Today’s the last day of Ramadan and everyone has braced themselves for the Eid holidays. I’m amongst those who will be on staycation as I haven’t really recovered from the whirlwind travel (I was in the Philippines for a week last July) and other stressful activities/ chores. I thought I must dedicate some time while it’s holiday for the things I really I miss — like blogging and bloghopping (I hope to do this, too *fingers crossed*). I extend my appreciation to those who never fail to drop by once in a while although the last time I jotted an entry was over 3 months. It’s good that there’s a substantial number of entries in the archive that some of you opted to check.
I had my own version of “iftar” this year. Iftar refers to the evening meal when Muslims break their fast at the time of sunset, right at the time of maghrin adhan before Maghrib prayer during the Islamic month of Ramadan. While I am not a Muslim, I decided to semi-fast (i.e. not to eat during our Ramadan office hours 10:00 AM – 4:00 PM, the Muslims’s fasting’s way beyond) in order to align with my Muslims colleagues and trim weight (ahem). I gained weight, by the way, because as I get home I am at my hungriest state and likely doubled by normal consumption.
Last weekend we decided to have the real iftar in one of the Arabic restaurants in Etihad Towers. The waiting time for the buffet to open with the group of people who were strictly fasting (imagine clock’s ticking and to strike at 7:15 PM, when their last meal was at dawn — approximately past 4: 00 AM, to note that it is summer in the UAE) really presented a feeling of sacrifice, camaraderie and festivity. Moreover, deciding to semi-fast also helped me understand better why some drivers are especially impatient during Ramadan. As much as possible you avoid driving before iftar, otherwise expect crazy times on the road (and parking as well).
Here is the Lobby Lounge (previously mentioned in this post) viewed/ taken from we were dining at Level 4.
They serve an array of desserts and this one pulled me most because of its looks. It tasted minty. Baklava still tops my list. Omali (or Um Ali, that’s Mother of Ali in English) and baklava are a must-try for those who are new to trying Arabic sweets.
I can’t help but smile whenever I remember my first Ramadan in UAE (in 2008) when it felt so unbearable. I remember having had to secretly eat while in the toilet, drinking water whenever I get a chance. I think it became less manageable that time because the environment has been so restricted. Unlike now that the office cafeteria has been opened for those who are not fasting. It is also noticeable that UAE (based on our experience in Abu Dhabi emirate) has become more flexible to non-Muslims in this year’s Ramadan. Most of the restaurants were permitted to serve breakfast and lunch for take aways and dine-in customers as long as the restaurants are fully ‘covered’ or that they won’t allow their operations to be visible from the outside.
I appreciate the give and take approach in this area. But we must return the respect they deserve as well.