Sunday, May 8, 2011

Suleiman and Saladin in Medina - Umrah Pilgrimage Part 18

FOOD & FAG. On the 23rd March 2011, I was still in Medina, the City of the Prophet. That was the 3rd day of my pilgrimage and my cache of cigarettes was reaching dangerously low level. So I decided to walk the city to look for food and fags. Later that evening I came back, and I recounted the day's event in an sms to Heche (which I happily saved in my phone for prosperity). The sms told a story...

"I like wandering alone. Found myself at d other end (of the Masjid Nabawi - the Prophet's Mosque) at the clock tower, and behind one building was a open-air food court (It was full of pilgrims from Indonesia, Bangladesh and Pakistan as well as a large crowd of Kurds and Arabs). I had briani rice with chicken (wuu Huu!). Fella next to me was sulaiman from Kurdistan. I said, 'Me from Malaysia'...'Belorussia?' he responded. Hehehehe. We spoke about the geopolitical situation in Iran, Iraq and Turkey which surrounds his country. Also spoke at length about Salahuddin al-Ayubi (Saladin), conqueror of Jerusalem - who was a Kurdish, "just like me", Suleiman reminded me. And he spoke to me all in Kurdistan-arabic. 3 days in Medina and I am already multilingual... Hehehe. Oh, yes. He also said that he was a 'Qadiriya' sufi, and we both agreed that he was a 'dervish'. I don't know how he knew the word 'dervish' out of all the English vocabulary. After all, the only other English words I was able to discern from Suleiman was Yes, No and Okay. Hehehe."

HARAM! HARAM! Although successful in procuring food, the sinner however abjectly failed to find cigarettes - my shy inquiries often being rebuffed with a gruff "Haram! Haram!" (Forbidden! Forbidden!) reaction from the locals. "Lighten up, will you?", I asked churlishly in my head, walking away disappointed and slighted. (I know, pet. You worry about my smoking addiction. You gotta give me time, until then, I am not blind to the truth, that...)

150. Dunhill
You are blinded by the plumes of smoke
From the fire that you yourself stoke.

I HAVE A CUNNING PLAN... Only later did I confirm my worse fears - that although you are permitted to smoke in the Holy Land of Medina (and Mecca too), nobody is permitted to trade in the cancer stick within the holy sanctuary. So you can only legally buy a pack of Marlboro Light (my preferred nicotine plug) outside the Holy Land territory, which is about 25 minutes drive from the hotel. "Oh yeah?!" I mused, my fiendish mind already hatching a cunning plan to break Saudi law and find cigarettes before my last pack runs out. But that is a story for another posting, sunshine.

Had a sunny Sunday, sunshine?

Its broiling hot here in Kuala Lumpur.

Pax Taufiqa.

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