Sunday, July 13, 2014

Six hours forward (2)

It's 6:17 am and I'm on J's balcony with a full cup of coffee already. I've been waking up at 2 and 3 am without fail. Jet lag hasn't left me yet. Today will be 100 degrees(yesterday we topped out at 109), so this early morning balcony moment is both a small and grand pleasure. Soon this slight breeze will turn unforgiving so I'll enjoy it while I can.

Buildings drip up and down the streets, a chorus line of air conditioners and cooling systems. Yesterday, shortly after I posted here, the power went out again and J and I felt the main room turn from cool to oppressive in a matter of minutes. She kicked back on just as we were about to leave for dinner. Our original plan was to eat at Trattoria, a beautiful Italian restaurant within walking distance, but when we arrived the staff was standing outside and the lights inside were off. Power outage. We slipped into a coffee shop to discuss plan B.

Timing is everything during Ramadan. We were two hours from sunset. J explained to me that dining out options might be limited because a lot of places close right before Iftar(the evening meal when Muslims break their fast). Ordering in can be just as tricky. The Thai place down the street from the flat was open, and the call to prayer signifying Iftar started as we were finishing dinner. From above we watched men gather on the floor of a mobile phone store to break bread. One sat outside lighting a cigarette as a card table was unfolded in front of him. A group of women walked by with bags of McDonalds in their hands. Breaking fast happens quite suddenly(which makes sense considering individuals have been fasting since sunrise). Also worth noting: a few hours before sunrise, you might hear someone in the streets banging pots and pans as a warning to others that fasting will begin soon so you better get that grub on.

After dinner we stopped at the Flamenco to have a drink. J and his coworkers frequent the establishment and the staff there love him. As soon as they see him they coo "Habibi!" and kiss both his cheeks. It's pretty darn adorable.


We will try Trattoria again tonight, and tomorrow we leave for Dhahab! We're staying on the Red Sea for a few days. I can't wait to search for shells and play soccer on the beach. More soon.

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