Life during Ramadan in Al Ain

Now that Ramadan is about half over, I have a better idea of what life is like.

The biggest change for me and my co-workers is that our work schedule has been reduced to only six hours (my schedule is now 8:30 to 2:30). The library itself closes at 4:30, then opens back up at 8:30 two days a week (only days that boys hours are in the evening).

Since nearly everyone is fasting during daylight hours (today roughly from 4:45 am until just before 6:00 pm), I also don't eat or drink anything at work or in public. None of the restaurants are open until sunset, but the grocery stores, especially the large ones, are open pretty much normal hours.

The biggest shock is to go out late in the afternoon, say around 4:30 or 5:00, and have almost no one on the road.

We have been to Carrefour a couple of times around that time. Usually it would be almost as busy as Walmart on the Friday after Thanksgiving; instead it might have 15 customers. By 5:30, there is not a dishdash or abaya in sight. The only people still there are Western, Filipino, or Chinese.

You would think that everyone being tired, hungry and thirsty would make for short tempers, but if so, I haven't seen it. Everyone still seems very solicitous about me and how I'm doing during Ramadan. Everyone is pretty tired and subdued, but not in a depressing way. If anything, people seem happier than normal.


secretdubai said...

I'm not muslim but am fasting for the second year, and it really isn't so bad. Human bodies are designed to survive drought and famine - and we are only talking about a few hours here. Because you have zero sugar going round your body, you don't get hypos (which I may get a few hours after a meal during non-fasting times).

The worst is sometimes feeling a bit tired, and sometimes getting a few painful rumbles.

Interestingly it doesn't bother me at all if people eat around me: because I know I can eat later. It's not like a diet, where you feel agony because you can't have chocolate cheesecake for the next six months (which is why my diets never last!)

I have heard it is worse for tobacco and coffee addicts to see/smell these things while they fast, but for me - a food addict! - seeing and smelling tasty stuff is no problem. Worst is does is make me a little bit more impatient for iftar to arrive.

Brn said...

I'm not fasting all day (I eat breakfast at the normal time but then don't eat lunch), so I'm only going without food for about 10 hours or so, so that isn't any problem.

It is going without water that is problematic for me. Al Ain is so dry (and running the AC only makes it drier inside) that even drinking water almost constantly I get dehydrated pretty quickly. By the time I get home from work I have a pretty bad headache almost every day, so I can only imagine what everyone else must be going through.

Punk Dervish said...

Walmart in Alain! When did this happen? There was no walmart in uae till 2003 when i lived there.

Acro said...

Dervish : no he was comparing carrfour with walmart.

Btw Brn good to c a fellow Al-Aini :D.

sara said...

I have enjoyed reading your blog as I am moving to al soon to work at the university there. I am disappointed not to be able to view any of your photos from your earlier blogs........ I also live in the southen part of U.S., and would love to connect with you and hear more about your experiences on al ain. Thanks for your blog.....very informative.

Brn said...

Hi Sara,

Yeah, I lost a lot of the early photos when the hosting service I used to use went under. We'd be honored if you want to contact us about life in Al Ain. Just drop me an email at brnanon at gmail.com.