Tuesday, January 09, 2007
How I Know I'm Not Home, Pt. II
Camel crossing signs on the road out to the beach.
Speaking of camels, I actually got to ride one yesterday while we were out on the Arabian Penninsula yesterday. They're not called ships of the desert for nothing - you sway from side to side as they walk. They get up rear end first, so you have to hold tight to the saddle pommel when they get up. They get down again front first, so once again you hold on, this time to the back of the saddle, so you don't get pitched forward over the head. My camel was named Sheikha, and she was the mellower of the two camels we had to choose from. Sarah, the other camel, whined and complained even when no one was riding her...she must have been having a bad day.
StrongOpinions was happy because she found some cats to play with. Qatari cats are smaller than US cats, but much more vocal. She was ecstatic petting the cats, who were busy looking for some easy food. She, PH and my brother-in-law rode quad ATVs over the dunes. My sister-in-law and I rested in the majlis (a tented area with cushions in a sofa-like conformation) and read and napped, before we came back into town.
This morning we went to the gold souq. Much beautiful and exotic 22-carat jewelry, but much too fancy and bright for me. Then we went to an odd little second-hand store where I found a beautiful red embroidered pashmina scarf. Less expensive than the gold and more useful to me.
PH and StrongOpinions leave tonight, and I'll get down to more work. I'm hoping to also fit in a mosque tour, if it can be arranged. The minarets of the mosques are everywhere, in all sizes and designs. In our little nieghborhood, if I turn 360 degrees, I see four within easy walking distance. Islam sees itself as a part of every aspect of life, not a religious practice held apart for a special day. Thus, having so many mosques makes it easier for Muslims to go to prayer at the mosque, where it's easier to do the ritual washing-up, at the five times of day that prayer is required. The university has special prayer rooms for men and women as well.
Enough for now...more later!