Monday, August 24, 2009


I really shouldn't be complaining, as I'm not even fasting. I don't have to wake up at 3:30 in the morning to drink water and eat a light 'breakfast', what they call Sahur, so that I'm not famished and dehydrated in the morning. But it having all the restaurants closed before sunset and having all the bars and clubs for the month of Ramadan is definitely something to get used to. I love being able to get a nice schwarma or some hommos and falalal for about $1.50 in the middle of the day. I think I'll miss that more than the bars being closed as drinks are so expensive here anyway. It's also illegal to drink or eat in public before sunset but I can deal with this no problem. Just guzzle a bunch of water before leaving the apartment or school and I'm good to go.

This is the third full day of Ramadan and the spirit is in the air. The apartments, houses and even restaurants and stores are decked out in Ramadan lights. Some look like the white twinkle lights that are seen in the US during Christmas and some are shaped like the moon and stars. I haven't taken a taxi during the day yet but I've heard that the taxi drivers, and probably all drivers for that matter are more irritable as they are going without any drinks, food or cigarettes all day. And I thought that traffic on a normal day was crazy here....

On the other hand the streets are virtually empty when the sun sets so I can hail a taxi in an instant and cross the street almost without looking. We will also get out of school at 1:00 instead of 2:00 and there is a special Ramadan course in Arabic that I'm taking from 2:30-4:30 five days a week. So I guess Ramadan is not without benefits.

I've heard that there are special Ramadan sweets, similar to special treats that are usually reserved for Christmas (think fruit cake, egg nog, frosted Christmas cookies, etc.) most of which I haven't tried yet but will soon enough I'm sure. The one Ramadan sweet that I did try was Gedaya, which looks like a pancake and tastes pretty similar, just more chewy than American pancakes. Gretchen and I walked into a bakery and found the placed stacked with these 'pancakes' from wall to wall. Pancakes everywhere! Of course we had to buy some out of curiosity, and also because we love pancakes. So we got home and proceeded to drench them in syrup. Later that night we were notified that nobody eats gedaye this way; they are traditionally filled with nuts and or some kind of cheesiness that is hard to identify. Then they are fried and drenched in a sugar syrup. I tried this stuffed fried variation and wasn't a big fan of it actually. I'll stick to eating them 'pancake style' drenched in syrup and immediately enjoyed. I figure it's also better for my arteries this way. Just talking about this is making me thirsty, I'm going to go indulge in a tall, cold glass of water....


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  2. Oooh- atayif! Yea, I prefer how my mom-in-law makes them; the ones you buy are usually too heavy. I like it with sweet cheese, but not the ones they sell, lol :) The cheese -at least the ones I see sold- in the stores are more creamy and really not my favorite compared to the sweet cheese like you use with ... shoot- the one with shredded filo pastry!