Tuesday, November 07, 2006

 

Week Twenty Two

Ramadan Kareem,

It’s the first week of Ramadan. That’s right sports fans, life as you know it is entering a whole new realm. From September 23rd until roughly October 23rd, it is the time of fasting. Now although I’m not Muslim, and neither are ¾ of the DAGOC staff, it is expected that we follow the requirements of Ramadan while at work. This includes the following:

- No eating or drinking during daylight hours, or while at work
- No smoking (easy for me as I don’t smoke)
- Cover up as much exposed skin as possible

If I was to follow Ramadan completely, I wouldn’t be allowed to do the following:

- No eating, drinking or smoking between roughly 4.30am – 5.30pm (daylight hours)
- No alcohol for the month
- No sex for the month if single
- No sex during daylight hours
- Keep as much skin covered as possible

This is just the stuff that I can think of. The whole not eating and drinking at work isn’t easy, however we all manage to find ways around it. I casually sneak in to the kitchen where the tea boys are and have something there, along with everyone else in the office. At the village, we eat and drink in the kitchen, or sit behind big filing cabinets so we are hidden. Mind you, at the end of the day I am absolutely starving. When the sun goes down you are allowed to eat again. This is known as the breaking of the fast. Most of the big hotels have Iftars, which is the meal you have to break the fast. These usually involve massive amounts of food.

The other annoying thing is that most of the shops are not open during the day, and if they are, it is only for a few hours, or while I am at work. Because you’re not allowed to eat during day light hours, all of the fast food and take away outlets are closed until around 5.30pm. This isn’t exactly ideal for people who are used to eating all day and snacking on anything they can find.

Thursday night we went to an Iftar at the Ritz-Carlton. We got there around 9pm. It was a buffet, and it had that many food options it was crazy. Twenty of us went and ate our way through the night. The range was great. A few of us also got our palms read. Mine was rather interesting.

Friday was spent on the computer. Our operations plan was due and it had to be finished. As I am sure you can imagine, the day didn’t exactly involve much.

Saturday was Grand Final day in the AFL. West Coast played Sydney at the MCG, and thankfully it was live here in Doha. The game started live here at 7.30 am. That is when the first, and unfortunately the only beer was cracked. We did however eat meat pies (they actually taste great) hot chips and watched the game. There were around 15 of who watched it. We were expected to be at work at 9am, but thankfully a few of the ‘non-Australians’ covered for us. Sadly, a few staff did go to work at half time, thinking that the game was practically over. They missed out on one of the best grand finals played in years. I don’t think it was better than the 1989 grand final, which had possibly the greatest last quarter in football history.

That afternoon it was off to work just like normal, except this one was a much later one than usual.

I hope everyone is well at home and abroad.

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