Ramadan started on Saturday. David was home for the weekend, and we had planned to go to a restaurant to belatedly celebrate his birthday, but the restaurant he picked out was closed, apparently for all of Ramadan. The South African chain next door to it, Steers, had just opened for business at 6:00 PM, but they didn’t have anything cooked yet. We eventually went to a Chinese restaurant that caters to expats that was open and operating.
On the way home, I impulsively said, “Ramadan Mubarak,” to our amjad driver. Turns out that’s not what people say here (kind of like saying “Happy Christmas” in the US; everyone knows what you mean, but nobody says it), but he was nonetheless tickled and was very sweet to us the whole ride home, even when the hilarity in the back seat started to get out of control. He let us take his picture when we got out.
During the day, all the restaurants are closed and nobody sells street food. In fact, nobody eats or drinks in public, even if they’re not Muslim (maybe it’s even illegal?). I had thought that maybe the restaurants would be packed after sundown, but last night David and I dropped by the popular restaurant near our house, Lazeez, and I was surprised to see that it was almost empty. I guess Ramadan is kind of like Thanksgiving, that it’s a time you eat at home.
We happened to drive by a mosque last night at prayer time. There were so many people there praying that they were spilling out into the street.
Many of the kids’ classmates and teachers are fasting. Even some non-Muslims are fasting, partly out of curiosity about what it’s like and partly as a show of support for their Muslim friends. Ruth took lunch yesterday but felt awkward trying to find a spot to eat where she wouldn’t be eating in front of someone who was fasting, so she just ate when she got home from school.