Saturday, July 28, 2012

Ramadan 2012 - Day 9, Ghabga and the Olympic Opening Ceremony

So that evening a bunch of us met up at a Qatari friend’s place for a ghabga (mid-evening Ramadan meal). We got there around 10pm and hung out chatting while my friend served tea and Arabic coffee. We had the TV on a sports channel to catch the Olympic Opening Ceremony, which started around 11pm Doha time.

By the time the ceremony started the group consisted of four Qataris, a Turk, an Australian, an Egyptian, and me. Why am I telling you that? Well, it was interesting to get a perspective of the Opening Ceremony from non-British, non-Commonwealth, people who knew very little about British history.

The comments went something like this . . .

“Okaaaay, a bunch of people dancing around some fields . . . “
“WTH is with the smokestacks and everyone coming out all dirty”
“Nothing really seems to have colour, it's all grays and browns”
“Why are those guys with the strange hats doing weird moves”
“I’m really confused”
“Is this a tribute to Lord of the Rings?”
“Why are nurses moving kids around in beds, and what is NHS?”
“Nurses, kids, weird monsters . . . I really don't get this”
[everyone thought the Queen skydiving bit was funny]
“Is the British anthem that short?”
“MR. BEAN!” [Everyone liked Mr. Bean!]

Then we missed a bunch of it because it was time to eat. We still had the TV on and occasionally catch glimpses of various video clips of bands and stuff. Most of the guys had no idea who the bands were or what this was representing.

For ghabga, in traditional fashion, it was held on the floor:

The dishes were hammour (grouper) on saffron rice, another type of fish on white rice, and a type of kibbeh in a red sauce with shrimp. Many ate with their hands but they provided cutlery for us Westerners.

Afterward we watched the athlete’s parade and ate dessert, a type of rice pudding with pistachio, and some small pastries with sugar syrup. By the time the parade was finished it was 2:30am so we all left. Shame, from some of the reviews I read the final bit of the ceremony was apparently pretty cool. Way too late in the morning for me though. I didn't bother having a snack at 3:15 before the day’s fast began, just had a couple glasses of water and went to bed.

Overall consensus of the first part of the opening ceremony -- confusing, odd, not particularly great. It made more sense to the Aussie and I could even then I found the sudden shifts in tone odd. Especially the Industrial Era scene, I can't imagine people in the stands there would have been able to really make out what was going on.


Hadith of the Day.

On war . . .

‘Abdullah bin ‘Umar narrated: a woman was found killed in one of the raids, so the Messenger of Allah (peace be upon him) forbade killing women and children. (Sahih Muslim, Book of Military Expeditions)

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