Thursday, December 28, 2006

Haji come, Haji go

Haj is upon us. One of the 7 pillars of Islam is that every able bodied Muslim who can afford it is supposed to make the pilgrimage to Mecca to toss stones at some pillars, walk in circles around a cloaked rock, pray a lot and trample to death at least 300 hundred people in the rush to do all of this. In a lot of ways it is like the crowd at a Who concert in Cinncinnatti back in the 70's. Anyone remember that little jewel of a marketing plan? All tickets were General Admission and when they opened the doors people were trampled to death trying to get the best seats.

There are a couple of million bearing down on Mecca right now and the Saudis have the equivalent of the entire population of Boston coming to Muslim Disneyland. Lot's of other people don't go for one reason or another and they party on elsewhere. Here in Kuwait they set up tent cities, drive 4 wheelers like madmen and try to get "Back to their Bedouin roots."

If you look in the photos you will see light sets, generators, latrines, and water tanks. The bedouins must have had it pretty good by those standards. My ancestors made do with covered wagons and outhouses with candles for lights.
These tents are all over the country along every highway and byway. Mostly they are what we call "Bedouin Tents". They are OK for keeping out sand and wind but they suck when it rains, not that it rains all that much here anyway.
There are all sorts of tents. This one is obviously a party tent as it has colored walls and low pieces of sitting furniture the same color. I like how the shocking pink walls contrast with the sea blue of the porta can in the back ground.

Finally, just for my friend Mike in California, I found a real Yurt. he has always dreamt of living in one of these, tearing it down and transporting it across the endless steppes of Asia while following his herd of ponies. Drinking fermented mare's milk and laying in warm horse dung while looking up at the stars is the life he dreams of. Just for you dude.


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