Hajj Trip: October 19

Posted on a later day, 10.30.13, I chose to keep the dates in mark with their corresponding dates from our Hajj trip for convenience. You can see a link of all the post-trip posts by clicking here and scrolling downClick here to see the previous post and click here to see the next day’s post.

Saturday October 19.

Friday night, what I was dreading finally happened: I developed a sore throat. Until now, the coughing was minimal, but it seemed like everyone suddenly got sick on Friday. Throughout the day on Friday, and especially during prayers, it was as if every other person was suddenly coughing and sick. I knew then it was bound to happen sooner or later.

I wore my mask consistently as soon as I step out to go anywhere, but still couldn’t avoid falling ill from one of our own. Better now than before all the hajj aspects I suppose. I think, more than anything else, the exhaustion is finally setting in. As of yet, it was all adrenaline rush I was running on… it had to be: there is no other logical explanation. I normally get tired with just normal day to day things and here I just over did it on a daily basis.

For lunch, they provided us with Al Baik which is apparently a must try when here. It’s not greasy like fried chicken typically is, not dry like baked chicken, and the seasoning in the crust is pretty tasty. I’ll admit, I liked the chicken nuggets more contrary to popular opinion here.

We left Aziziya for our Fairmont hotel near the Haram close to 3:15 PM (surprisingly earlier than originally scheduled at 4) and got there at 4:45 pm. It should have taken us around 15 minutes. I suppose I should have gotten used to this adjusted traffic time by now, but I haven’t. Add the honking (which takes me right back to NYC), the smog [I don’t know if its harder to breathe with the mask on or off], the nonsense… and aaahh!

I don’t want to commute anywhere here in any way but walking, until it is time for our trip home Friday. Thank goodness our hotel’s ground floor connects to an internal mall that leads directly into the courtyard of the haram in mere minutes. Honestly, getting from our hotel room to the ground floor probably takes longer because you have to switch elevators to get anywhere! Not even every elevator connects to S2 [prayer halls in the hotel that is considered to be part of the Haram].

It’s like a child’s game anytime you want to get from point A to B [within the hotel]: GF leads to the Haram, but you need to get to M2 to connect to that elevator first. M3 leads you to the restaurant, but don’t try going there directly from the GF elevator. or S2. Or your hotel room… but it does get you to B2 to get on the buses!

Worst part? Apparently they doublebooked or something. After settling in this night, my dad and I went to explore the route to the Haram. When we got back and were getting off the elevator on our floor we saw my mom standing there (she was asleep when we left). Apparently some random couple walked in because they were also given the keys to our room and whatnot. Then when we tried to unlock our door, we were locked out. Needless to say, sorting all of this out when you are already exhausted isn’t fun.

Side note: I apparently have no idea how a wheelchair works. I couldn’t figure out how to fold/unfold it, how to work the brakes, and I certainly don’t gave the energy/strength to push it. While waiting for my dad to get our room keys earlier, when we initially got to Fairmont, I tried for a few seconds. Thank goodness our group leader, Qari Basit came to my rescue and pushed the wheelchair like a pro.

Click here to read the post from the next day, October 20.

Posted on 10.30.13

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