Thursday, July 11, 2013

Ramadan and HOT

Look, I get that we live in the Gulf and all, but it was DANG HOT on Tuesday. I left the house at noon to walk to my office (a 7-minute walk) and I immediately felt very weird, kind of like my face was burning off. Later, I checked the temperature and found out it was 48C (118.5F). That explains it! We went swimming that evening and I could not stop saying, to myself and out loud to Jeremy, "oh my gosh it is so hot." It was seriously so hot. The end.

We're on day 2 of Ramadan here in the UAE. Other countries are already on day 3. It depends on which method the country's astronomers use to determine the birth of the new moon. Here in the UAE, they actually have to see the new moon in order to declare the start of Ramadan. Some countries use calculations instead. I realize that sounds very strange - you can read a more in-depth explanation here. Last week, there was a tentative announcement that Ramadan would start on 10 July, but a small chance that it would begin on 9 July (it ended up being 10 July).

So, yeah, we're on day 2. I'm not teaching during summer term, but can you imagine how hard it would be to teach a room full of teenagers and young adults who stayed up all night at food-based gatherings with family and friends and haven't had anything to eat or drink since sunrise? They will be taking summer term finals in the same conditions. Rough.

We went to Matajer (our local shopping center) today and all the food outlets were closed. They will open up after sunset and do plenty of business well into the night. The stores seem eerily quiet since listening to loud music (or muzak, I guess) is not allowed during Ramadan. Instead, many stores pipe Koranic recitations through the speakers.

The girls waited outside yesterday evening to try to hear the cannon boom go off at 7.12pm. The boom signals the end of the period of fasting. Some nights you can hear it better than others. You can also just listen for the Maghrib call to prayer, which is audible from a mosque (or two or three or four) near you.

One final piece of Ramadan news: we love dates all of a sudden. I've never cared for them, not in all my years of living in the Middle East where they are cheap and plentiful and a common offering when you visit someone's home. Last week, we finally gave in to the huge displays of dates on sale for Ramadan and took home a small box of them. You guys, they are SO good. Better than candy. Even 4-year-old Magdalena was eating them and saying, "I just love dates!" That is not normal...but I'll take it.


Jeremy Palmer said...

SOOO hot! For the first time in 3 years some of the plants wilted by the end of the day - on that very day.

Liz Johnson said...

Oh man. That sounds MISERABLE. It's 102 over here and I feel like I'm dying - I cannot imagine 16.5 additional degrees. Bleeeehhhhhh.

Kathy Haynie said...

I love dates, too. Especially when they are pitted and stuffed with cream cheese. Mmmmmm. Sorry about the heat. Mark and I experienced (briefly) 116º in Las Vegas while we were traveling. Made me soooo grateful for air conditioning.

Bridget said...

Yes, here they have all kinds of fancy fillings! Pistachio filling, cashews or almonds instead of the pit, chocolate, etc. I have tried the ones with cashews/almonds inside but I almost prefer the plain, unadulterated date. But if I get bored with those, at least I know there are plenty more varieties out there to try.

Cait said...

Wow, that is hot. It's been 102 here and with no A/C our apartment is MISERABLE. At night I soak down the bed and Lu sleeps in a diaper and I sleep in underwear. I question my decision to study Arabic at times like this.

Jessie said...

I love dates! We get them at Costco (I'm sure yours are better.)

Crys said...

Wow that is HOT! Yikes!!! I love the dates taste as well but rarely buy them because I just hate finger foods that are sticky! Give me a fig instead :)

Ariana said...

I have always found dates to taste like sweetened sand. Maybe I've never had a good one.


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