I had hoped to kick off what will be several weeks of blog posts from the midst of the hajj with something elegant about universal faith and the wonder of millions of pilgrims gathering for a common spiritual purpose.
But along the way, I came across a sight so surreal that it had to be shared.
The scene: Bahrain airport, where pilgrims already dressed in their white ihram robes strolled casually past Christmas decorations and a robotic all-Santa band. Unfortunately, I had to run to catch my flight, so I didn’t get the chance to film the Singing Santas lurching to life and belting out “Let it snow.”
— Ashraf Khalil in Medina