Thursday, January 17, 2013

@MD Anderson #Houston (Part Two)

Going to Houston anytime soon? For medical treatment or study, here is my Houston Guide

1-      Weather
The weather in Houston is somehow similar to Bahrain. It rains a lot in the Winter & storms may disrupt electricity so watch out for the weather every day. If you're packing, make sure to pack two heavy jackets and one rain coat. Also, get a closed shoes & many casual tracksuits. Don’t over pack, as you will find many good options to buy at amazing prices & awesome quality.

2-      Places to stay
      I recommend that you stay at (Domain At Kirby) . The Address is( 1333 old Spanish trail, Zipcode 77054) it is 7 minutes away from the Medical Center and is very close to a pharmacy, a bank, a phone shop and the two most important grocery shops.
You should contact the leasing office mentioned below, and sign with them if you want a furnished appt its approximately ($3000) a month for a two bedroom fully furnished room.
Step one: Email this lady and  and give her the dates of your travel so she can check the availability.

3-      To Shop
 Daily Grocery: Fresh Fruits& Veggies & Arabic stuff from FIESTA. Across the road from the apartment. You can get quick stuff from Walgreens, CVS too. Kroger is best for their delicious Roasted Chicken, quick sushi & dumplings and other gourmet groceries. Get your organic grocery from WHOLE FOODS on Kirby Drive.
Home stuff: FIESTA & Target
Halal Arabic Grocery & Meat (Al Quds)
Clothes : Casual, Brands for less at Marshalls, TJ Maxx, Nordstrom Rack. Walmart & Target has day to day clothing & PJs
Premium Outlet: an hour away by Car.
Galleria: Largest Mall in Texas. Across the road there’s a plaza that has Nordstrom rack, Marshals and Old Navy. Across the road there’s DSW ( Discount Shoes Warehouse) - visit the Container Store for home stuff.

4-      Your Financials
      Open a current account in Chase. The most convenient bank in the area. Visit the one on (Main St) which is a 2 minute walk from the Apartment. I personally like their service & the fact that their ATM is located inside the hospital is very safe. I can withdraw & deposit cash safely & easily there. 
The same current account can have two ATM cards, if you want to share the account with someone.
Give the account details to your family in Bahrain to transfer you money. The bank will charge you $15 each time you get a bank transfer. You can also receive amounts by Money Gram (in Walgreens) or Western Union (in Kroger)
You will need an ATM to pay for your petrol! So get one quickly J
Try to hold 2 $20 maximum in your wallet. Don’t walk around with more than that! Be careful when you are withdrawing cash, try to use the one in the Hospital as I felt its safer than the ones on the road

5-      To Communicate
I used T-Mobile during my stay. It is located near the Bank on Main St. which is also a walking distance from the apartment. Look for ABEL. Tell him you know PAKIZA. You will have to pay $60 (+tax) if you require a Blackberry service. If you need a normal prepaid sim then ask them for the cheapest option. If you feel you are going to stay for over a year, then get a postpaid package that gives you a free phone and a yearly commitment.

6-      Internet
Most places have WiFi so as an option, you can take the prepaid voice simcards & use WiFi if you have a Samsung or an iPhone to use whatsapp, Viber, Tango or Skype for example.
Use GPS on your smartphone. Google the address of the place you want to go to, copy paste the address on the Map and zoom in as much as possible. By the time you're driving, the blue dot will move with your car, along the route of the pre-downloaded route. This works without WiFi or 3G service.
7- Important Addresses: (Will post a full review on the restaurants at a later blog)

  • Meyerland Plaza Shopping Center, Houston, TX 77096, USA
  • Premium Outlets 29300 Hempstead Rd #400, Cypress, TX, United States  +1 281-304-5820 () ·
  • Jerusalem Halal Meats 3330 Hillcroft Street, Houston, TX, United States  +1 713-784-2525 () ·
  • Cedar's Bakery 8619 Richmond Avenue, Houston, TX, United States  +1 713-706-4141 () ·
  • Mantra Fine Indian (Halal) 15295 Southwest Frwy, Sugar Land, TX, United States  +1 281-325-0071 () ·
  • Fleming's Prime Steakhouse 2405 West Alabama Street, Houston, TX, United States +1 713-520-5959 () ·
  • Samurai Japanese & Sushi  5317 Bissonnet Street, Bellaire, TX, United States +1 713-432-1858 () ·
  • Fadi's Mediterranean Grill  4738 Beechnut Street, Houston, TX, United States +1 713-666-4644 () ·
  • Cafe Caspian (Iranian) 12126 Westheimer Road #116, Houston, TX, United States +1 281-493-4000 ()
  • Phoenicia Specialty Foods (Arabic Stuff & Buffet)  12141 Westheimer Road, Houston, TX, United States +1 281-558-8225 () ·
  • Edwards Cinema   3839 Weslayan Street, Houston, TX, United States  +1 713-871-8955 () ·
  • Pasha Turkish Restaurant   2325 University Boulevard, Houston, TX, United States +1 713-592-0020 () ·
  • Walmart Supercenter  2727 Dunvale Road, Houston, TX, United States  +1 713-977-2099 ()
  • The Chocolate Bar  2521 University Boulevard, Houston, TX, United States  +1 713-520-8888 () ·
  • Hermann Park  Outdoor walking area, fountain, Zoo, flowers, train, lake +1 281-233-1730 () ·

Tuesday, January 8, 2013

'The Violinist at the Metro Station'

A man sat at a metro station in Washington DC and started to play the violin; it was a cold January morning. He played six Bach pieces for about 45 minutes. During that time, since it was rush hour, it was calculated that 1,100 people went through the station, most of them on their way to work.
Three minutes went by, and a middle aged man noticed there was musician playing. He slowed his pace, and stopped for a few seconds, and then hurried up to meet his schedule.

A minute later, the violinist received his first dollar tip: a woman threw the money in the till and without stopping, and continued to walk.

A few minutes later, someone leaned against the wall to listen to him, but the man looked at his watch and started to walk again. Clearly he was late for work.

The one who paid the most attention was a 3 year old boy. His mother tagged him along, hurried, but the kid stopped to look at the violinist. Finally, the mother pushed hard, and the child continued to walk, turning his head all the time. This action was repeated by several other children. All the parents, without exception, forced them to move on.

In the 45 minutes the musician played, only 6 people stopped and stayed for a while. About 20 gave him money, but continued to walk their normal pace. He collected $32. When he finished playing and silence took over, no one noticed it. No one applauded, nor was there any recognition.
No one knew this, but the violinist was Joshua Bell, one of the most talented musicians in the world. He had just played one of the most intricate pieces ever written, on a violin worth $3.5 million dollars.

Two days before his playing in the subway, Joshua Bell sold out at a theater in Boston where the seats averaged $100.

This is a real story. Joshua Bell playing incognito in the metro station was organized by the Washington Post as part of a social experiment about perception, taste, and priorities of people.

The outlines were: in a commonplace environment at an inappropriate hour: Do we perceive beauty? Do we stop to appreciate it? Do we recognize the talent in an unexpected context?

I am inspired by what I read & felt like sharing it with all of you...
Let's ask ourselves & reflect on the answers for a while: How many times do we pass by talented people, beautiful artwork, delicious food and pre-judge what we see, feel or taste due to its LOOKS! How many times a day/week/month do we pause our busy lifestyle to enjoy a simple meal, a cozy outing, a musical show without the need to pay an arm & a leg for it? Do we appreciate our blessings? Do we, truley?

Thursday, January 3, 2013

@MDAnderson #Houston (Part 1)

MD Anderson Cancer Center is one of the original three comprehensive cancer centers in the United States. It is both a degree-granting academic institution and a cancer treatment and research center located at the Texas Medical Center in Houston, Texas, United States.
For nine of the past 11 years, including 2012, MD Anderson has ranked No. 1 in cancer care in the "Best Hospitals" survey published in U.S. News & World Report.

The hospital is very comfortable, clean and spread over multiple buildings. It took us a while to get the hang of it. With the help of the mini maps and the extremly helpful staff/volunteers, we were able to commute smoothly. We sometimes had to take the golf carts to move from a building to another - it was fun to hear the nice stories of the drivers especially during Christmas where they would be wearing Santa Clause outfits & ring their little bells around the corners.

This is the main building. It is located on Holcombe street. Despite the thousands of cancer patients & caregivers that walk into this building daily, parking & transportation services are unmatched! You can either park your car in a large building, you can use the hospital shuttles that roam around the area (to hotels & appartments), use a cab or have your car parked via Valet parking service like no other! Extremly dedicated outsourced staff & very friendly to the extent that they would greet you every morning with your name and ask about you if they haven't seen you for a while. We can never forget the sweet ( Frey )

Before getting into the building, one can enjoy the scenery of the beautiful seasonal flowers. I believe it makes a great impact on the patients morale to see such amazing colors before or even during taking chemo.

I will have to conclude part one. Will take you all into a tour in the building & introduce you to some of the great staff there. Stay tuned