Sunday, February 19

Umrah 2012, Day Seven: Common Denominators

I made a few more negative observations today - it seems like a lot of pilgrims need to be constantly reminded not to pray toward the Prophet's grave, while others (quite amusingly to me anyway) walk backwards out of the mosque in order to not point their backs in the direction of the same. Now I know wahabis get a lot of stick from others for being so fundamentalist, but after seeing things like these I think I know who'd I prefer to be guardians of these things. My father reckons it'll only be a matter of time before they have to obscure or even full remove access to these relics and artefacts, and I can't help but agree. It's a shame, but I guess that's what the common denominator does.

The museum in the prophet's mosque is worth a quick peek, but don't go out of your way to visit it. Time is much better spent remembering death in the graveyard of Janat-ul-Baqee adjacent to the Mosque. Make sure you don't miss visiting that.

My discomfort with tour groups grew on schedule today. They remind me of how cattle is herded; photo-tourist cattle, where you're instructed exactly what to do and where to do it, and how you must read pages 3-5 of your complimentary tour dua booklet in the right place. To me it's kind of devoid of any will or spirit and is actually quite cancerous.

One of the best ways to calm down after such a rant is to lie down under one of the open domes of the mosque - they didn't seem to open much during our stay here, but I found one this evening and it was lovely to stare into that window of infinity if only for a while.

On the way back to the hotel, I noticed another slight change with the calling card stalls now replaced with PAYG SIMs and top-up vouchers. Otherwise it's the same people sitting on the same stools selling out of the same perspex boxes.

My final achievement of today was to find out the name of the hot presenter from MBC3. Her name is Dania Shafi. I must look her up when I get back.

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