THE JOURNEY FROM HOME TO JEDDAH
[Beginning of the Journal]
May 7, 1994:
My friends and family came to the Charleston airport to see me off.
I boarded Delta flights via Atlanta to JFK. I reached JFK around 7:00 p.m. At the Atlanta airport I was happy to see a good number of Muslim women travelers with Hijab.
At JFK, I needed to take a red/blue bus from the Delta terminal to the International terminal for Royal Jordanian [airlines]. At JFK I met Khalid (group organizer), Maulana and Sharif at the Royal Jordanian ticket counter.
We prayed Maghrib and Isha in the waiting area at a time when boarding for an Icelander flight was going on. It hopefully served as good Dawa to show non-Muslims the Muslim prayer.
There were about sixty-one people, including women and a couple of children at the airport who were traveling in our group.
The plane left around 10:00 p.m. for Amsterdam. The seats were small and uncomfortable.
It took about eight hours to reach Amsterdam. The time appeared to be at a standstill. We were not allowed to leave the plane at the airport and just took some fresh, cool morning breeze from the open doors while the cleanup of the plane was under way.
Another six-hour flight brought us to Amman (Jordan).
Adding to the discomfort of the flight so far was a lack of air. However, another element which disturbed me greatly was the in-flight movies I had to put up with. To begin with, the movies were American not Jordanian. I was thinking of the slavery of the Jordanian mind to the West.
Jordan, of course, is not alone in such slavery. Most Third World countries do the same. I wished there were no movies. But if they did want to show something there they had a chance to show the Jordanian culture.
The torture was felt more because I was going for Hajj and did not want worldly distractions. The airline also knew that a good number of passengers were going for Hajj and could have adjusted their presentations according to the comfort of their passengers.