Saturday, September 23, 2006

On the first day of Ramadan

We didn't even know it had started until we got to the Ibn Battuta Mall and found all the food outlets closed. They must have spotted that moon last night. The BOY, with his usual forthright manner was asking all kinds of questions, including, "Who is the man that looks out for the moon?" and, "What happens if he falls asleep and misses it?"

So we shopped, taking in the new, unusual atmosphere. No people smoking or eating or drinking. Melodic, enchanting Arabian music lilting gently from the speakers. Westerners still dressed like they're on the beach....

Then we had lunch at home and decided to go and explore the Madinat Jumeirah, which is a huge shopping mall in the style of a traditional souk, with large hotels at either end, restuarants galore and man-made waterways all around, with Abras transporting people around the whole place. I'll leave it to the pictures below to convey the atmosphere and feel of the place, save to mention that with all the restaurants closed, it was really quiet, but in a good way.

It's another world. We also went to the public beach on the other side of the Burj Al Arab and watched 2 helicopters land on the heli-pad near the top, which was cool. The only thing about the beach was that it was quite dirty. There were cigarette ends by the million near the wall separating the beach from the road, and even a dirty nappy. I've heard that there are often men (sub-continental labourers who've never seen a western woman) who stand and stare at the acres of exposed female flesh, whilst engaging in a not-so-subtle game of pocket billairds. Things like this take the sheen of the place, but I think that's why a lot of people use the beach parks and clubs where you have to pay to get in. I think they look after them much better. Here's hoping, anyway!

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