The fourth in our Ramadan Diary series comes from Velvet Garvey, who blogs at Must Love Dust. Before Ramadan actually began, the non-Muslim Australian wrote us an enthusiastic piece about her memories of last year and what it was like to experience a new culture for the first time. But this Ramadan, she’s not feeling so adventurous. Here’s why:
By Velvet Garvey
I have something to admit.
I haven’t been getting into Ramadan.
When I was invited to write for Doha News I originally scribbled out an account of my experiences last year – about being a newbie and getting stuck at Villaggio, stranded without a car and clueless to the opening times.
But I urged readers to embrace the Holy Month and to see it as more than just inconvenient shop hours.
I think we can all agree that there is an amazing spirit of openness during this time and that you can really learn a lot about this great country and its culture if you just go to Iftars, attend the events around town, talk to your Muslim friends and ask questions.
That said, I’m a bit of a hypocrite. You see, I have yet to attend an Iftar this year. And you can forget about Sohour– that’s way past my bedtime!
Since Ramadan began I’ve been out to dinner once. I ate at Jones the Grocer. I know – cringe!
I couldn’t tell you what food stations they have at the W Doha or which tent has the best shisha. I haven’t watched the cannon go off and I doubt that I will see the children come out for Garangao.
Instead, I’ve been watching a lot of Olympic events. A lot. Gymnastics, Judo, Swimming, Equestrian – you name it, I’ve tuned in.
This is hard for me to admit.
As someone who is blogging about life in Qatar you’d think that I’d be experiencing … life in Qatar.
But I’m not and there are two reasons.
Firstly, I’m tired. It’s been a big year for me and I’m really enjoying the down time that Ramadan has offered. Sometimes it’s nice to just sit. I swim laps before I head into the office and finish early to come home and read a book. Or watch the Badminton.
Secondly, I’m afraid to go out on the roads after 5 pm.
Two weeks into Ramadan and I’ve heard some horrible stories of accidents and near misses. I’m not the only one – many people feel the same.
And so I am torn. On one hand, you could say I’m not really “experiencing” anything.
On the other, I am genuinely afraid and really don’t want to be part of a bad accident on the roads this Ramadan.
Oh and there’s that tricky part about the fact that I am feeling healthy, well-rested and happy doing exactly what I’m doing.
And I’m really looking forward to the Athletics starting!
Credit: Photo by flyzipper