Monday, October 08, 2007

Doing Ramadan

After work today we went to the Centre Ville to "do Ramadan." This entailed walking around the bay and downtown shops along with huge hordes of other people. Not a lot of work gets done during Ramadan.

Nadir pointed out that while you are supposed to refrain from sexual dealings in the day during Ramadan plenty of couples were snuggling on benches along the bay. Business was very brisk in the markets as people shopped for dinner through heaps of fresh herbs and pyramids of black and green olives and slabs and counters of meat: skinned rabbits with bulging eyes, the most gigantic plucks turkeys I've ever seen and chicken carcasses with scaly legs and feet still attached. There were dozens of kiosks selling Ramadan specialities like fresh dates and breads studded with sesames and molded into star, wheel and cigar shapes.

The aroma of fresh bread, pungent mint and parsley and sharp olives was intoxicating on an empty stomach. "You see," Nadir said, abuzz with pleasure at showing us all this, "that is the smell of Ramadan."

He bought me and Dell each a string of jasmine. They were like miniature leis and smelled wonderful too.

I bought a pair of khaki pants and matching jacket from an outdoor kiosks. I could not resist this bargain -- I mean $8 for the perfect desert gear. Nadir was again delighted because it is traditional to buy new clothes for Eid, the holiday that marks the end of Ramadan. I had unintentionally complied with a hallowed Easter-like tradition.

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