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November 4, 2011

Feature: Hajj Diary Series, Part 12

by Simple Muslimah

بسم الله الرحمن الرحيم

My new roommates consist of four others and we still have two empty beds.

You may think 7 to a floor sharing one bathroom is a bit much but there is more than enough room.

I have seen one of these brothers around in Medina and he was always smiling so I’m happy to have him with me. Another of them is a serious looking guy who I met a couple of times in Medina. The other two are unknown to me. One of them is an elder.
Everyone getting on fine so far.

Dhuhr is packed.

I meet a friend and we have a meal. We have to find a nice spot on the floor to eat which I find ironic considering my new hotel. Here I am getting moved on by guards as we squat to eat, I love it.

I get my bearings of where I am and act as translator at the currency exchange for Indian, Pakistani and Bangladeshi families. I must have been good as the Turkish families want my services to but my genius has boundaries so I must decline!

Thanks to watching way too much television every time I get into a lift and nobody is around, I always check to see if the panels above me open in case I need to make an escape. It’s useless actually as I’m scared of heights so I wouldn’t be climbing out of anywhere. I am humming the theme tune to Mission Impossible at the time and I am so into it I don’t realise the lift opens and people are looking at me.

I am sitting in my room watching these workmen in the tower next to us. They are pulling it the whole building down.
I can tell you right now no amount of money would get me to do what they doing. To say they risking life and every single limb is the closest I can describe this.

I sit just looking at the Haram. I feel guilty as many have not and will never see what I see. I look and look as I know I’ll kick myself when I leave here for wasting time doing nothing when I could have been enthralled by this amazing sight.

I sit outside all evening and night. I go to the third floor of the Haram and I must look like a right idiot grinning from ear to ear running up the stairs. Me and the third floor go way back. It’s just as I left it. Few sights on earth are as amazing as watching the tawaf from the third floor. You find yourself hypnotised and have no concept of time.

After that I just sit downstairs and spend ages just smiling at brothers and elders giving salaam trying to gain some reward.

My sinuses are all messed up.

I hear my uncle is coming from England on the 9th. May even be with the same Hajj group as us.

Saw mum today sitting surrounded by some Indonesian ladies at salah. When it was time to leave mum was embracing them all. Really made me smile.

The group took us on a tour of the all the sites today. I am not a fan of walking around in the daytime so it’s going to be uncomfortable but mum wants to go.
Problem with all these places is the large crowds and all it will take is for one person to get lost and we could be here for ages. Thankfully the group is very well organised so nothing happens.

Speaking of the group we have come with I have to say I am bowled over by the manner they deal with us. One chap downstairs fell ill and they took him to the hospital and stayed with him. They check on him every day and tend to anything that needs doing quickly and effectively.

Mum told all the aunties that I got us lost on the way back to the hotel that first morning. One mistake and this is what I’ll be remembered for!

Mum saw me eating an ice cream and told me I’d get a cough because of it. Ten minutes later I coughed and guess who go an ‘I told you so’ in?

Had a cream cake the size of a subway roll! At first I didn’t think I’d make it but I went for its pressure points and it had to give into my experience and superior technique. It didn’t stand a chance.

I went to get my beard trimmed today at a barbers to sort out any split ends and they point blank refused to touch it.

Found out a new wheelchair costs £52 (320 riyal) so those cowboys who exploit people’s weaknesses and needs can charge this amount for leasing one for Tawaf and Sai make their money back in no time.

Speaking of wheelchairs it really gets to me when people in them are pushed round on the ground floor when they have an allocated place on the second floor. I know the ground floor tawaf is like nothing else and I would hate to not have a chance to be down here in it if I was in a wheelchair. The thing is the amount of times you get smacked at the back of your ankles by people pushing wheelchairs is unreal. These cowboys who rip you off and charge you huge amounts want to get it over and done with as soon as possible so they can go rip someone else off so they will not care. I am trying my upmost to take care of myself as mum relies on me. Damage to my feet or legs would make everything so much harder.

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