Tuesday, January 17, 2006

Until the wind shifts...

On Sunday, the wind was blowing from the Southwest, bringing a fair part of the Arabian Desert, or Empty Quarter, with it. On Sunday, it shifted to the Northwest. So temperatures in Dubai are now 25 by day and 15 by night. For Americans, that's 75 by day and 60 by night. Visibility has returned, and one no longer needs a bandana in order to breath. In other words, the weather is back to being perfect, as it usually is in January. Lamentably, only in January.

I was invited to a 'farm' today. I think of farms as places where food (or some other raw material) is produced, but this 'farm' is just off a major highway, and is marked by a sign that says (in Arabic) 'mosque.' It has no cash crops, only shade trees, so I don't know why it's called a farm. In summer, people climb up on a raised platform; in winter (i.e., now) they cluster around a fire. When I arrived, they gave me a bowl of flour and a bottle of water. I kneaded the flour until it was ready to be baked into bread, then they put it over the fire. Then the Muezzin gave the call to prayer, and they all left to pray while I watched the bread.

When they came back from praying in the mosque, they ate the bread and gave me the name Abdullah, (literal translation: 'Slave of God'.)

Not a bad way to spend a couple of hours.


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