Saturday, November 17, 2012

Umroh: Part 1 (Jeddah - Medina)

Ola amigo! Rainy season has come! Have you prepared your own raincoat? The weather here in Jakarta has been so lovely, I think. The city has been shrouded in black clouds lately. But it makes you miss the sunshine a bit, don't you think? Speaking of sunshine, I wanna tell you about my visit to several cities that always exposed by sun throughout the year (according to some sources: rain only pour 2 times during one year in those cities). Yup, it's Umroh Trip! And the cities I mentioned before were Medina, Mecca, and Jeddah. So, back in may, me and my family (dad, mom, 2 younger brothers) including my grandma, my uncle, and lil bro's friend went to Saudi Arabia for approximately 1 week for Umroh. That was a very precious moment because we finally found a chance to gather over our packed schedule and to be honest, this was my first trip abroad. So the excitement went rising to the highest level.

The flight schedule supposed to be at 2 pm but we went straight to the airport at 11 am because of some regulations that requires the participants to arrive early and gather 3 hours before boarding time. So we waited for about 2 hours at the airport. But to be honest, there's no boring moment at all because all I can feel is only the excitement!! And finally here it comes the boarding time. Off we went to depart to Jeddah! Bismillah. :)

So after 9 hours flight, we finally arrived at King Abdul Aziz airport at 12am (if I'm not mistaken). We had to wait for about 1,5 hours until the immigration officers are ready. I find it a lil bit boring to wait because my body already in a tired state, so I tried to distract myself with snacking and playing with my cellphone after Isha prayer. Actually, besides all the excitement that makes my heart beating so fast, honestly I also feel a lil bit anxious because of arabia's myth and stories that I heard from people who already went for Umroh. But alhamdulillah, everything's well because I keep praying I won't do any harm here. After the immigration thingy had finally finished, we directly went to bus to head to Medina (approx 5 hours from Jeddah). In the bus we got our dinner and surprisingly our dinner menu was none other than rendang!! Hahaha. We flew hundred miles away from Indonesia and got rendang inside our box meal! I found it a bit funny but it turns out that it's a common menu because so many Indonesian go to Saudi Arabia along the year.

Arrived at 4am in the morning, we had to wait (again) to get our rooms prepared. Because the trip was at peak season, so the visitor quite a lot and the hotel's employees were extremely busy. Our group wasn't the only group that had to wait until we get our room. But before us, there were 1 or 2 groups that already waited in lobby. So after waiting for 30mins, we got the key and went straight to our room and when we entered the room, it surprised me because it much more looks like an apartement than a hotel room. Got no enough time to rest, we then went straight to Al-Masjid An-Nabawi to do subuh prayer. The distance between hotel and Nabawi is really close. Only takes 5 minutes walk. By the way, looking at so many people walking to the Mosque to pray is just too breath-taking to be honest. Feels different when I'm in Indonesia. In Medina, I feel that I'm really nothing. Just a body filled with stack of sin. And I'm so thankful that I've got a chance to feel that feeling. It makes me realized that life isn't only about how we live now, but how we live the life after the death.

The first time I stepped my feet on Nabawi's floor was absolutely thrilling. I am completely in awe by how well the architecture is. High ceiling with many stripes ornaments on the wall that sometimes resemble Egypt's. Along the corridor there're tons gallons of zamzam water and you are able to choose whether you want to drink it cold or warm. And it's all free. The mosque is divided into several sections and each section is big. Each entrances are guarded by Askar. No cellphone and camera allowed inside the mosque. So, sadly, I didn't get to take any photos inside the mosque. But I think it's fair enough because I don't want to spoil you too much. You have to experience it yourself! :p

pardon their sleepy faces, pals! :p

So many merchants on the way back to the hotel. They sell various things from meals until jewellery. The unique things is when I went to the mosque there're no merchants at all alongside the street. But when the prayer had finally done, you could find them in every step. After doing little investigation, I got the fact that there is city's regulation that prohibiting the merchant to sell when it comes to prayer time. They will be forfeit if they still doing trading activities in the time of prayer. So here they were selling this and that after the prayer had finally finished. The mosque's courtyard was completely packed and crowded. You can hear the merchant shouts "10ribu rupiah! 10 ribu rupiah!" from every corner of the street.

And the city tour had finally begun after we finished our breakfast at 9. The first destination was Quba Mosque. It took about 30 mins to go there from the hotel. Quba Mosque is actually the oldest mosque in the world. For more information about this mosque, you can read it here. We didn't get enough time to enjoy the scenery because the schedule was packed so the tour leader said we gotta hurry move to the next destination. We spent approx 1 hour to enjoy the view, take some photos, and do sunnah prayer. And then, off we went to the next destination!

The tour continued to Jabal Uhud. During the trip from Quba Mosque to Jabal Uhud, I've seen cluster of rocks along the way. Another awesomeness to enjoy because I haven't seen that kind of view in Indonesia. We finally arrived at Jabal Uhud in no time. Completely forgot about the length of travel time but all I can remember is when we arrived there, the sun was at its peak. It was so hot. And as far as the eyes could see, I've only seen rock mountain, sand hill, and hundreds of people trying to reach its peak to pray and enjoy the scenery.

My youngest brother with his friend. Kinda Swag, aren't they? :p

Time went so fast when you're in happy mode, indeed. The schedule for day 1 is finally over. We went back to hotel to get some rest and we also went to Nabawi Mosque. On the way back from mosque, me and my mom decided to take a different path to reach the hotel for sight-seeing. Neighborhood around the mosque is full with so many hotels. The sun is always shining so bright in Medina, but surprisingly it's always fresh, either the air or the atmosphere. Speaking of fresh, I think I'm going to divide the story into several posts to keep the mood 'fresh'. Hehehe. So, to stop my finger and to cover up the story, here is a glimpse of Nabawi Mosque. All photos taken by my brother, Ilham.

P.S: Actually there are few destinations more that I visited during the tour in day 1. But pardon my lame brain, pals. I can't seem to remember the details of each places. But one thing for sure, I also visited palm groves and another place on day 1. So, I'll see you on the next post with more interesting story to tell. Adios!!

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