Monday, June 05, 2006

Going to the Beach

Last Thursday, Faysel asked me to meet him at Jumairah Beach at noon on Friday.

At 11:30 a.m., I called him. No answer. Normally, Faysel goes to bed right after the dawn prayer and gets up just before the late afternoon prayer, so he can say the noon prayer before it's too late, immediately followed by the afternoon prayer. [Actually, Faysel isn't a perfect Muslim: sometimes he sleeps until it's too late for both the noon and afternoon prayer.]

I had hoped this Friday would be different, but, since he wasn't answering his phone, it obviously wasn't. So I waited until after the Friday noon prayer (Juma) and went to Faysel's house. It was around 4:00 p.m. when I arrived. Faysel met me in pajamas.

'What's up?' he asked sleepily.

'You said we were going to meet at Jumairah Beach at noon today.'

'Did I? Would you like something to drink?'

'Well, it is tea time.'

Faysel called to his wife and had her make me a cup of tea. She handed Faysel a glass of soda. The phone rang, and a worker at Faysel's shop said he was needed desperately.

'I'll be there in five minutes.'

Faysel did not begin getting dressed, though he did ask his wife to press his pants.

After about two hours, during which time he showered (using up all the water in the tank) and wandered dreamily about, and I read the Friday newspaper (here, similar to a Sunday paper in the West, with lots of the previous Sunday's articles gleaned from various Western papers) we finally went to his shop. I noticed that it was now after 8:00 p.m., and decided it was time to go.

And we still hadn't made it anywhere near a beach.

I mentioned this to another friend, who said I should have known noon appointments in the Orient always start after 5:00 p.m. At the earliest.

Anyway, it's too hot now, so missing out on the beach was probably all for the best.


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