Feature: Hajj Diary Series, Part 8
بسم الله الرحمن الرحيم
My Saudi sim card has finally let me start texting England!
Texting off my T-mobile chip has cost me £40 so far and we have only been here four days! I need to stop taking pics and sending them to brothers to make them feel jealous!
They have got Arab boy scouts! It’s the funniest looking thing.
The old uncle in our room is raw. Doesn’t say much but when he does I wish I could Twitter it.
Don’t you hate saying goodbye to someone and then it turns out they are going the same way as you?
It’s a lovely feeling sleeping on the carpets outside the masjid, waking to the azhan and watching thousands of people come for salah. It’s even nicer when the bloke next to you keeps your space while you go redo wudu.
Isn’t it annoying when you are praying and people walk right in front with no care. I’m praying in a designated prayer area out of the way and one bloke just comes and stands there. ‘Mate the number 31 doesn’t pass here so maybe just maybe I might be praying?’
Got me some more amazing time in the Rawda again. Did everything I wanted to do. Nobody pushes me, stands in front of me or rushes me. Proper sukoon.
Learnt today that because I kept talking about our hotel being next to Masjid Ali my roommates thought I was a Shia!
My mate told me that he gave some street kid 500 riyal. I was going to tell him to keep his charity to himself until he told me he thought it was 5 riyal! Apparently the kid was well happy!
Met my first Australian Haji today.
All food is provided as part of our Hajj package and its proper tasty too but I am usually out and I don’t want to be held back by meal times so I eat out half the time. I love eating back street restaurants. You meet the most interesting people.
Mum is not well but wants to go on arranged tour of the sites. I go on the Urdu coach to be with mum. The guy on the tannoy really laying it on thick. Should have gone into sales.
Coach driver almost crashes into a car. Driver gets out and tries to go for our driver with a hammer! Amounts to nothing but road rage alive in Medina.
We arrive at Uhud. I wonder how much soil has been taken from here over the years as ‘souvenirs’.
We go to few other masjids and visit Masjid Quba again.
Still haven’t seen any stars since I’ve been here. It is quite cloudy at night.
I have the official position of tea maker for mum and the ladies in her room. Big responsibility.
Word gets round I make a mean cuppa.
I have a thing where I really don’t like eating alone. I’d rather go hungry than eat alone. I find it depressing but this evening I take my food and sit on the pavement just in front of the masjid. I am so transfixed to it that for the first time in a very, very long time I am able to eat alone. It was all the company I needed.
Palestinians have a tough time.
Was with a couple of lads from Swansea and we met one with his wife and kid who are claiming they have been robbed.
My spider sense telling me something is not right so I walk off and leave Swansea lads to deal with it. It was funny watching them explain that and get out of it themselves.
Met another the next day with wife and child in tow. Same story. Wonder how many more I will meet.
Mum bought some sandals for me. Look hard but are soft. Just like me.
Just got a text from England that little Abu Bakr needs a heart transplant operation and every time this message is forwarded the phone company will donate 2p towards the operation. I wonder…
1. Which phone company?
2. Why would they pick little Abu Bakr?
3. How do they know it’s been forwarded?
4. Who comes up with this rubbish?
5. How do people fall for it?
Took a friend to the Rawda and got him in. To say he was happy was an understatement. To say he was happy is a huge understatement. I could hear him cry and cry in sujood. There is something about sujood in the Rawda. You block everything out and it’s just you. Problem is some guys from our group saw us being taken in and I’m sure they are going to have some questions later.
It’s amazing to believe I have only been here less than a week. The things we have seen and done I could easily have been here two or three weeks.
My uncle leaving today to get back to work in Taif. InshaAllah he will be able to make it back to Mecca to be with us. He is planning to stay with us the whole of the Hajj also.
Part of me wants to do it alone with mum but I know him being with us will give mum great peace of mind. Think it stems from me wanting to do everything for her.
The Turkish bloke next to me is amazed by my writing this left handed. He watched me write every word. Either that or he is amazed by my naff handwriting.
I’m still playing my ‘people that look like someone I know’ game but the amazing thing is twice it’s actually been that person. Amazing where fate brings you together.