Leaving Karbala felt sad.
I hate traveling by road. Plane rides suit me best, primarily because I sleep through them. Bumpy, jolty bus rides are disgusting. *ick*
Reached Najaf. Comparatively less rural than Karbala, Najaf is Iraq's version of Hyderabad. I don't like it. Plus the weather has changed, and I've got a tickle in my throat. It's hotter here than Karbala and the hotel we've been allotted is absolutely disgusting. I am convinced that hell - whatever else it may feature - will definitely have invested in Indian toilets. I know that I'm missing the point here and minutes away from Ali's Haram perhaps these things should not be of paramount importance, but that said: SOMEBODY GET ME A FUCKING FIVE-STAR HOTEL ALREADY! To add salt to my gaping wounds (they started bleeding the minute they registered the dirty bathrooms) a fellow travelor from Tanzania tells us over dinner about how cheap Shaam (Syria) is and how she spent the last week pilgrimag-ing in a seven-star hotel at only 33 US D's a night. My point being: where's my cheap seven star hotel may I know? My entire body aches now, I want a goddamn jacuzzi. And a Thai massage.
Tell me, would it be inappropriate to de-route to Thailand on the way home from Iraq?
Plgrimage-ing is war. Seriously, you have to see the multiplicity of bruises all over my body to understand what I'm talking about. As soon as you enter the the shrine it's open season. I'm told the men's section is more civilized (although my brother did complain of being shoved - or was it punched - that 'one' time), but let me tell you women here are scary. Remember what your elders must have told you about the female of the species being deadlier? They must have experienced a series of Ziarats too! Faith, it seems, does not inspire a desire to stand in line or wait for your turn to pay homage. True faith demands that you push with all the strength God gave you (and then some), poking everyone in front of you with your nails (specially grown for this purpose) - anything to remove obstacles (in this case other people) from their path towards salvation. My back could tell you tales of female brutality during pilgrimage. After it stops whining with pain, that is.