During the Arabic language learning process that I underwent for about the last 1 week, I encountered the following sentence:
And I remembered a story from a few years ago, precisely in 2017.
At that time, my family and I were performing Umrah. Zeze Vavai was 11 years old, and Vivian Aulia Zahra was 7 years old. We landed in Medina and, after some time, departed for Mecca.
During the Tawaf, the Mutawwif (Umrah guide, the literal meaning is actually someone who performs Tawaf) warned us not to feel the urge to pee. Because if you feel the urge to pee, you have to leave the line, find a toilet that is quite far away and then return to continue Tawaf.
Since we never knew when we would want to pee, plus the cold air and cool air conditioning, we temporarily didn’t drink, hehehe… Rather than getting confused later, it’s better to perform Tawaf together. Although now I think it’s okay to do Tawaf alone, it might hinder the group’s schedule later.
Thank God, the Tawaf process went smoothly. The problem occurred during the Sa’i, the small run between Safa and Marwah.
After only 2 rounds of walking and running, Zeze Vavai suddenly felt the urge. I asked if he could hold it until we finished, but he said he couldn’t.
So, in the end, Zeze Vavai and I separated from the group and went to find a restroom.
We asked the askar (Saudi Arabian police/military) who was guarding the area, “I’m sorry sir, where is the toilet?”
The askar looked at us with a puzzled expression. “Toilet sir, restroom…” I repeated, but the askar remained confused. He called his friend over, and they both spoke while shaking their heads.
Finally, I tried to demonstrate what I meant, as if I needed to pee, hehehe…
Finally, the askar understood. He pointed in a direction and said something like, “You’ll see a sign there. Turn left and then right, follow the direction, and you’ll see many people peeing there.”
Hahaha, Zeze Vavai and I thanked him and rushed to the restroom he had pointed to. As the askar had said, we had to wander around a bit before we found the sign for the toilet.
After finishing and performing wudhu, Zeze Vavai and I returned to the Sa’i area and resumed the Sa’i that had been delayed.
Alhamdulillah, the Umrah pilgrimage went smoothly. When we were leaving the Masjid al-Haram for our hotel, we were approached by some Pakistanis who offered, “Let’s shave your head, 5 riyals, 10 riyals…”
Seriously, these Pakistani people offered their services to shave our heads with that phrase, perhaps because many Indonesians are their targets for shaving their heads bald and also for tidying up our hair during the Tahalul phase. We just needed to tell them how many centimeters of hair we wanted left.
Years later, I learned that when asking for the restroom, I just needed to say:
Now my vocabulary has expanded a bit. If only I had intended to learn Arabic and could at least have basic conversations, maybe I could chat a bit more and ask:
من أين أنت
Instead of asking, “Where are you from?” as I always did to the pilgrims on my left or right side. 😊