February 04, 2005

Hajj Epilogues and India

We didn't do much for the rest of the Makkah time after Hajj. Our hotel change was a mess, as the rooms assigned to us were not available on arrival. My roommates and I joked about other possible names for Safa Travel - Sabr Travel (Patience Travel - as in, you'll need a lot of patience if you're going with this group), Suffer Travels (which includes a great pun on the word safr, Arabic for travel or journey). We did not have the rooms until 3am, wasting the whole previous day. I befriended a Hajj group from Glasgow, who offered their floor for us to sleep on during the night. All of our luggage remained on the floor of the hallway, and some of our groupmates set up camp there.

My mother and I took the opportunity to visit our cousins from India who had also come for Hajj. We met in front of the haram, and went back to their place. While lacking in the luxury of Qadisia Hotel (where we stayed), it was extremely practical. It was wonderful to see them, and we ended up staying the night there. We then went for Tahajjud together, and performed a nafl tawaf together after fajr.

The next few days were similar. My cousins family went to Jeddah, so we just engaged in our own activities. Not much shopping done either, except for that suitcase we needed to replace. The suitcase we bought was pretty bad also, and has been falling apart over the last few days.

We left for Jeddah at 3:00am on January 30th. After Tawaful-Wada, I made a lot of du'a that the travels on our way to Lucknow go smoothly. Alhamdolillah, it seems as if our du'a was accepted. First, we took a mini-bus to the Motawef 57 office, where we got our passports back. Somehow, our passports had written on them the number on our bracelet. This made no sense to me, as the bracelets were just given out on the busride from Madinah to Makkah haphasardly; basically, wherever we were sitting, and I don't recall anyone checking that number later. As I mentioned before, somehow amid all the apparent chaos, the Saudi Government runs a very efficient and organized system. Anyway, we got our passport back, and then were taken to the bus station where we found a ride to Jeddah. The ride was smooth and hassle-free, and eventually, I found myself on my way to Kuwait.

Kuwait airport was very nice, but not worth writing about. We got a meal coupon with which we ate a wonderful dinner. The dinner was a buffet, and included so many delicious items. We sat in the transit restaurant for hours, discussing a whole bunch of stuff. Finally, after several hours, we got in line to board the place. The plane left on time, and less than four hours later, I was in Delhi.

After collecting our luggage in Delhi, we sat in the lounge with two trolleys of luggage. We fell asleep sitting there in the lounge.

At some point, my uncle sat down next to us. My eyes opened, and I nudged my mother awake. We were happy to see him, but so incredibly exhausted that we didn't greet him so enthusiastically.

After a few hours, I found myself in a hotel room in Delhi, near Jama Masjid. Before even eating anything, I started feeling cases of the "Delhi Belly", or "India Disease" as it may otherwise be known. We had dinner at Karims after I got a good few hours of sleep. At night, we boarded a sleeper class train that brought us to Lucknow. We arrived in Lucknow in the morning.

And here I am now. It's now Saturday, February 5th; we've been here for four days. Life here doesn't change much over the years; everything is as I remember it. Somehow I find the lack of a generation gap in this country intimidating. While there's been some good new development, it seems as if many things just won't change. This is good in a lot of ways, but somehow it just doesn't work for me. After only an hour in India, I was already to leave.

Health has been up and down, which is better than last time when it was always down. Not sure whether it's worth continuing this journal, as I'm now a long way from Hajj, and don't really have anything left to write about.

Thus ends my Hajj journal, which was typed up on Sunday, April 3rd 2005, after my return to Canada. Details of my time in Tamil Nadu may come shortly.