mecca & madinah, saudi arabia

11 February 2016
My first activity of 2016! Performing my umrah for the 3rd time & spending a week in Mecca & Madinah.

Our flight from Milan to Doha was on the 30th of December and we finally got to Mecca on the 31st morning. After checking in, resting and having dinner, we performed our umrah which took about 4 hours & welcomed the new year whilst doing our last lap of the sa'y. It was my 3rd time frequenting the holy land but it was my first time performing it while welcoming the new year. It was a memorable experience and we continued to stay in Mecca for 3 days to perform prayers before we head to over to Madinah to visit Prophet Muhammad's tomb.

MECCA



Sheep snoozies in the plane!

Changing into our jubahs at the Qatar lounge.

Waiting for our transfer flight to Mecca 

Touch down in Mecca airport

Doesn't look it but they're tiny sejadahs hahaha.

Taken right after we performed our umrah! After midnight on the 1st of January.

Around sunset, the influx of people never fails to stun me.

Al-Haram mosque. The largest mosque in the world that surrounds the Ka'abah. Islam's holiest place.

Inside the mosque. I mostly used my iPhone to take photos in Mecca because it was less fussy than taking with my camera.



Islamic architecture is breathtaking. Marbled walls, intricate details with splashes of green (Prophet Muhammad's favourite colour- therefore deemed very much an Islamic colour) and gold.



Wearing jubahs felt so airy and comfortable! No fuss lol.  




I took these photos with my iPhone and processed them with Lightroom. Really pleased with how the colours turned out. I expected them to be really inflexible to work with but I was wrong!



Distorted pano shot but I take what I can get. Hahaha


Taken on our last day.


Check out :) 

MADINAH


Checking in! We hired a driver and drove from Mecca to Madinah. I can't really say if it was a pleasant drive coz I slept all the way.


View of Nabawi mosque from our hotel room. 

Night

Day

Do you see that green dome? Directly underneath it is where the tomb of Prophet Muhammad lies.

White tents to shield from the harsh sunlight. 



Our hotel, like the one in Mecca is conveniently located right outside the mosques. So it was a really short walk!



Blue detailings on the tent. It expands gradually throughout the day.



Inside the Nabawi mosque







People exiting the mosque after prayers







After we prayed, we went to the market nearby just to browse and move our feet lol




The first time I went to Mecca & Madinah, I was pleasantly surprised to find merchants conversing in fluent malay. When I asked them about it, they attributed the trait to the hundreds of thousands of Malaysians/Indonesians that travel to Saudi every year.




Clashes of patterns


Uncle in deep thoughts






Scarf merchants





Selling nuts and tiny biscuits






Three amigos






I can safely say, I never fail to enjoy my stay whenever I'm in Saudi. I especially enjoyed this trip's umrah. It was the first time we performed it in cool, winter weather. The previous years we would perform prayers in 40+ degree celcius dry heat! There is something liberating and gratifying, that lies in giving yourself up to something higher and binding. I can't wait for more opportunities like these.
 There's also not much to do except pray 5 times a day, eat, sleep and read. 

When I was in Europe & Saudi, I began to read extensively as a form of distraction since I didn't have my laptop with me. I used to despise reading on screen, as a result I often latched onto the conventional binds of a friendly book. I welcomed the nostalgic worn out scent of aging frames. But as of last year, I started reading on the iPad mini a lot. I bought books from iBooks and so I carried a portable library with me everywhere. My hoarder self finds sooooo much solace in this lol.  It also facilitated night readings very swiftly. I could change the font+sizes as I see fit. The retina display didn't strain my eyes either! It took a while of getting used to but once I did, I couldn't go back.

Here are the books I read on this trip:

A book about the author's personal experience on how to cultivate/maintain good habits that I finished on the flight enroute to Amsterdam. 

A literary orgasm. I haven't gaped and moaned about books like I did with this gem. The author manages an incredible feat of capturing a blind girl's perspective with words. I didn't read this for its storyline but for its raw, beguiling masterpiece of words. 

Heartwrenching. And extremely painful to read. 

Probably my umpteenth time re-reading my favourite childhood book. It was just something to pass the time for the 2.5 hour flight from Doha to Mecca.

The only trilogy I read on the trip. A true account of a real Saudi princess. I thoroughly enjoyed this book! The validity of events are up for discussion but still a rivetting read, entailing the chained lives of women in Saudi.

Cute and easy read that reminded me of what first loves felt like in high school. 

Finally got around to read this book. Enriching story about a German girl's life in her foster home during Nazi Germany. Narrated by the personification of death himself. 

A classic I will read to my kids. I implore you to read it. READ IT! 

That was the last book I read for a while. After I came back, I began watching lots of Japanese animes and reading mangas. Especially in KL & KK. But that is a post for another day. 

I just came back from a 1 week trip in Osaka + Kyoto, Japan! So I'm gonna be as efficient as possible and try and be more current with my posts. 

Here's to hoping everyone has a beautiful day ahead.

Lots of love, 
Sara
Sara Suhaili. Powered by Blogger.