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Subject: Singapore #77 - Kicking 'round the Kaaba
(Posted on Oct 4, 2014 at 01:20PM ) Tags:
So what gives with that Kaaba reference and analogy toward the end of that chapter, when Bob and a couple of the lads were decompressing at the end of the night after they left the wedding. They were having drinks and chatting to a posse of females inside the ever-interesting Orchard Towers with its famed nightlife that was otherwise covered in this other post.

Girls, smelling money, gathered like the slow counterclockwise-circling pilgrim swarm around the Kaaba in Mecca during Hajj.

Bob was thinking in that general sense of Islam, as Ramadan was full on during that October 2004 wedding trip to Singapore, and the locals of that faith were adhering to that month-long practice. Note that Ramadan and the Hajj do not coincide, but Hajj does coincide this year with Yom Kippur, for the first time in three decades. Bob just figured to cover it off today, since it is Eid al-Adha, after all. Call it coink-e-dink if you prefer.

The Kaaba (or Ka’aba) is the cuboid building and most sacred site inside the most sacred mosque in Mecca, the Masjid al-Haram. The book's tie to the circling swarm can be seen in reality below.



The circling is called Tawaf, and is always done in counter-clockwise fashion. Okay, maybe it wasn’t quite that busy in the bar … Bob was just using a little hyperbole and artistic license to make his point. Here’s a 3D animation of the inside and some more background information here for those really curious about the structure.



This video explains the rites of Hajj in six minutes for some added depth. Seems like things are all mapped out for folks on the pilgrimage.


This great VICE documentary really gives one some good perspective on what the scene is really like during the Hajj. Makes the logisitics behind Burning Man seem like child’s play in comparison.


A pretty crowded scene, and I imagine it is tough to actually be allowed to get inside the Kaaba these days, unless you are some VIP cum special guest. In case you are wondering what the inside is like in reality, the answer lies here in this clandestine video that does us all a favor. 


It makes me wonder what this guy’s treatment would have been if he had been caught filming. Most fulfilling their pilgrimage will never get to see the inside of the place. It looks like a tough ticket to get, especially if one is non-Muslim, since only Muslims are allowed inside Mecca, unless one sneaks in somehow. I’m sure that has been done before.

There was a bit of brouhaha earlier this year, as recounted here, when a local cop on duty took a decidedly more relaxed pose on the shrine, and placing the sole of his shoe against it. He looks pretty weary, and probably just needed a rest. However, it certainly wasn't interpreted that way, per this longstanding gesture in the Arab world and what it means as discussed here.


There was a temporary outcry back in 2006 when Apple unveiled its iconic Fifth Avenue store in NYC. Perhaps just another coink-e-dink in the world, as opposed to some porpoiseful [sic] ploy on the wrapping during construction. You can be the judge of that, based on these photos before and after, as compared to the shrine.




Anyway, this whole Kaaba analogy was just a throwaway late night comment by some wedding traveler in a bar with his friends for those that might pick up on the reference. So now you know what's behind it and the link to girls and money.