Twas the night before Ramadan and all through the flat,
No one was stirring, not even the mat
In front of the bathtub in spite of its mold,
Not to mention the pile of laundry to fold.
Emily was curled next to her laptop with care,
Playing too much with her freshly washed hair,
As she wondered what sights the morrow would bring,
The possibilities all in her head turning.
She had seen sprucing up for the past several weeks,
Lights and lanterns appeared and people clogged up their leaks.
She saw tapestries hung all full of colours bright
Pleasant figures in Alpha Market’s window one did spy,
The buzz in the air causing life to blur,
Evidenced by families buying twenty kilos of sugar.
“But,” she wondered, “how will this affect me,
I who have not yet embraced muslimery?
When will stores be open and how should I eat
if I cannot slaughter pigs on the street?
And what about alcohol, if I may be so bold?
Where will my 8th rate beer be sold?”
Oh life without urine-like drink did sound foul,
And just when she thought of giving a howl
She remembered the wonder of Ramadan here.
The streets, they say, be they far or near
Fill up with people as the sun departs
From sidewalk to sidewalk citizens satifsying their hearts
And their stomachs with delicious iftar vittles,
Not being shy, or taking too little,
Dates being thrown into the car windows of those
rushing home from their shops after they’ve just closed.
“Oh I wish,” she thinks, “to eat with these folk
and though I’m not fasting I will hardly croak
at being invited to such a magnificent feast
where I will chow down on all kinds of roast beast.
“Until then,” she informs, “I still do not know
at what hours for my peanut butter I may go
to Alpha Market and for that matter
I remain clueless as to types of Ramadan clatters.
So please stay tuned as I absorb more culture
and I will pass it on to all of you for sure;
less facts than feelings as is my wont
But at least you’ll know all my favorite haunts.”
A few notes: I’ve noticed people buying food in ridiculous quantities at all the supermarkets, which have set up special Ramadan sections with all the necessities for having a proper iftar (break fast, occurs after sundown). One of the most important foods are dates, which are traditionally the first food one eats after fasting all day. Apparently people hand out dates to those struggling to get home in traffic or on the metro before the iftars. Water is also distributed since people fast from both food and drink.
I have been told about big tents that are set up all over town where rich people will prepare huge feasts for the less fortunate, and entire streets are full of those breaking the fast together. If this is real, I will take a picture of it. I will then post the picture onto this blog.
No alcohol may be sold to Egyptians during Ramadan (I think. This might just apply to bars.) and so you have to show your passport in order to get a beer. The hours for liquor stores are especially weird, though other places of commerce also have reduced hours during the day. At night, however, things get crazy. People stay up really late and feast and then sleep during the day. Unless, of course, you’re employed, and then life is a little harder.
More Ramadan madness to come!