Monday, February 20

Umrah 2012, Day Eight: Farewell Madinah

Today I finally figured out the one thing that Indonesian tour companies can teach their pilgrims which would increase many fold the well being of everyone on the pilgrimage. And that is how to use lifts. The length of time it takes to get out of a hotel purely because empty lifts are going up and down the building tending to incorrect requests is absurd in this day and age.

There was a distinct dust in the air today, something I took personally as an indication that we were going to leave. As a kind of farewell, I got a good eight rakaats in the al-Riad-ul-Jannah - I'm sure it's bigger than it used to be.

On the way to Makkah a few miles out of Madinah, we stopped off at the Miqaat to don our ihrams for our second umrah on this trip. The Miqaat was busier than I remember it being; in my memory it was a deserted and calm place compared to the transit hub it felt like today.

For me this umrah different mainly because I was now with company, but also because it didn't seem as urgent as it was when I had to do it hours after flying in. It took a little longer but it was much more relaxed. I also realised that the hardest part of the ihram conditions by far for me is to keep my gaze lowered. Yeah, yeah.