Saturday, September 06, 2008


In Iraq Ramadan was not even a blip on our radar other than the fact that the bad guys seemed to want to die more frequently. They laid low all day and then got fired up after Iftar (The evening fast breaking meal) and came out thinking they were all Billy Bad Ass.

In Kuwait it was a local law and in our compound we were OK but made sure we obeyed the law outside the gates. The bases were not affected at all. We had one case where a girl walked outside the gate with a juice box and was given a 300 KD fine. That is about 1000 USD so it is a whopper. Other than all the restaurants being closed during daylight hours it was not that big an ordeal.

In Saudi Arabia it is something else altogether. Here they are dead serious about it. NOTHING is open. It is like the whole country shuts down. I tried to go to my favorite bookstore yesterday and it usually opens on Fridays at 16:00. When I got there at 16:00 it was closed and the security guard informed us that it would not open until 21:00. I am fast in slumber land by then so I gave it a miss.

We had to shut down the kitchen at work and place the coffee makers, microwaves, etc in a conference room and put signs up warning Muslims that they shall not enter. The hours of the client have been changed from 07:00-17:00 to 08:00 to 14:00 and no lunch break. They only work 6 hours and get paid for 8. Half my staff is on half days also but it is OK as ALL the Muslims leave early and that is when I start getting a lot of administrative duties out of the way.

One of our locals told me that we should all be observing the Ramadan rules but I told him I was a Methodist and we did not practice it. Religion is touchy here and you have to be very careful when discussing it. I explained Lent and how it is somewhat the same. I told him that I would practice Ramadan if we would observe Lent. It is a no go for both of us.

Oh well, only two more lunar phases until it is over and we get back to everything being back to normal....if you can call it that.


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