Wednesday, December 16, 2009

Hajj 1430 - Part 4 - A Day in Mina (II)

The city of Mina~ :D

The sky was exceptionally beautiful during my first day in Mina. Thick clouds decorated the twilight sky, gently swaying to the soft beat of the wind. The soft shade of lavender began to dissolve at a mere touch of the tangerine hue, creating such a contrast sky of purple and orange, tempting me to grab my camera and snap the enthralling view until the atmosphere scowls at me for blinding their visions with the flashes of the camera.

But I was too busy distressing about my pukey condition.

All I did at that time was glanced at the sky, noted how spectacular it was, averted my gaze back toward the busy tents, totally lost in direction, all the while asking the staff, “El-hammam? Hammam? Fein?”

Toilets, I mean. Where?

They showed me the directions, led me toward the destination, and finally, I arrived, with a faint dizziness engulfing my head.

I’m not sure how many toilet stalls did we have; the thought of calculating must have slipped my mind—puke and all—but there must be at least…ten. And eight water pipes for ablution. Or maybe ten.

Anyhow, all those eighteen spots—or maybe twenty—were filled with people, and behind them, stood a long trail of people, impatiently waiting for their turn while grunting aloud at the slowness of the pace.

I stilled.

Truthfully, I was scared.

Honestly, I feared for my hygiene.

I even thought of cutting my liquid intake so that I would be excused from using the loo.

And how to bathe? Oh, the thought sent agony down my spine.

I was deeply perturbed.

I remembered back when I used to attend boarding school (I only went there for a week—personal reason), the crowded restrooms traumatized me so much that I ended up waking at 4 in the morning for my shower routine.

Others woke up at 5.

It was nice, really nice, because the toilets were all empty and the morning breeze was still pure and untainted by the students’ morning breaths. I enjoyed being the first student in the school to experience such solitude.

Well, first in the school seemed like too much of an exaggeration. First in the dormitory, then.

Anyhow, those were fun times, but this particular memory was not one of those. I suppose I fidgeted a bit while waiting in the queue, because a voice greeted me out of nowhere, quietly inquired, “Ruh el-hammam?”

Did I look like I’m suppressing a pee? I must have, because she asked if I need to use the toilet.

Stretching my lips in what I hoped was an adequate smile, I answered, “La.” Pointing at the ablution spot, I continued, “Wudhu.”

She nodded understandably—or maybe not, I wouldn’t know—before entering the toilet herself.

Some people can be quite nice.

After a couple of minutes waiting for splashes of water to purify my skin, I finally had the chance of performing my ablution. By this time, my hands and face smelled horrifically terrible, and even after vigorously washing it off, the stench still lingered on my skin.

Oh well, it was not as if anyone was going to kiss me on the cheek, or kiss my hands anyway.

If they do…

Well, I could run or something.

It didn’t happen, thankfully.

I am forever grateful.

Feeling refreshed and contented, I started to walk toward the musollah.

Wherever that was.

I truly had no idea; I just followed those who had performed their ablution, or those who seemed like they were heading toward the musollah.

I found it, of course.

The musollah was larger than our tents—I think—there were four carpets—again, I think—laid down on the floor. It was a tent as well, white and flimsy, void of any real doors, only revealing openings for other people to enter and pray or do whatever they want. And by that, I obviously meant, reading the Quran, or Zikr, or…sleep?

The musollah was indeed breezier than our tent; I was tempted to doze off as well, if not for the limited space. Every nook and cranny was filled with people wanting to perform their prayer, and it was defiantly impossible to find a small spot for a little nap.

Nevertheless, I prayed, and then quietly returned to my tent. I experienced a little difficulty in locating my tent, but at the end, I survived the maze.

Upon entering, my eyes caught the sight of an aunt leisurely sitting on the floor while sipping her coffee.

That surprised me a bit. I initially thought, Ya Rab she brought her own coffee!

She was talking to my mother, expressing how in this chillingly crisp morning, a cup of coffee was necessary to replenish her energy. I also managed to overhear, “Tahukan kantin kat mana?”

She asked whether we noticed the location of the canteen.


Wait, we have one of those?

Oh. Right. No wonder. I mean, where could she find the hot water for her coffee?



Where was that again?

“Ya, ya,” my mother nodded. “Depan surau.”

In front of the musollah?

I tried my hardest to remember about a significant canteen in front of the musollah…

I failed.

I seriously need to pay more attention to the world.

My mother shifted her attention to me, simultaneously suggested, “Why don’t you go to the canteen and check it out?”

I raised my brows.



Where was that again?

However, before I could open my mouth to let out a witless reply, the melodic sound of Adzan pierced our ears.

Baffled, my mother remarked, “Bukan dah Adzan ke tadi?”

She thought she heard the Adzan ages ago.

“Yeah,” another aunt acceded, “At the toilet, right?”

My mother casted an expected look at me.

Why were you looking at me—

Don’t panic. Don’t panic.

I tried to shrug, nonchalantly, if I may add, but then the aunt with the coffee quickly interjected before my shoulders could be lifted, “Yeah, but I looked at my watch, and saw that it was not in time yet.”

They began to talk about the time differences of Fajr prayer in Makkah, Jeddah, Madinah and other places, while I exhaled a deep relief of successfully evading the subject.

I didn’t hear the Adzan. Really, I heard nothing during my visit to the toilette.

My mind must have wandered elsewhere—right. I was reminiscing about my boarding school days.

Oh well.

My mother decided to redo our Fajr prayer, so I followed her lead. Then, I met up with my sister, and we decided to go to the canteen together.

Which was only like, exactly in front of the musollah.

It was quite big too.

I am so ditzy I can’t believe myself. How can I not see that?!

There was a huge refrigerator placed near the entrance, filled with every juice and soda imaginable. Next to it was a long table, holding four—I think—water heater for hot beverages. Sachets of coffee, tea and sugar were arranged in a basket, neatly placed near the water heater. There was an equally large table in the center of the canteen as well, but at that time, there was nothing on top of it. At the other side however, there were plates of what looked to be curry, but being overwhelmed, we decided to snatch one later.

We walked deeper into the canteen, and there was a small pantry with a staff handing out packets of biscuits and cartons of milk. We went to grab some milk, and she gave us two, but since there were three of us, we asked for another one.



And we successfully obtained three milks!

Rejoiced, we went back to grab the curry…

Until we saw it.

The bread.

The bread of Arab.

The bread.


You know, again, this post has grown too long!

To be continued. Again.

Wah I must’ve been writing nonsense because the morning in Mina still hasn't end yet XD

P/S: My mother rarely speaks English. In fact, I don't think she speaks it at all, but I try to be speculative. She speaks Malay almost all the time (again, vague), so any conversation that involves her with English words are just me being lazy to type in Malay and later translate into English. lol

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