Today is the first day of the Muslim holy month of Ramadan – it is a day that has more meaning for me this year, as it is the first year in over a decade that I will be spending it living in a Muslim country.
This year, the 30 day period however – somewhat cruelly – falls on the hottest month of the year, and over here in Dubai it can get pretty hot. Here is a brief look at the weather forecast:
I have vague memories of Ramadan (or puasa as it was called in Brunei) when we were growing up, it never really seemed to affect us much as kids. Although I do remember that none of my local classmates could come out to play during lesson breaks, or after school, instead they would have to sit inside air-con rooms. I can vaguely remember being jealous of them at times, with the mindset of ‘they must be up to some awesome stuff that I was not privileged to,’ but I’m sure they were thinking the same things about us… either way they’ll probably come out on top, y’know… going to heaven and not me.
Now I’ve grown, things seem to be taken a bit more seriously (although in all likelihood it’s more likely to be more growing more aware). The vast majority of restaurants here have closed during daylight hours, drinking and eating in public is punishable by fines, and eating in the office must only be done in designated areas.
The best thing to come out of this period for non-muslims are the reduced working hours across the country. The standard 8:30-6pm has changed to 8:30-3pm… sweet. Although it does mean that no one else is at the office either, making my job (as a journalist) particularly difficult come nearer the end of the month as deadlines approach.
For now however..