Sunday, September 7, 2008
Ramadan Kareem! Our First Iftar Dinner.
So it’s Ramadan in Dubai, which means for the better part of the day we are either starving or thirsty, or both. However, the lively nights during Ramadan more than make up for the parched days. On Saturday we were so excited to be invited to our first Iftar event. Iftar, is the name of the meal that happens just as the sun sets to break the fast, and it is a huge lavish communal event, where families and neighbors and even strangers will sit together around big tables or on carpets and leisurely chat to one another. For our Iftar we were invited to the Bab al Shams Desert Resort which is known as the preeminent local retreat in the area, so we knew that we were in for something special! After an hour’s drive into the desert we were greeted with a huge lit up ‘Ramadan Kareem’ sign on the hill. We followed the winding path of carpets set on the sand and were let to a veritable Arab wonderland of delicious food, entertainment and yes, even camels! We broke the fast with the traditional warm bread, dates and yogurt milk, and then went on to sample the smorgasbord of food that was laid out – grilled meats, soups, rice, falafel, kebab, seafood, you name it. It was a bit of Russian Roulette to figure out what we should dish on the plate, so we tossed our apprehension aside and tried nearly everything (whether we knew what it was or not)! After gorging ourselves (hey, it’s expected) we rolled ourselves over to the camels and took a ride. I tried to prepare Lisa and Matt for the unexpected 3 foot ascension and drop you experience when you’re on the back of one of these beauties but that didn’t stop her from shrieking her head off! Please draw your attention to the facial expression in the photo below.
Just in case, you can't see Lisa's face, let me provide you with a larger copy here. Of course, if we knew camel rides were an option we wouldn't have worn dresses and high heels! After that we moved on to more tame things like stroking a baby goat and a falcon! It was a great experience and certainly showed us why Ramadan is one of the most festive times of the year!