Ramadan is coming

//samiajibintang.wordpress.com/ which looks like an interesting blog)

Masjid Raya Baiturrahman (the Grand Mosque), Banda Aceh (photo stolen from http://samiajibintang.wordpress.com/ which looks like an interesting blog)

Ramadan starts next week, so this week I’ve been eating at my favourite lunch place as much as possible. The ayam goreng (fried chicken) is so good. Eating fried chicken every day is not a habit I planned to develop but it really is that delicious.

All but three people in my office will be fasting for Ramadan which pretty much sets the tone that we don’t eat in the office. We certainly don’t cook in the kitchen because the food smells are like torture to someone fasting. Very few lunch places are open, which means that finding food each day is a bit of an adventure. Last year I ate biscuits hidden in my drawer, which I thought was the perfect solution…until I realised that man cannot live on biscuits alone and got pretty sick.

I would have liked to fast with my colleagues, but because it’s my final few weeks in the office I decided it wasn’t very responsible to significantly reduce my productivity (it’s hard to focus on work when you’re hungry) for novelty’s sake. There wouldn’t be any religious significance in it for me.

Idul Fitri (the celebratory period after the fasting month, also known as Eid ul-Fitr in Arabic) isn’t the most spectacular event in Banda Aceh. Most people go back to their ancestral villages so all is quiet in Banda town. There is just one thing that I’m sad to miss this year (I’ll be leaving before Ramadan ends). I’ve never been able to figure out why, but a very popular gift for children duringIdul Fitri is very realistic plastic guns. They shoot little ball bearings (they are a kind of air rifle I suppose), and come in all different shapes and sizes, but the most popular seems to be theKalashnakov-inspired models. Yes, I agree that toy guns aren’t an appropriate toy for a child (especially in post-conflict Aceh), but they are so much fun. There is no end to the hilarity when you sneak up on your friend and…well, I guess it is a little bit childish.

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