The day before I left for haj

 Today is Friday; my last Friday before I shoot off to Mecca. The sermon was stale, tasteless as the hampas tebu outside the mosque. The young khatib read out the sermon like his form 3 presentation at school—I did not doze off but with that kind of sermon it was better off fly away with our thoughts to the never never land…..and date with Dorothy. I was excited really because earlier today I was given a clean bill of health by my doctor. I went for my final check-up and he was happy with my test result and of course I am happy too for myself. The adoption of strict regime of diet control and an array of medication have paid off. I pray to Allah for a continuous good health for the hajj.
I hope to finish up my packing by tonight. Nothing much really just to make sure that not a thing being left out. The news came in today that tabung haji can no longer transact money to bakal haji—-those people are crazy and just to make things difficult for everybody because their banks would not get anything out of the transactions—and now they realize it and want the piece of the pie  as well. But whatever it is most of us will have to carry a lot of cash. I did not get a chance to withdraw my money so I will go with whatever amount I have already, which is not that much. Mecca and Madinah are  famous for shopping other than the places of worship—-maybe this is not appropriate but some people can go @#$%! With the stuff and their price tags. Last time during the umrah trip a friend got a Rolex for under 2k, I have never seen a Rolex before so not sure that one was original or not, but I think so. I got a Rolex too for 50 rial, it’s broken and useless…what a waste. Can you fix it so the hand turns?, Nope! Said the Chinaman; why? ….. it’s fake, he said plainly. I hope I can control myself this time around and not too overly excited with shopping. No more fighting with Arab ladies and no more arguing with old makcik at the dining hall over a seat at the table. I will go with nothing to win, nothing to lose or nothing to fight for. I just want forgiveness from my Lord, a small space for my prayers, and a small  opportunity to complete my hajj.
Another exciting stuff is food. Arabic cuisine is sumptuous, rich and superbly tasty, at least that’s what I think. Nothing close to the mandy dishes in Shah Alam. But to get one you have to fight your way in and beg to buy it like getting  free stuff at a charity center, sometimes they just whuuuish you away with his Arabic or Turkish or whatever language that I knew it meant —go away we are not selling! All the chicken burning in the oven and none for me…….hmmmm I just did not understand how these people work…….I mean buying food is not as simple as we used to in Malaysia, they have these weird ways of wheeling and dealing. Try buying food in a restaurant and you will know what I am talking about. But it was good I tell you. The cheap way around is to get yourself a big round of bread and eat it with butter or yogurt. I will try that this time around and see how long I can last. I don’t want to rely on food given by TH because you have to go back and forth for the meals and that means joining the big crowd every time you leave the mosque.
InsyaALlah, He will show the way……

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