Feature: Hajj Diary Series, Part 11
بسم الله الرحمن الرحيم
We leave for Makkah.
Sit in coach for ages while they load on the luggage. Problem with being so close to the Masjid is that the cops keep telling the driver to move on.
Driver seems like a nice guy. I watched him help people while he waited. Built like a tank. Looks as if he could snap your neck in several places for a laugh.
We get told our coach is going to a separate hotel.
We get to the Miqat and put our Ihrams on. Everyone manages to make it back to the coach quickly.
My biggest test so far has been people who complain.
These people complain about anything and everything. I can’t stand the constant backbiting and whinging. They make stuff up and spread rumours and lies. I really have to bite my lip as I want to unleash on them.
Long drive and few stops. Word reaches us that Mecca has had thunder and lightning. I phone a friend who confirms it and says that the place was flooded but it’s all gone now.
Coach going round in circles which only fuels the gossip mongers who are convinced that we are going to be dumped miles from the Haram.
Its 1am and we are in an underground car park. We are taken to our rooms. Ladies are next door to us. We enter our room and there are seven beds downstairs and seven upstairs. I take the bed by the window upstairs.
We pull back the curtains and after all the hassle and the headache of the travel I am so overwhelmed I cannot even describe my feelings.
We were overlooking the whole of the Haram!!
This was more then I could ever have expected or asked for!
I sat there for ages just looking out of the window.
Mum wants to attempt Umrah right away. I’m a bit worried as Fajr going to be coming in soon and mum will be alone for the salah. We go to the Haram and the ground floor is packed so we go onto the second floor. As a rule I try to avoid the second floor as all the pillars get in the way and create the bottleneck effect but mum don’t like heights so if she is given a choice she going to keep low so it’s off to the second floor we go.
We go round twice and I notice that the space to walk has already started to get enclosed. I cannot take the risk of losing mum so I suggest we do the rest after Fajr. I take mum to the back and sit her with some ladies and I sit at the front but directly in her line of vision so she can see me at all times. I am so tired and hungry. I am fighting to stay awake while we wait for Fajr as I don’t want to redo wudu and leave mum. In my state I keep thinking I have to fast while in Ihram.
We pray Fajr and are back in the tawaf. Averaging ten minute a circuit. It all takes it toll on mum and she needs a wheelchair for Sai.
Many young blokes ready to rip you off with the prices of renting a wheelchair. (I would later learn that free ones are available if you go early from one of the offices.)
Some bloke quoting 300 riyal and some quoting 200 riyal.
I find one for 100 riyal and I take it. Mum happy and I push her myself.
We drink much Zam zam water and complete the 7 rounds.
We come out and now comes the hard part which is finding our hotel!
We may be in the biggest complex in Mecca, we may have the big green clock on our roof but for the life of me I can’t remember where our hotel is.
You have to remember we got dropped there at 3am and I find out later the directions we were given were wrong.
We wander round for around ten minutes until we find some guards who direct us after we get one of the group leaders on the phone and he tells them which hotel we staying in.
Mum gets a few words in but it’s all good.
I shower and crash out.