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Call of Adhaan – Modern Wonder 2

One of the things that I really miss while living in this cold/windy/frigid/ ehm… /nice/magnificent country is hearing the adhan (the call to prayer) summoned from the mosques five times a day. Listening to the various (upto 20) muezzins (callers of the adhan) with different tones but all at the same time is truly a blessed 2-3mts experience that you will have.

Especially having lived in a country like Saudi Arabia where there is a mosque every 2-3 blocks, I and many others used (and some still are) to complain about how everything comes to a complete stand-still during prayer times. Everything from the small baqala (grocery shop) to the largest of the largest supermarket chains (UPDATE: Bigger supermarkets are open during prayer time, but the counters are closed); the smallest start-up company to the biggest banks; and err… an online newspaper as well. There are even times when the traffic is at an all-time low during prayers. More about this can be read here.

And now I can really put the pieces together and get an idea of the complete picture. Getting those time-offs just so that you can pray on time is really something everyone should cherish. An excerpt from “Susie of Arabia”:

Another thing that struck me on this drive was the sheer number of mosques we passed along the way. I know that in Jeddah, there seems to be mosques every few blocks in every direction. But out in the middle of nowhere, it felt that even in extremely remote and sparsely populated areas, mosques stood every couple of miles or so. Some were very minimalist, with a floor, walls, a roof, and of course a minaret, and just bare openings without actual doors or windows affixed. Even very small villages seemed to have numerous mosques within their boundaries. When Muslims are traveling, they can delay saying their prayers until they arrive at their destination, but with mosques conveniently located every few miles, delaying prayer times is not really necessary.

What really made me write this post was this video that I stumbled upon. A British journalist for the BBC, Kate Humble, was in Jeddah(as part of the documentary, The Frankincense Trail) with the film crew where she was taken on top of a building in Balad (downtown Jeddah) during maghrib(sunset prayer). She was so over whelmed by the dozens of adhans that she breaks into tears.

I would like to end this post with this beautiful adhan from a mosque in Malaysia:

PS: For those of you who are wondering what the title of the post is all about, I was trying to make it sound similar to the latest game “Call of Duty – Modern Warfare 2” that hit the stores a few days back.

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I know you have been hearing this here, there and everywhere. But according to the motto of Homo sapiens, “Seeing is believing”, watch this video here and you will know what I mean.

We have been hearing about secure connections, ever since… err… you have been hearing them. But this video really blew up my mind. I, a person who totally makes use of hot-spots on the lappy or iTouch, use hot-spots to do simply everything ranging from Tweeting to transactions on my bank account!

The email in the video above, is Gmail and I believe it is valid to all email providers. But I do hope that the secure connections in Bank servers will prevent anything like that.

Stay safe!

Swine what?

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As the number of swine flu affected patients in Saudi Arabia increases, people are panicking more and more. So what does the government do about it to calm the people down? It releases newspaper reports such as this and that telling us what measures they are taking to prevent its entry into the Kingdom and how all entry points into Saudi Arabia are being watched.

Well, guess what? I landed in King Abdul Aziz International Airport in Jeddah on Friday night on a flight that was full of passengers from UK and Switzerland and no one in the flight was even stopped by the Ministry of Health, let alone checked/given vaccines.

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Swine flu doesn’t have any physical symptoms. So they cannot randomly choose someone from the crowd and be tested. Coming from UK where there is more than a 1000 cases of swine flu,  I was really amazed how everyone here is so concerned about it wheras I was least bothered about it during my stay over there.

Oops, did I just say that aloud? According to a fatwa issued by a Saudi Mufti, I and all other passengers were banned from traveling in/out of swine flu affected countries, in the first place!

Pictures/Cartoons: Saudi Gazette

FormulaOne to derive a new formula?

That sound of revving Red Bull Renault F1 engine that I experienced in Tahlia Street in Jeddah in March, 2008 still rings a bell in my mind.

The adrenaline that rushed inside me on that day, still flows within me and I have always thought about going to a race within the next 2 years.

And while I was out for my morning run today, I witnessed another one of my FormulaOne desires come true. The BrawnGP FormulaOne Car that won 6 out of 7 races this year was on display in Liverpool One (Formula One in Liverpool One, 😀 ). They were busy polishing it to the finest before the swarm of people flock-in to catch a glimpse of the car. I was lucky enough to capture a photo of that “electronic gadget”:

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Earlier today, I woke up to the news that Formula One might be splitting up from next year over cost-cutting issues. It seems that the “big teams” like Ferrari, McLaren, BrawnGP, Toyota, Renault, BMW Sauber, Red Bull and Torro Rosso, yes, thats pretty much all the teams that we have this year except the smaller ones like Force India. It seems that the association of the eight teams, FOTA, mentioned above are planning to set up a rival championship for the 2010 season.

All this because these teams did not agree to the budget cap set up by the governing body, FIA. Its probably the only adrenaline-filling sport and to see such a sport shattered into pieces is equally disappointing.