Today, the holy month of Ramadan starts for Muslims all over the world. I’m not going to describe what Ramadan is, as most people who are reading this can click on the hyperlinked word and find out for themselves. Experiencing Ramadan is nothing new to me. My first experience of Ramadan was when I moved to London, where I had many Muslim friends, who taught me about Ramadan and Ramadan etiquette for non-Muslims. For six years I was slowly being groomed for actually living in an Islamic country.
This will be my second Ramadan in an Islamic country. The first was spent in Abu Dhabi last year. In all honesty, I really enjoyed Ramadan there. Ramadan in Abu Dhabi was quite easy to be honest, despite most restaurants being closed, most if not all supermarkets were open during the day, which meant you buy things to eat (discretely away from fasting colleagues). Due to the numerous non-Muslims living in the country, you can say the UAE was expat-friendly during Ramadan.
During Ramadan last year, my brother went to Abu Dhabi to visit me and he found the whole no eating in public thing very difficult. I think he still doesn’t understand how or why I like living within this Islamic Arabic culture.
This Ramadan I suspect will be slightly different. Considering that the amount of expats here is substantially less that in the UAE. Everything really should shut down from before to after Iftar, which means things should shut down from 6pm to around 10pm, which is the only time the non-fasting folks who work with me have time to buy anything. So they key is to stock up!
I actually want to fast for a few days as well. I did it last year for two days. The not eating wasn’t bad at all. It was more the no liquid thing that I found hardest. However, considering my bad eating habits here (not junk food, just bad food), I don’t know if I have the energy to fast in Libya. But let’s see, maybe I can pull it off again.
So to all my Muslim friends, Ramadan Kareem!