sarah vs the world

Not a video game, not a comic, not a band, but an amazing adventure continues...

Sunday, October 15, 2006

Ramadan Kareem! (a typical Ramadan greeting)

So I need to do another post before November. Grandma Rita is doing a presentation to her bookclub about what Ramadan is like, and I think I will get into trouble if she doesn't get a bit more information about it.

So far we have had exactly 24 days of Ramadan. It is supposed to be finished around the 23rd October. I haven't exactly cruised through that massive stash of beer, but we have definitely made a dent in the Absolute Mandarin. And I think the Moet will be opened on Sarah's birthday - which will be themed Spring Racing Carnival. It nearly falls on Oaks Day anyway. What I have gathered about Ramadan in Doha:

1. Operating hours of shops and the like are 10:00 - 13:00 and 20:00 - 1:00.
2. All fasting Muslims eat at 4:00 and 17:00ish (or when the sun is sneakily hid just over the stadium).
3. They sleep at almost all times in between this. And the poor few who have to work are only allowed to work 6 hours a day.
4. Driving is very dangerous during the hours of 16:00 - 18:00. They are all madly trying to get home to stuff their faces and tend to drive like maniacs.
5. Some of them like to cheat as long as no one is watching. Especially ones who like to drink tea.
6. They do tend to stick to their religious 4 prayer times a day. This is amazing to me that this culture has so much faith in Allah. I wish I had something like this to trust in.
7. It is really impossible to get anything to eat during the day. Imagine going to the shopping mall and all the food outlets are shut. This actually happens here.
8. Alcohol is NEVER available anywhere. Only in my secret stash at my apartment. Hehehe.
9. DO NOT GO TO THE SUPERMARKET IN THE EVENING. Or anywhere else for that matter. They are all out in full force ready to fill up on Starbucks, Cinnabon and anything else that helps round them out a bit.
10. The Iftar Tents are amazing. These are set up all over town for a feast in the evening. I went to one at the Four Seasons just last Friday. Photos to come. For anyone planning to have their own Ramandan Iftar Tent, you must have couscous, fattoush, tabbouleh, olives, hummus, and lots of baba ghanoush. All of these things absolutely rock my world - not to mention the hot, freshly baked Turkish and Lebanese bread. Yummy. All of this combined together is called Mezze (I think it means appetizer or something similar). They also had an interesting cultural band and dancers. Not sure how realistic it was but it sure was fun.

Here is a bit about what it was like.
Adults and children alike will relish the very best of Arabic cuisine, from extensive mezze buffets and live cooking stations which display the art of cooking shawarma, shish kebab, and tandoor items together with grilled meats. And just to ensure complete authenticity we have flown in traditional chefs from Tunisia to prepare couscous and brik, and a Moroccan chef specializing in North African dishes such as tagine. Spare a little consideration for your sweet tooth, with 22 different desserts on display you'll be thoroughly spoilt for choice.

I have been collecting funny photos of the everyday happenings in this crazy place. Here is my latest addition of the smashed/stupid cars. Hehehe. It really is a dangerous place to drive.

So yes, needless to say, they all do stupid things here and I am glad I am not driving here.

Sarah and I have been very busy exploring the ins and outs of what really goes on here in Doha. We have both bought ourselves the esteemed climbing hat (affectionately known as a Spastic Hat thanks to a certain aerial man) and have been seen in Doha fighting fires on a regular basis. We also ventured out with Philby to Toys R Us. I should have taken a photo of the sign. The funnier bit was we parked in the carpark and then we had to walk the plank to get to the store. Literally. See Sarah! Oh precision and balance is indeed a required skill in this town.

Also since the last post, we have had several royal visits to site. Of course they aren't famous to you, but here they are pretty important. On one special occassion, Craig had decided to screw the Ramadan rules of covered shoulders and long pants because really it is pretty hot. He turned up to site dressed in a singlet and shorts. And of course, a surprise visit from the some important Qataris! So what did he do?? He covered up like a babushka in his dishdash and stayed hidden! Nice one Craig.

I still have yet to take photos of all of the construction but I am sure I will at some point. Here is a photo of some ruins right near our stadium. I promise I will get some crane action eventually.

Onwards and upwards - Sarah, Trashy, Amy Wee, Fiona and I are off to our fantastic holiday to The Chedi. Please check out the website because I will be here on Thursday - Saturday. It is going to be amazing. Google it if you have to. The Chedi Oman§ion=home (copy and paste)

Anyway, that's about all for now. I will definitely update after the Chedi. I will also try to get the photos of the Ramadan tent up before November Grandma so you have them for book club. Still undecided as to what's up next...thinking about Europe maybe?? Who knows.

Lots of love. Catchya all in some other part of the world on another day I am sure.


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