Last month I have the opportunity of a life time to perform Umrah for the first time. I was so excited but yet I felt so nervous, realizing that I have committed many wrong doings and sins. However, I took that opportunity to cleanse my entire life, mentally, physically and and most importantly spiritually.
The journey is divided into three destinations where I first visited Egypt then perform umrah in Makkah and finally to Madinah.
1) Cairo, Egypt
We (I went with my entire family) boarded the Saudi Airlines from Kuala Lumpur International Airport (KLIA). The flight journey was around 8 hours when we finally arrived at Jeddah Airport. Frankly, It was my first time travelling oversea (fuuh!). The food served was good, I don’t know what was it called, but it was very familiar in my hometown, a bryani-like rice and chicken. Yummie!
From Jeddah (after a one-night transit) we boarded another plane to Cairo which took only 2 hours ++ to reach there. Even tough I managed to get the seat by the window I wasn’t happy as it was right on the wing side and I couldn’t see the outside view (sigh..). For breakfast I chose the omelette set. Thankfully I didn’t chose the fancier cheese set as it was only a few slices of cheese and olives! It was a common dish in the middle east, not for Malaysian. I miss the crispy croissant which I ate with butter and strawberry jam spread. Lovely!
Not long after I finish my breakfast, we landed in Cairo, Egypt. A bus was already waiting for us and took us to the hotel. We stayed in Grand Pyramid Hotel. The sky in Cairo is laden with sand from the vast desert nearby but the temperature was quite cold as they had just passed their winter season.
We started the day by visiting a papyrus museum to see how was the first paper in the word was made. Truly amazing at how they use the papyrus plant, removed the liquid from the stem and use the dried stem as paper. The shape of the pyramid was told to inspired by the shape of the papyrus plant stem, which is triangular!
The next morning, we visited the Pyramids in Giza and also the Sphinx! I couldn’t believe that I was actually seeing the pyramids with my own eyes not just from the TV anymore. We took a few photos posing on the pyramids. You just have to be careful with the sellers here as they were quite harsh on pushing you to buy the things from them. I did not dare buying anything from them fearing that they might follow me everywhere. I really wanted to buy those beautiful postcards anyway ||^-^ Just be careful okay! After seeing the pyramids, we head on to the back of the pyramid to see the Sphinx.
Later in the evening, we drop by the famous market where I believed it is called Khan El Khalili. There were throngs of people as Cairo has quite a number of population! Yes there were hundreds and hundreds of Egyption on the streets, under the bridges, behind the streets and they were everywhere! Wow I never seen so many people that there are more people than cars and buildings. I realised that the locals here (the young ladies) were very trendy and colourful despite the gloomy and sandy atmosphere of Cairo. They wore the best and prettiest clothes everywhere even to the nearby shops but yet keeps to tradition and fairly modest. At the market, I bought some shirt for me and the rest I spent window shopping and observed the local people’s behavior :)
The next morning, we took our breakfast at the hotel itself. That was our last breakfast there as we have to fly back to Jeddah. The menu was great, with wide selection of food and gorgeous looking breads and pastries. I simply can’t forget the lime juice drink and the famous local hibiscus juice, Karkadeh or known as air roselle in Malaysia. Lovely ^-^ We left Egypt with a happy face.
Coming up… Road to Makkah