Wednesday, April 25, 2012

Jerusalem - Holy Land Hotel

We arrived in the old city of Jerusalem yesterday and managed to take a stroll around the city.

I felt as if I had been taken back in time with wonderful cobbled streets, little alleys leading of many main walkways. It is probably easy to get lost in this maze, but we stick to the main routes and had no problem.

Our hotel is the Holy Land Hotel which Is probably just as ancient as the city.... Not the luxury we have become accustomed to, but hey..... they have free wifi so I am not complaining LOL.

Even the lifts are from yesteryear - the door still opens out like the old days and it's tiny.... All 7 of us can't fit in one go.

Here are s few pics of the hotel - we are off on a day trip today and will hopefully post some pics later today.

Take care

Hugz

Shamela

Tuesday, April 24, 2012

Pics of lounge area

Ok so here are the pics I promised of our hotel in Jordan

We have wifi in our room now so @ least I can update my blog easily for the next four days until we move on again.

I have learned here that hotel lobby's are always inviting and gorgeous, but that doesn't always mean the rooms and service is on par..... LOL.

Will post new hotel's pics soon and some pics of our view.

Have a super week further.

Hugz

Shamela

Monday, April 23, 2012

Amman Jordan

We have left Saudi Arabia after spending one night in Jeddah at the Red Sea Palace Hotel.

Wow.... Breakfast was a feast of new and different beautifully presented foods.... As luck would have it for all the days our driver has collected us....he has been late.... This morning he is early... So breakfast was a rushed affair of which none of us were impressed.

The hotel in Jeddah is an old hotel, bit the staff aim to please which was delightful and the cherry on top, most of them spoke and understood English so we could communicate effectively.

I am now sitting in our hotel room in Amman, Jordan. About a 2 hr flight from Jeddah. The drive from the airport proved to be mostly desert with an attempt at farming in large tent like structures not uncommon in South Africa. Also, lots of fruit - think they were strawberries being sold along the roadside. Also veggies like carrots, tomatoes and olives. Fortunately it's only about 25 degrees so we feel blessed with cooler weather.... Having experienced 29 to 33 degrees @ 4 am and soaring temps of 37 to 39 during the day in Mecca. At final Prayer for the day.... Which commenced at 20h10 the stone outside the mosque in Mecca stilled burned your feet. This is an indication of how hot it is here. The sun would have set at 18h40 and the stone was still hot!

Anyway this hotel is not the 5 stars we are used to, but it's close to where we want to be for the next part of our travels. I will tell more when we get back Inshallah (God willing).

Meanwhile this is the view from my hotel room.

Will post pics of hotel lobby if I get the chance.

Really missing home right now.... And I haven't scrapped or stamped in almost a month having withdrawal symptoms big time. Looking forward to going to Spier in May for the mixed media event-I am sure this will cure my ails .....LOL.

Have a wonderful week.

Hugz

Shamela

Friday, April 20, 2012

Our last Jumah (Friday prayers) in Makka

Hello everyone

It was a long wait today for the Friday sermon and prayer here in Mecca. In order to secure a seat in the air-conditioned area we had to be here @ 10h30 already for 12h20.

There are soooooo many people here and because Jumah is a special day, many of the residents out of Mecca come in on a Thursday evening to 'catch' the Friday prayer or Jumah as we call it. With the result, the haram is filled to capacity. Women sit separately from the men.

It is our last Jumah here, we were very fortunate to have 1 Jumah in Medina ( the mosque of our Prophet Mohammed PBUH) and 2 here in Mecca.

I am sad to be leaving yet also been missing the family back home, so am suffering from mixed feelings right now. What I find totally unexplainable is that the talk is delivered in Arabic and although we as South African Muslims can read Arabic, we cannot speak or understand the language except for a few key words here and there. This is the unexplainable - despite the lack of understanding, there are underlying emotions that surface when the Imam (guess we can call him a priest) delivers his sermon. I find myself sobbing with emotion and can feel the urgency and his pleas to the Almighty for guidance, peace around the world, keeping us on the path of the good, among other things.

These pics are but a small section of the Holy Mosque in Mecca which has been set aside for women. There are countless ones all around the Haram which stretches for kilometers around the Kaba and they are all filled to capacity spilling out into the streets and paths around the haram.

We waited for half an hour to avoid the crush of people leaving the haram - this gives you an idea of the number of people here and that was just in our section alone.

These pics where sneaked with my iPad but I hope it will give u a small idea of the number of people here.

All colors, denominations, races, creeds coming here to serve their Creator.

We leave here on Sunday morning - I hope that there will be wifi at our hotel in Jordan and one more city we are visiting before returning to South Africa on the 30th.

Have a wonderful day

Hugz

Shamela

Wednesday, April 18, 2012

Hello from Saudi Arabia

Hi all

I am waiting for my room to be serviced and am sitting in hotel lobby lounge cause the wifi works here.

Thought I would share with you very quickly what it looks like.

I am missing my children and family back home, but skype and FaceTime helps to keep in touch.

Almost time for afternoon prayers so this will have to be quick

Have a blessed and wonderful day

Hugz
Shamela

Monday, April 16, 2012

A room with a view....or not...,,

Hello bloggers and stampers

Wow, it's been a busy,tiring, yet spiritually rewarding adventure this far.

We have had stumbles and ups and downs but I would so do this again if given another opportunity Inshallah ( God Willing).

Today I decided I had to show you the view from our hotel room. This place is a hive of construction at the moment with new hotels going up all the time and of course the ever expansion of the haram which is the mosque in Mecca where the Kaba is. I believe that it's been found to be the centre of the earth....so I guess perhaps that's why there is such an attraction to this place for Muslims all over the world. I just love this diversity, each waqt (prayer time) you have the opportunity to meet another sister from a different part of the world. Even though we don't speak the same language and understanding each other is very difficult, it somehow is amazing that just by knowing some words of Arabic, which we have in common, like Inshallah ( if God so wills) Mubarak (congratulations or something to that effect Lol) we can have a conversation and learn a bit about each other and where we come from. there seems to be a kind of kinship that I haven't experienced travelling to other parts of the world.

The view we have is not spectacular but worth capturing anyway just cause I want to remember it and also would like to share it with you all.

Hope you all have a blessed and spectacular day.

Much love
Hugz

Shamela


Sunday, April 8, 2012

1am in Medina tranquility and peace

Hello bloggers

Last night we had the opportunity to visit our beloved Prophet Mohammed (PBUH) grave. One would say it was organised chaos, with literally hundreds of people all wanting to be in the same place at the same time.

It is a practise of visiting guests to pay respects and to pray a voluntary prayer for the Prophet (PBUH).

I take my hat off to the ladies who organised the visit so that each country had an opportunity to pay their respects. This is not easy as there are of course the patient pilgrim who is willing to wait their turn and there are those who are impatient.

It was a wonderfully spiritual and uplifting experience and I am so grateful that we have been afforded this opportunity.

Here are some pics I took between 1 and 2 am this morning as we walked back to our hotel. Here you have a feeling of safety that we have lost many years ago in South Africa. Never in our wildest dreams would we be walking around with cell phones, iPads And camera's at this time of night.

There are always people around - workers visitors and residents - I am starting to wonder if they ever sleep LOL.

Hope you are all well. We leave for Mecca on Tuesday so please keep us in your Duahs (prayers) so that we may have a safe journey and that we are in good health to complete our Umrah inshallah (God willing).

Hugz

Shamela

Tuesday, April 3, 2012

It feels so surreal being here

The last time Shafeek and I were here was in 1999 - 13 years ago.... amazing how developed this place has become

That old world charm has been somewhat lost with skyscrapers and more developments, but set foot in the Prophet Mohammed (PBUH) mosque and you feel a sense of tranquility and peace.

I was quite emotional just sitting there absorbing all the sights and sounds. It is so unreal, I am so eternally grateful to have been granted another opportunity to make this journey and pray that this is not my last. I know that sounds greedy, but once you have been here once, there seems to be a magnetic force which draws you here again.

It has always been a wish of mine to be here and share this wonderful place with my parents and family. I am here with my husbands brothers and sister so maybe in a way my wish has been granted, perhaps I should have been more specific when I wished it .... LOL...

That's it for now, hope to post some pics later

Have a wonderful day further

Hugz

Shamela

Monday, April 2, 2012

More pics

I am adding pics of my room - it's comfortable and has 2 queen beds in it.

I am exhausted - first voluntary prayers of the day is from 4 am and obligatory prayers is about 04.56. It is called Fajr.

I have arrived in medina

Hello fellow crafters.... We have finally arrived in Medina. We left South Africa on Sunday evening and have need travelling non stop since then.

Travelling through this part of the world requires lots of patience or (Sabr) as it is known in Arabic.

We arrived in Dubai and had to rush through customs checks where you are required to remove all shoes, jewellery, belts etc. Of course not speaking the language is a stumbling block, but fortunately there are English speaking people around and my brother in law understands and speaks the language a bit.

We are in desperate need of a shower and sleep.... but have been patiently waiting to be issued keys to our rooms

Will hopefully post pics of our rooms and the place as soon as I ha e some time.

Keep well all

Hugz

Shamela