Monday, May 12, 2008

Another roadtrip, R/yadh, M@kkah & Jedd@h I

My in laws came and stayed for three weeks. The trip was a bitter sweet one for them because upon arrival here, MIL found out that her 97 year old mum passed away. To say that her death was not expected, she had postponed the trip a few times, partly because she thought the end was near. Just as she felt that the old lady was better, she went.

She went with the knowledge that her daughter would be playing with her granddaughter, the much awaited great-grand-daughter.

Since they were playing with MH via Jedda@h, we planned it such that they would get to perform umrah first before flying off home. The 10 hour drive was very bearable. My Little One behaved very well. Between 2 naps, singing, Dora and Elmo, we made through the trip. I am very proud of her.

We got a little lost finding the Miqat. Partly because I would normally have preferred the Miqat in Taif, less crowded. This time round the miqat was not busy at all, partly because it was midweek and partly because it was only after Asr.

When we arrived in M@kkah once again the roads confused us a little bit but Alhamdullilah we managed to find our hotel. Hotels in Makkah now are at premium price, especially those closest to Masjidil Haram. Alhamdullilah Le Meredien was just as nice and an easy walk to the Masjidil Haram.

Although it was not my first time, in fact, everytime I went into Masjidil Haram, I went in with a little bit of trepidation. There is something about the place that creates fear before you go in but awe and enlightenment when you are in there in person.

And to see the throngs of worshippers and the majestic structure of the Ka'abah, so near and within reach yet so monumental with people hanging at each and every space.

I did my tawaf with gladness, sadness, humbleness, hope and acceptance all in one. Very difficult to describe the feeling really and each person would have to take this journey his or herself to experience it. I felt at peace and there is a certain feeling of rejuvenation at the end of it.

The energy in that place is just amazing that even the little one obliged. We carried her in the Ergo during the tawaf and not a peep was heard from her. It was as if she understood. In fact, the following evening she expressed her desire to be near the Ka'abah.

Perhaps due to the warmer weather, the tawaf area is very crowded at night compared to the day. There was a mad rush for space during prayer hence we decided to go to the second floor whenever we could. There was even a place where you can borrow free wheel chairs. Yes borrow not rent.

Of course when one has finish the Sa'i and didn't bring scissors, be weary with whom you borrowed the scissors from. Some "well meaning" child may fleece you for the rental of their scissors. Some ask as much as 10 r/yals. If you are patient enough you could buy scissors for the same amount at nearby pharmacies or the Bin Dawood supermarket in the Hilton building.

The new face of M@kkah can be seen with the shiny new Al Bait shopping center just opposite Gate 1 . Wheelchair friendly (no steps to get into the Mall) with 3 elevators to bring you up to the foodcourt. And trendy shops. Not just shops selling Ouds, attar or dates. But Mothercare, Bodyshop, Sephora, Debenhams, Claires, Next and lots more. I didn't pop in the shops myself but was just so amazed with the new state of the art building.

We left M@kkah with high hopes that we will return soon. And was excited to go to Jedd@h.

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