescued me out of many similar situations. Once in Mekka I brought along several cheap 3-dollar one-time-cameras. I went around the Grand Mosque taking "forbidden" pictures with my digital camera; along comes Saudi Mr. Khaki screaming and cursing and demanding my camera telling me taking pics is "strictly forbidden". I played dumb and handed him one of the cheap one-time-cameras. He smashed it with an evil grin, and I smiled at him thinking "What a sucker!". Once he went away, I took my digital camera and continued taking pics until next khaki sucker turned up.We had a big laugh later at the hotel.

    Just continue taking your pics from Libya; we are lotsa people enjoying them on your blog!

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  2. Yes, fantastic pictures, and sorry you had your day spoiled, but you made ours with more pics. You are still a treat! By the way, how did the appointment come out?

    ReplyDelete
  3. Sandi - not very well on Adam's part. The hospital is a teaching hospital and he's a self concious teenage - he did not like having a room full of students watching him!

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  4. I had the same experience, at Montgomery Hospital, VA, in 2001, but with a dirtier end. The "Mr. Khaki" from there asked me and checked then if I had deleted the garden’s pictures I took. Well, also Mr. Physician gave me a wrong prescription what almost put me in a huge trouble if I wasn’t attended enough when I got my medicine from the CVS’s pharmacy.
    Mistakes, troubles and no polite employees are all around the world.

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  5. DEAR ADAM! I DO NOT KNOW IF THIS WILL HELP YOU UNDERSTAND, BUT I WOULD LIKE TO TRY! GOD/ALLAH MADE YOU. YOU ARE ONE OF HIS FINGERPRINTS, AND "IF YOU BELIEVE, GOD/ALLAH IS GOOD, THEN YOU HAVE TO BELIEVE GOD DOES NOT MAKE JUNK. YOU BELIEVE IN YOU........NO ONE EVER TOLD ME THAT AND I JUST WANTED YOU TO KNOW HOW SPECIAL YOU ARE "JUST BECAUSE YOU ARE YOU" AND WHEN PEOPLE LOOK AT YOU, THEY LEARN SOMETHING FROM YOU, "JUST BECAUSE YOU ARE "YOU". SO YOU HAVE A CHOICE, BELIEVE IN YOU AND YOUR GOODNESS....OK? PLEASE LET ME KNOW ADAM, HOW YOU ARE DOING, IF YOU DON'T MIND!!!!! AND, BEING A TEENAGER IS NOT EASY, BUT WITH YOUR GOD ON YOUR SIDE, YOU ARE GOOD TO GO! SANDI

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  6. Oh no! I was hoping I would be able to stay sane in Libya through photography... I guess I'll have to find ways to trick 'Mr Khaki' then...

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  7. I have spent almost a total of 5 months in all at that hospital over the last 4 years and I swear I never knew about all those places !I have walked the halls , been lost , locked out , locked in ,been in almost all the major wards , definitly ALL the parking lots , many of the other gardens (which by the way are pleasent), and never seen the main entrance !I have even been on first name basis with some of the MR. KHAKI"S, and a few of the cleaning staff.What a intrpid explorer you are , Miss Khadija !Syd

    ReplyDelete

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