Ramadanadingdong

August 19, 2011

Cute signage at Modern Art Museum

Well I’m over half way through the Holy Month of Ramadan and to be fair I’m loving it.  I approached the season with a sense of dread; fed by established ex-pats with tales of extremes – “everything is shut, it’s unbearable hot, the laws are even stricter with regards to clothing”.  Whilst all of the above is true I have played the game with regards to costume – long sleeved cotton shirts have become my uniform, I’m keeping the volume of music down in my car, I am not a ‘shopper’ and I am always in air-con.

Once I got my head around the no eating or drinking in public during sunshine hours I settled into a nice rhythm.

The ease of the month, to be honest, has largely come from the fact that my work hours have been drastically reduced, 8am-5pm has given way to 9am-2pm – I have always wanted to work part time – and I have been happily pottering; dyeing, spinning fleece and silk, baking bread, boiling jams and swimming laps.  I finally finished the Zwarbtle project that I started many months ago and in my search for buttons wandered off to the oddly named Taliban Store (photo’s below).

Finished! (handcarded, spun and knitted - over a year in the making)

My one small gripe is that the only place they have given us to eat and drink at work is shared with the smokers – a prefab hut in the corner of the carpark.  My colleagues in my office have given me permission to drink water at my desk as long as I am discreet.

Taliban Store - Exterior

One interesting skew is that the playing of music or dancing in public is prohibited.  I have found some cheap salsa lessons during the month and we have to be careful to keep the blinds down as to not offend.  The salsa dancing is fun – I haven’t had a formal dance lesson since I was 14!  I have to wear something cut a tad higher though – one Filipino boy I was partnered with could not take his eyes off my cleavage – I was amused rather than offended – he look so wide eyed and almost in shock – poor love!

Taliban Store - Interior

Some practical things are difficult  – like getting to a bank – they are open from 9.30-2.00pm (I am at work) and then open from 8pm to midnight – I can assure you that going to the bank at 9pm is the last think I would think of, but it is a night culture here at the moment.  The traffic at 10.30pm is like the normal AM peak hour.  I have been told by many people to keep off the roads between 6 and 7pm to avoid crazy drivers who are hungry and dehydrated on their way to prayers and Iftah (breaking of the fast) – too be honest I have seen none of this.  Some of my colleagues were a bit green around the gills on day one, but for the most part those that I have observed fasting have a serenity and seriousness about them.

Krusty Beach Club

Today I went to a beach club that I was told about at a party last night.  It’s far cheaper than anything else I have heard off and consisted of a large deep pool, a beach looking across the bay, umbrellas, banana lounges and a kiosk serving food and drink – almost unheard off during the holy month.  It was an excellent find and one I plan to keep tight lipped about.  So much of that kind of stuff here is over the top posh – this was a tad ‘old raj’ – run down and nothing fancy – just my cup of tea.  Four hours of sun, swims, a good book and a club sandwich once a week is all I’ve been wanting.  I have the week after next off for Eid – so I know where I’ll be!

View From My Banana Lounge

I leave you with a pic I took of kitty Carla – her yawning meets my flash was the method – the result something a tad more sinister!

Psycho Kitty

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