Looking for Eve on the Jabal Rahmah
Tradition says that Adam and Eve were separated from each other when they were declared as persona non gratta in Heaven after tasting the Forbidden Fruit. They were separated for 50 years (or 60 years/40 years, though I don't think anyone have invented the calendar system at that time). Adam looked for Eve everywhere and finally was reunited with his loved one in the small hill called Jabal Rahmah (Mount of Mercy), near the Arafah Plains.
Thousands of years later, the commemoration of this reunion is one of the mainstays of any pilgrimage program to Mecca. And since the search for soul-mate is as old as the history of mankind, modern day Adam and Eve flocks to this place to offer prayers so they too can meet or make the right choice of their significant other. Or as a friend told me, "What we need is to end the story with the correct phrase "...they live happily ever after". Not to be cursed to go back to page one with "...once upon a time there's...”.
When there is Eve, there is the market ?
When you arrived at the hill, you will be swarmed by camel owners who offers their service to take you to the top by riding the camel (20 rial ). You can also ask for a photograph session with the camel for 5 rial. Along the path to the top you will also find street hawkers offering various accessories, candies and drinks (except during Ramadhan for the latter). And this is the main reason why the top of the hill is very crowded, just like Pasar Tenabang during 1980s.
The thing that saddened me the most when I visited the place was that it was quite a filthy place, with thrash and camel dung everywhere, even at the top of the hill where the stone monument stood tall. For a country with billion of dollars income from Hajj' and Umra' (not to mention their filthy petrodollars), it is such a shame the Saudi can not ensure a decent maintenance and cleaning works for the area. Probably if Adam was still searching for Eve today, he would rather not climb the hill to meet his long-lost significant other than having the risk of stepping into heaps of camel dung in that place..