Departed KLIA with an Airbus330 to Doha at about 3.35 am. The aircraft was very comfortable with personal TV screens and big comfortable seat. By about an hour into the flight a snack was served – chicken curry pie; still hot and steamy. Tried to spent time reading some materials that I brought along but my eyes were quickly tired in the low light. I was tired and still hungry even after that delicious snack so sleeping was really not an option. This trip is a bit different from the others; that I hated so much because of the endless discomfort and big-ass hassle, due to the fact that I wanted it to be right, comfortable and meaningful to me as well as others. That would mean to control myself to be calm all the time, avoid anxiety and enjoy every bit of the way. Furthermore so that this is an umrah trip that you are supposed to cleanse your thought, clear your mind and focus on the devotion to Allah. So far I am good alhamdulillah. Doing prayers on the flight was very tricky but my kids and I managed to do that quite alright. A bit strange when people looking at you—is he doing the solah?—were muslim themselves. I was not fanatic or whatever, I just wanted to do my solat, it’s my routine. The very basic of human right. And the people who supposedly understand our life were the ones making the world so small and constricted. No freedom if you can’t do what you want to do.. But these days I just did not care anymore what people say — I am too old to wait for the answers of the many what-if questions that I frequently so many years ago. What if people say this, what if people say that and so on. So tired of that.
The trip to Doha took about 7 hours. We left at 3.35 am and arrived at 5.50 am. So that should be about a little bit over two hours. Well that’s the beauty of time zones. When we cross the time zone backwards we are like letting the time flies past us without actually doing anything. If we were to stay in Doha we have saved that time tremendously. That’s a bit of interesting stuff in time traveling; it extends the secret of life itself. What about if you travel so fast backwards or forwards, would you enter into different time/life altogether. How about traveling in parallel time space but in different dimensions. Is there exist a world parallel to us ? what about alam barzakh?….aaaah so many questions!
We arrived in Doha early morning and the sun was already bright and the sky was sunny . The temperature was sizzling 89F already and there are people living here in the middle of seemingly nowhere, unbelievable. The airport buses greeted us at the end of the staircase. These Doha buses were very stylish, big, quiet and strangely fast. We had a few of these in Subang airport not so long ago. Wonder what happen to those buses? I did not mind riding in one of these to work. So comfortable. How come they are not using them as commercial buses? In the US those are the buses that we rode during our college days to go everywhere. I guess they must be expensive because for me that is the style of modern living; LRT is another one. Buzzing around town in an lRT is supposed to be fast and comfortable but I guess it isn’t anymore is it? People should be the center of civilization not the technology. AAhhh….That’s a good topic for an article, isn’t it?
The security check in Doha was so chaotic. I was held up for a pen hidden inside my business card pad. It came on the screen and a security alert was called for. They finally settled that my pen was not a bullet and will not harm anyone in the airport—what a piece of crap! So they let me go for my 7-hour transit. It’s okay they gave me breakfast and lunch. So no complain. Doha airport is a nice little airport; it seems big but useful space for passengers is only a two-storey building no bigger than an airport in Pengkalan Chepa. The rest is a huge field with borders as far as your eyes can ever see. A unique feature about Doha airport is that it has a “Quiet Room” for everyone. Yes it is labeled like that. This room is where people go and catch up with their sleep before the next flight. There is also a mosque; large and very comfortable. So no excuse for missing your prayers guys.
We left the terminal in a bus at around 1 pm under a soaring heat. It was so damn hot that I just could not believe people do live here. The flight to Jeddah took about 1hr 30mins. It was a nice journey in a Boeing aircraft. Traveling nowadays seems to be a lot comfortable than before. The landing was a bit bumpy but it was not that bad. We arrived there before ‘Asr. The immigration was smooth and swift, nothing exaggerating as we had in Doha. They did have a health screening but very subtle and fast. Our bags were there already and we were out about 40 mins later. The weather in Jeddah was not that hot; quite nice actually. Before long we were approached by a Bangla cleaner selling a prepaid. Ironically we were told about this and recommended by the a Ustaz to get one—75 riyals. Not a bad business because he got advertisement going on thousand of miles away. So we got a couple of those for our communication need. It is always strange to see Saudi authority handles passports. They bundled up all of them together and took them away without any explanation, leaving us speechless and wondering; why do they take away our passports? Anyway that’s the procedure and everyone just as stunned as me to see our precious traveling document being taken away like a stack of useless theme park pass books.
Before dark we embarked on another 8-hour long journey by bus to Madinah—the place where it all began.