Tuesday, October 17, 2006

Ramadan a ding dong

This is the first Ramadan in quite some time for us as a family, and you soon forget the difficulties that the faithful face when trying to fast in hot conditions. For those of you that don’t know, Ramadan is a time of fasting, from sunrise to sunset no food or liquid is to pass your lips. Ok, so you get to eat and dink as much as you like as soon as the sun sets each evening, easy peasy I hear you say, but then add 35 to 40 degree heat and then you’ve got a problem.
Before I carry on, I should add that as non muslims we are not required to fast, but we mustn’t eat (even chewing gum) or drink or smoke (Not that we do) in public.
So how do the muslims cope with this? The working day starts late at around 9am and finishes at 1pm, and in between time as little energy is spent as possible. At around 5:30pm the sun goes down and everyone rushes home to break-fast, and that’s when the day begins! Shops open at 7:30pm and stay open to 11 or 12 pm, and whole families become night dwellers.
Foe those of us that do not participate, the best time to be out is when everyone else isn’t. The roads are quiet, on the run to work and school at 7am, a joy to be out on the road. At the working day finishes at 4pm, I have more time to myself than I know what to do with.
On the downside, a lot of the restaurants close and use this time for staff holidays, so eating out is not so easy, but there are far more invites to go to peoples houses for dinner so all in all a very social time. The school contacts have been invaluable for making new friends in what is a very small community and the diversity of this community has led to very interesting social events. Tonight we are off to the British Embassy’s quiz night!

There is already a noticeable drop in temperature, with a slight rise in humidity, and this is most apparent at the pool. Jacob has spent an inordinate amount of time in the water and his swimming is greatly improved. Come December we will have to switch to a pool with heating as it is too cold without. Our alternative is to spend a lot more time at the beach. It seems so long ago that we were last there, I am really looking forward to getting back to our weekends at the beach and maybe this year we will camp out overnight. Can’t wait!
Next week spells the end to Ramadan for another 11 months (It moves closer by one month every year due to the muslim calendar) and so begins Eide when we all get a holiday! Won’t know how much of a holiday until a day or so before but I’m hoping for five days (Inc the weekend). Oh happy days