Tuesday, September 1, 2009

Ramadan: Inconvinient, but Silent

I understand the religious significance and I respect anyone who celebrates this month and follows the traditional requirements of the fast. But for a non-Muslim who is trying to get stuff done, it can be sort of a drag.

In addition to the cafeteria not being open all month, which isn't so bad because the food is somewhat lethal to your digestive track anyways, all government and official offices are only open until 12 or 12:30. That includes banks, the police station, insurance offices, etc. Your time to get errands and chores done is seriously limited. And unless you drastically rearrange your sleep schedule, it's hard to even get to the store. For example, the grocery stores are closed from 6-9 for iftar, or the meal that breaks the fast after the sun goes down. They open again from 9-1 AM, which isn't my favorite time to shop.

Nevertheless, it's quiet. I enjoy taking walks or bike rides at sundown because the neighborhoods are so silent. Everything stops for the meal at the end of day. Everyone is there inside the house, together. It's a beautiful idea, but nonetheless, I enjoy being on the outside. It's as if the the strange silence during that time is just for me, and I'm in my own separate world for a bit.

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