Sunday, June 29, 2014

Ramadan 2014 – Day 1, Rough Beginning

So did everyone watch that Brazil versus Chile match? That match was crazy!

Anyway, after I got back from watching the game I got everything prepared for my first sohour meal. Set it all up on my nightstand then set the alarm for 3:10am so that I could eat before the fast. Especially important to have liquids since you can't drink water during the fast.

Iftar (the meal to break the fast) isn’t until around 6:30pm so that means over 15 hours without any food or drink, and I still have to commute to work in temperatures over 40°. Whoever invented air conditioning is a lifesaver!

So in the morning I opened my eyes a little and saw some daylight peeking through the curtains. How could that be, the alarm is supposed to go off before sunrise? Sure enough the battery had died on my alarm clock and it was actually 5am. Technically it was too late to eat the food that was on my nightstand but I'm not being as strict about this as a Muslim would be so I woke up and started eating. That's when I accidentally knocked the bowl of nuts off the nightstand, scattering nuts all over the floor. The bread was stale (blah) and there was no way I was going to drink the glass of laban -- it'd been sitting on my nightstand for over six hours. All in all not a great start to my Ramadan meals. I went back to bed and slept a little longer before going to work. At least because it’s Ramadan and most people are fasting working hours have been reduced, which makes it a bit easier to get home to have a nap before iftar.

Today there were a lot of well-wishes from people for the holiday. Some stopped by my desk, others sent texts or messages. Some of the messages even contained images with Ramadan tidings.

It's also time to plan meeting friends for iftars and sohours. I've already got one invite for this weekend. People may think that because you're fasting all day everyone loses weight during the month but in fact it's the opposite. Ramadan can be quite festive and there are lots of invitations to iftars and sohours, and people buy a lot of sweets for eating during the month. Many restaurants and all the major hotels also have huge buffets on offer. If you're not careful you usually wind up gaining weight instead of losing it.

Normally for iftar I would make a meal at home but the World Cup is complicating the schedule a bit. Tonight I'm planning to break the fast by watching the Ramadan Cannon near the Corniche, but I also want to catch the World Cup match starting at 7pm (Netherlands versus Mexico, should be a good game). So tonight it's off to the Corniche, see the cannon at 6:30pm, munch on some dates and a banana in the car, and drive to Souq Waqif to catch the kickoff. Despite the heat the Souq is becoming more popular for watching the matches so it can get crowded. I'll have a snack at half-time and get something more solid to eat after the match.

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