Wednesday, July 10, 2013
Ramadan 2013 – Day 1
So my alarm went off at 3 AM so that I could eat my sohour snack that I keep on the nightstand. As this is my fourth year I've gotten used to this and can do it without turning on the light -- sit up and just reach towards the bowls and glasses, eat the food, drink the drinks, then lean right back into bed. Unlike Muslims I don't have to get up to do prayers.
Then I got up at my usual time for work and when I left home and nicest thing happened . . .
Traffic was fantastic!
I'm talking there was almost no one on the roads. I didn't stop at any roundabout and I managed to catch a green light at every intersection. I was at the office in under eight minutes -- normally it takes 20 to 25. I'm pretty sure that's a record for commuting to the office. Parking was easy too.
The morning commute is usually lighter during Ramadan but this was something else. I later found out that the Government Ministries decided to change working hours to 9 to 2 (in previous years they started earlier). Since the banks are also on similar hours, as are most offices, there is no one on the roads at 7am.
Later I read an article on Dohanews about the key times that traffic is bad (check out the picture). No gridlock for me!
So after work I got home, did a couple of chores, and then napped for a little over two hours. Probably because I was fasting falling asleep was easy too. When I woke up I had about an hour to get ready for iftar.
Here’s what I made, soup and some snacks like dates, olives and a bit of cheese:
It doesn't look like much but in truth it turned out to be too much and it was difficult for me to even finish it. Around this time of year doctors warn people about overeating after you’ve been fasting and I think I was getting close to that. Tomorrow I will cut it back a bit.
I was planning to go see the artillery cannon to signify when you can start eating but because I slept in I decided to catch it on TV instead.
It's kind of nice, at the same time the artillery cannon goes off all the mosques near my apartment start with the calls to indicate that the sun has set.
After that it was time to go out and do some errands. Traffic was still pretty good around 9pm but it started getting busier when I returned at 10:30.
I wanted to do some grocery shopping to pick up a few odds and ends. Today I was talking with a Qatari colleague about the sohour meal (many Muslims find it interesting that I fast during Ramadan so are always willing to share their fasting tips) and she suggested that I include a banana as they are apparently good at helping you fast through the day. So I made sure I got some bananas at the grocery store and will include it with my sohour tonight.
One of my Qatari friends mentioned playing squash sometime this week but we will have to start sometime after 10:30. I expected that, during Ramadan, Qatar doesn't even really start happening until 10.
I forgot to start reading the Qur'an, something people do every day during Ramadan. I'll do that tomorrow.