Saturday, July 01, 2006

Forehead calluses and crazy traffic

Ruth pointed out to us that you can tell which men are devout. They have calluses on their foreheads.

Prayertime. In Sarajevo, we saw people stream into mosques, especially on Fridays and holy days, to pray. Here, the mosque appears to be optional although the prayers are not. Every afternoon and, especially every Friday morning, certain corners and alleys are suddenly carpeted with green carpet pieces, kind of like indoor-outdoor carpet, and with Oriental style rugs. And men kneel down and pray. It seems to be especially near open markets and wherever the rugs appear, there is a loudspeaker. I think they listen not only to the prayer over the loudspeaker but also to a sermon.

I’m still not used to the craziness of traffic. Lights seem to be largely disregarded. In fact, Ruth has just enough Arabic that she realized a police officer who had pounded on the hood of a car as it started to creep through a red light (in front of him) and then started speaking to the driver, was scolding the driver! “Shame on you. You know better.” Didn’t give him a ticket though. Today we were crossing a street in the crosswalk at a corner. The nearest car was half a block away. Clear back there, it started honking at us and accelerated! When Isaac pleads to be held because he doesn’t want a car to hit him, I have to sympathize.

Last night, in the middle of the night, Ruth started talking in her sleep about the Arabic alphabet.

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