It is the end of the Eid weekend celebrations and I have just arrived back home from Church ….during the sermon, the vicar told us about Islamic religious leaders who had visited our church on Friday morning as part of the celebrations of Eid this weekend. I sat there amazed and pleased as he told us how these religious leaders had spoken to the congregation of an Anglican church and I thought how wonderful it is that we live in a country with open minded and enlightened leaders such as HH Sh Mohammed bin Rashid Al Maktoum who allow us to worship openly as Christians in a Muslim country.
Our vicar also told us how there is an open dialogue between our Church leaders and the leaders of all religions in the country-Seikhs, Hindus, Buddists, Catholics and Christians were all invited to the Palace during Ramadan to discuss a number of matters with HH Sh Mohammed Bin Rashid Al Maktoum, our Prime Minister and HH Sh Hamdan Bin Mohammed Bin Rashid Al Maktoum, our Crown Prince. What a wonderful message of peace and tolerance these inspiring leaders are showing the world.
In a world of such turmoil and religious persecution, I consider myself incredibly fortunate to enjoy an environment of tolerance and understanding we experience in Dubai and the UAE in general.
The Holy Month of Ramadan begins tomorrow and for Muslims all over the world, a month of fasting begins.
This year , the Holy Month has fallen over the extreme summer heat of June and July and it will be particularly difficult for Muslims to abstain from drinking. During the heat one hardly feels like eating anyway, but there is no way I can manage an entire day without water!
Out of respect, non Muslims will also not be able to eat or drink in public and while a lot of people find this is major problem, I really don’t. I find Ramadan to be a much calmer, more sedate time of the year which effectively means we all slow down. When the temperatures hit 48 and higher, I am more than happy to slow down I assure you! We generally end our working day two hours earlier than normal which is great-most of the sites we work on finish early and as it is the law in Dubai that work hours are cut, there is not much one can do after 3pm so I tend to go home and rest which is very beneficial because at the hottest time of the day, one can be indoors out of the heat and humidity.
It is also a time of kindness and generosity and this feeling softens the usually rather busy and callous city. Charities benefit hugely from the most incredible acts of generosity by devout Muslims and its always wonderful to read about our leaders donating millions to the needy. It is my theory that part of the reason why Dubai is such an overwhelming success, is because of the incredible generosity of HH Sh Mohammed Bin Rashid Al Maktoum and other UAE leaders to the less fortunate.
The only thing which does get worse is the driving, with many drivers rushing to get home in time for Iftar. (breaking the fast) I make a concerted effort to be off the roads by that time but if I am not, I try to be extra vigilant to avoid getting caught up in a fender bender or worse! It can be a bit of a mad dash at times!
To my Muslim readers, I wish you and your families a blessed and peaceful Ramadan.
During the Holy Month, it can be quite a challenge to find somewhere to meet for a coffee or a quick bite to eat. I discovered a great list of eateries which are open during the day and thought I would share it for any Dubai readers who were unaware of these places.
If like me, you need to meet a client or a friend at a coffee shop or restaurant and during Ramadan, this can be difficult to accomplish unless one has a comprehensive list of where to go!
Ramadan Kareem to all my Muslim readers and friends….
The Holy Month of Ramadan has officially begun..actually it started a few days ago..and the slower pace of life here in the Middle East has started.
We only work until about 2pm and then most people head home to rest until Iftar (the breaking of the fast) . Because its summer , the fast is only broken after 7pm which is when the sun starts to set…I feel immense sympathy for the devout Muslims who have to fast in the heat. I could probably manage not eating during the day but I need to drink in this heat …I normally drink about 2.5 ltrs in the type of heat we are experiencing! The temperatures at the moment are sky high at about 45-48 degrees C during the day and “cooling” to about 30 at night. The heat is not the worst of it actually, but rather the suffocating humidity which I am finding stifling at the moment. I am literally counting the days until the cool weather starts again in October!!
This year I really want to go to one of the fabulous Iftar feasts offered by the hotels in Dubai…the food offered at this time of the year is absolutely wonderful and the atmosphere in the Iftar tents is relaxed and jovial. No alcohol is permitted of course but it makes no difference at all as it is a celebration none the less and I actually find it refreshing that so much fun can be had without a drop of drink! Each hotel tent is nicer than the next and the biggest decision is which one to choose!
Aside from the Iftar buffets, I am going to use this down time as an opportunity to catch up on my long list of chores which I never seem to have time for , particularly sorting stuff out in my apartment. I’ve had two weeks of flat out work on a deadline for a visual merchandising project so everything has fallen way behind ….time to catch up with all of that now. I am also going to set up some online marketing for a gorgeous range of fabrics which I have found and I am definitely going to have to get some mall walking in too! (I walk in the mall near to my apartment to get exercise because frankly its just too damn hot outside !) All in all, perhaps down-time was not the right word after all!!
Ramadan Kareem to all my Muslim readers and followers…wishing you and your families a blessed Holy Month.
Today is the first day of the Holy month and suddenly life slows down for a while! (in theory anyway!!) In reality, it means that due to the shorter work hours (about 2 hours less than normal) we have to try and squash a whole day into fewer hours at work! Our office will be closing at 3pm each day and as I normally stay at work until about 6.30 pm, I will be losing a fair chunk of time.
On a more positive note, I am going to try and use this time to work on my apartment a bit-I need to update some furniture and hang some more art….I also need to get rid of the existing rug I have. My sister just recently bought a new rug for her bedroom, so she has offered me her old jute rug which I have always loved and which will now be my new rug! We are all about reusing and recycling, let me tell you!