Ramadan has started. Unfortunately with all the recent troubles with COVID and the lockdowns it hasn’t been much of festive atmosphere here. Given last year during Ramadan I was almost completely locked down in my apartment I suppose just being able to go out is a step up. The start of the pandemic seems so long ago it is hard to believe it has been just a little over a year.
I did decaffeinate in preparation for Ramadan as I always do and, as usual, I will be fasting. The first day was tough, I don’t think I drank enough water beforehand so by the late afternoon I was really lethargic and had a headache. I made a conscious effort to drink a lot more water today (does 3:30am count as ‘today?).
I am not sure what the general population are going to do given the COVID restrictions. Only family members from one household can meet indoors, and if you are outside the limit for meeting is five unrelated people – and all five of them must be vaccinated. That means no visits to friends and relatives. Mosques have strict opening and closing times to prevent people from hanging around, and are not allowed to hold tarawih prayers, a special set of prayers held during Ramadan after the evening Isha prayer. Offices are at 50% with the rest expected to work from home, less strict than last year (30%) but that still means working from home some days. Most stores are shut. I expect all of these restrictions will remain in place throughout Ramadan. Qatar is still reporting over 900 cases of COVID a day, although recent numbers seem to show that fewer of them are community transmissions and more are from travelers in quarantine, yesterday 250 of the cases were from travelers. Who are all of these people travelling right now that in one day 250 people would test positive in Qatar?! Stop travelling everyone!
Today I received a Ramadan dinner from a Qatari gentleman, the father of a friend of mine. Every day during Ramadan he does dozens and dozens of meals that he distributes to others and last year he invited me to take one home every day and it would be rude to refuse the hospitality. Today it was . . .
A meat/bread pudding, coconut cake for desert, and what looks like brownish mashed potatoes is actually haris, a ground grain mixed with a bit of meat. Qatari cooking doesn't go too heavy on vegetables though so I added those myself, cooking up some beans and miscellaneous veggies.
Now there was WAY too much food for just me to eat in a day (what you see in the photo is maybe a fifth of it), and I will be receiving a meal every day during Ramadan, so I take some for myself and share the rest with the security guards in my apartment building. I will be fine for meals all month.
Please stay safe everyone.