Makkah Travel Blog› entry 5 of 6 › view all entries
We were very fortunate because we have many relatives in Mekkah - my great grandfather came to Malaysia in the late 1800s as a trader and got married to my Malaysian great grandmother. After going back and forth between these two countries, he died in Singapore in the early 1900s. Despite the distance, we are still in contact with the relatives and so took this opportunity to meet up with them.
My uncles told us that my greatgrandfather's former house is within the Masjidil Haram compound - where the goldsmiths shops are now, near Door 56...to think that it used to be my great grandfather's house! Mekkah has changed so much over the years - my uncles related that last time when they did the Sa'ei , they had to do it in between traders selling vegetables and food- all this changed when they covered up and redid the area between Safa and Marwa.
With relatives, we had to oblige their invitations to lunch and dinner, including going to sleep at an uncle's house in Jeddah. As in other Arab countries, dinner is usually late, after the Isyak prayers and can start at 2200 hrs...we were usually so sleepy by the time dessert was served. Meals usually consisted of rice served with a whole lamb. I loved it! Another delicacy was serving the lamb's brain - delicious for the adventurous like me, but not for my mum unfortunately. Desserts were great - trifle, baklavas and all sorts of cakes!
2 of my cousins are lecturers at the Mekkah Umm ul Qura University, and we went to a souk away from the Masjidil Haram area, nearer their university - in an area called Aziziyah - it was there that we bought many robes/arbayas and souvenirs...we were thankful that they gave us the use of their Ethiopian driver to chaffeur us around the shopping areas and to show us the sights not shown in our tour - like the graves of our relatives, the local supermarket where they shop and their children's schools.... it was great to see how our Meccan relatives lived.