Archive for July, 2002

straight from becca, better known as mecca

i just got back to riyadh from umrah (that is the lesser pilgrimage, in islam)
basically i went from riyadh to the mountain city of taif, stayed there, from there carried out a “sortie” on the haram-al-shareef (noble sanctuary, that is the holiest site in islam) in mecca, got back to taif, rested, and got back to riyadh
the haram is as wonderous as ever, the ka’bah a looming and magnificent structure as throngs of pilgrims go around it without stop (except for the five obligatory prayers spaced out throughout the day) — and this is at 2:30 am, mind you
i can’t estimate, but there were quite a few thousand people around — from all over the world — and this isn’t even hajj
(the bible makes a prophecy about a house of worship where mass worship never stops, the doors are always open — to my knowledge, there is no such place except for mecca)
we left the mosque at 5:00 am, having completed the umrah and fajr prayers there
great experience as usual
except for the extremists barking at women to move
you see, during salat time, space really fills up — and the haram isn’t segregated by solid barriers (it just can’t be), so some women overflowed into the space for men, and that was fine because room was made for them — until this old extremist moron comes and starts barking at them to move, violently and vuglarly, and they comply to a degree — but there’s no space, where do you expect them to go — and he keeps barking at them
so a youth who was watching it all finally gets up and tries to stop him, this old geezer smacks him a couple of times and a fight erupts (verbal, thankfully — the youth didn’t get a chance to retaliate physically as some mohrems stopped both)
this, ladies and gentlemen, is the spirit of islam, if you can’t get some tolerance and peace in haram al-sharif, don’t expect iran and iraq to become the best of bed fellows
what really ticked me off is the way the mutawwas or “religious police” — they weren’t even religious police, i think, but rather some dudes appointed by the mosque — and their manner of getting women to move wasn’t much different than this old geezer (who wasn’t authorized by the mosque) — they were WHIPPING at the women with their robes, what the hell is that
you get people from all over the world coming to this single spot, you’d expect some decency, tolerance, kindness, understanding, and peacefulness from these annointed ones
but no, let’s all bark like dogs

notes:
- saudi government’s done a bang up job on the roads, really well made … so why not bother putting a few signs here or there to let people know where they’re headed and how to get there?
- how about teaching people safe driving habits, such as not going damn slow on a heavily used single-track mountain road so that the other morons don’t try to pass you and the car behind you — it’s a wonder more people get out of the mountain road alive than dead
- perhaps a little more forward outlook and planning in mecca would help to NOT make it such a disaster spot? why not build fast moving mass train systems between mecca and other cities (i.e. taif, jeddah, etc.) so that those buses don’t kill every odd fellow with asthma and breathing problems and cause massive traffic jams and slow a trip that would normally take fifteen minutes to four hours during hajj season?
a little planning could save a lot of inconvenience
- a lot more could be said and done, shame it is

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i was watching libyan tv — official state run channel
and there was this song, with a great and catchy tune (in arabic), with french subtitles
“afreeqya ya harra!” — “L AFRIQUE LIBRE” — that is, “a free africa”
and it had beautiful verses, like “the colour of the night is in your beautiful eyes, the beauty of eyes that are black”
or something like that
but it kept showing qaddafi when it came to particularly heroic words and slogans (also showed lumumba, and qaddafi with mandela)
that song is stuck in my head

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well here i am again, in saudi arabia
oh, just in case i didn’t tell y’all, i am in saudi arabia to spend my summer vacation here
notes on the journey:
- thank God it was safe and to a degree enjoyable
- air canada sucks, the food was utterly bland, the in-flight entertainment was put on at the wrong times (no personal screens, either) and they showed monsters, inc., which is old and not that good
- london-heathrow’s terminal 3 sucks, in all my trips i’ve always rested in terminal 4, but this time it was terminal 3, and it sucks
- i ventured into a bookstore in london-heathrow and read a lot about the making of the spider-man movie, also i read martin luther king’s views on malcolm x (in the apparent autobiography of martin luther king, jr.) — and let’s just say martin is an ignoramus when it comes to malcolm (maybe he should’ve read the autobiography of malcolm x, it would’ve helped)
- saudi arabian airlines has improved a lot since i last traveled in it, it has personal screens, the in-flight entertainment was diverse and (hey, air canada) actually entertaining (i watched ocean’s eleven, i had to watch it twice to completely figure it out, great movie, folks) — and the food was fine
- air canada sucks
also i am trying to finish “the silmarillion” by j.r.r. tolkien, it’s like a prequel to the events in the lord of the rings (a pre-pre-prequel, more like it)
i’m in riyadh
moreover, i like cheesypuffs
and i have dial up here so i can’t be online 24/7
and dial up is so painfully slow

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i haven’t really been posting much
not much to say i guess
school ends and my life ends…
what life?
exactly…

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just a castaway
an island lost at sea
another lonely day
with no one here but me
more loneliness
than any man could bear
rescue me before i fall into despair

i’ll send an s.o.s. to the world
i’ll send an s.o.s. to the world
i hope that someone gets my
i hope that someone gets my
i hope that someone gets my
message in a bottle

a year has passed since i wrote my note
but i should have known this right from the start
only hope can keep me together
love can mend your life
but love can break your heart

i’ll send an s.o.s. to the world
i’ll send an s.o.s. to the world
i hope that someone gets my
i hope that someone gets my
i hope that someone gets my
message in a bottle

walked out this morning
don’t believe what i saw
a hundred billion bottles
washed up on the shore
seems i’m not alone at being alone
a hundred billion castaways
looking for a home

i’ll send an s.o.s. to the world
i’ll send an s.o.s. to the world
i hope that someone gets my
i hope that someone gets my
i hope that someone gets my
message in a bottle

- the police

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well i haven’t posted for a few days

the past three days i was attending various pre-wedding and the wedding ceremonies of my sister’s husband’s mother’s brother’s daughter… (my brother-in-law’s maternal cousin)

…i was thinking about people who drink alcoholic beverages and how stupid they are, and their absurd excuses

let’s analyze the case of two idiots

idiot 1: “i drink responsibly”
idiot 2: “i shoot myself in the foot responsibly”

idiot 1: “i know when i’ve drank too much”
idiot 2: “i know when i’ve shot myself in the foot too much”

idiot 1: “there’s nothing wrong with a drink once in a while”
idiot 2: “there’s nothing wrong with shooting myself in the foot once in a while”

so as you can see, drinking is for idiots, as is shooting yourself in the foot
in either case, you can develop severe physical disabilities, diseases, and infections and stuff
but it is only in the case of drinking that you develop mental disabilities
(the bullet doesn’t go straight to your brain)

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