Tag Archives | Ramadan

Share a Fridge

Eid mubarak! The long days of Ramadan have passed, and now it’s the time for celebration. We’re in New York already, and still in the hazy fugue-like state of jet lag (compounded by having been in Bangkok ten days ago); I wake up in the middle of the night and am not entirely sure which continent I’m on.  In the Union Square farmer’s market this morning, however, I heard people speaking Arabic as they picked over some gorgeous tomatoes; I expect there are Eid feasts happening all over the city.

Last week in The National I wrote about a great community service endeavor that started, as many great ideas do, with a really simple gesture: a few women in Dubai found an empty fridge, put it in a easily accessible place, ran an extension cord to it, and began stocking it with juice, laban, fresh fruit, and water, for the men who work outside in the steamy days of full summer.

The idea caught on and before you know it, there were “sharing fridges” everywhere. Some of the fridges will be decommissioned after Ramadan, but some of them may stay in place, stocked entirely through volunteer efforts. I wonder if such an idea could ever catch on in the States? Would people honor the idea that the fridges are for those in need, not just any random passerby?  You can read my article here, and check out the Sharing Fridge facebook page here. Could your community support such a project?

Continue Reading · on July 6, 2016 in Abu Dhabi, religion

Monday Listicle: Yin Yang

Stasha turned over Monday’s topic to Kim, at  Zook Book Nook, who chose Yin Yang.

Yin Yang: balanced energy, the dark in the light, light in the dark. Favorite tattoo of surfers and yogis everywhere.

It took me a while to think about how to create this list because I’d wanted to use photographs but I haven’t been out walking around in the city much. I’ll blame my kids for my lack of initiative, instead of my own inertia. Seems my kids don’t think it sounds like much fun to walk around in the 112 degree heat with mommy while she tries to take pictures without offending anyone, so I’ve been staying inside and hanging out with them.  Do you know that, in fact, it is possible to play lego universe for six straight hours? Please don’t anyone tell our pediatrician about their unfettered computer access.  I swear it’s just until the end of Ramadan, I promise.

Anyway. Yin Yang: contradictory energy that (theoretically) balances itself.  I think that’s precisely where Abu Dhabi finds itself: trying to balance between old and new, religious and secular, tradition and innovation.  It’s a complicated positioning, to say the least, and while the UAE seems to be (sort of) managing the balance, many countries around us out here are feeling the consequences of having lived for generations with no balance whatsoever.

1. It’s a desert city filled with fountains:

2. It’s a city of curves, cul-de-sacs, and multiply named streets (we live on Sheikh Zayed the 1st street, also Electra Street, also “the street by the new medical center.”) It’s a also a city of grids and patterns:

3.  Old technology (antennas) and new (satellite dishes):

4. Old towers:

5.  And new:

At the moment I don’t have much to say about these yin yang contradictions. Every city has them, I guess (hello battles over landmark preservation in New York!), but somehow the contradictions here seem much more pronounced: the old is very, very old; and the new is in-your-face-right-now new.  I mean, this is a country that owns 10% of the world’s oil reserve…and decisions about when Ramadan start are made by the moon-sighting committee. That’s the job I want: moon-sighter.

Abu Dhabi is only nominally in Asia but I’m thinking of myself as living in the land of Yin Yang.

All I have to is keep my own balance and everything will be fine.

Continue Reading · on August 22, 2011 in Abu Dhabi, expat, Monday Listicle, NYC, Travel, UAE

Things I’ve Discovered…

Yesterday I wrote about things I missed, so today it seems only fair that I write about a few discoveries.

First thing: we’ve traveled to the other side of the world and found ourselves in…mall culture. It’s hot as hell here, if hell were filled with air the consistency of hot tapioca.  Combine the heat with the whole Ramadan fasting-from-sunrise-to-sunset thing and you create a month-long interior, mostly nocturnal culture.  After iftar, the meal that breaks the fast at sunset, people head outside…to the mall.

And you know? Mall culture is pretty much mall culture, world wide. Is this what Thomas Friedman meant by “the world is flat”? You be the judge:

Given the weather here, something from Louisiana almost makes sense. Almost. This outpost of US culture, however, does not:

Hardees? Really?  (These pictures are slightly blurry because I had to take them in a hurry–seems there’s a wee prohibition against photography.)

Discovery two: yes, Virginia, there is liquor here, right out in the open, just like at home:

Furthermore, the beer is available just down the aisle from the chips.  And in the next aisle over, some serious gourmet imported coffee:

Outside the mall and grocery store, a more original fast food.

When I walked by this bush, I thought that brown blob was some hapless bug, but it’s not. It’s a date. From a date palm, one of several growing outside Marks & Spencer:

Shimmy up the tree, and the snacks are yours for the taking. Or you can get them in the supermarket.

I’ve also discovered that when the horizon isn’t covered in a heat-induced haze, my windows are filled with the blues and greens of the gulf:

Related Posts Plugin for WordPress, Blogger...

Continue Reading · on August 16, 2011 in Abu Dhabi, Abu Dhabi Discoveries, expat, lost in translation, Travel, UAE

Powered by WordPress. Designed by WooThemes