Sunday, 30 June 2013

Ramadan Lockdown

Ramadan Lockdown and Expat Hysteria

Yes, the supermarkets are getting the Ramadan Kereem garlands out and offering special twofer offers on oil, cereal and other Ramadan Specials - all as tacky as Xmas except, fortunately,  it doesn't start three months before. At this time the students are saying how they are looking forward to the annual fast whilst getting their excuses in early and trying to amend yet more the already foreshortened timetable and reduced expectations.

Meanwhile, in the weird and parlous parallel universe of Expatland the slow burning realisation and developing panic has really set in with vicious circulating rumours that any places to get a nice cold drink, of which there are many all of which will be brutally and coldly closed for the duration. Fasting by proxy? This does sort of surprise me as it is not as anal here as the UAE in which the hotels and booze shop were always happy, smiling and welcoming through the Holy Month. Indeed, unlike the UAE most bars you go to here have a large proportion of local men happily knocking back the industrial fizz. But no, come sunset on 8th July, a merciless Lockdown will take place. Hotel bars and the offy will close....

The offy was cleared of booze by late last week with stocks being desperately air-freighted from India and replenished twice daily as desperate, thristy expats of all stripe were buying up with some (YOU know who you are) doubtless hoping to profit from the impending black market.

Tomorrow marks a new month the retarded booze license when the mean monthly limit  will be reached in a single spastic spree. Sad really for some, but not me, oh no, even the plastic White Mischief Indian vodka will go, as will the equally plastic McGhandi Scotlandish Whisky brewed in Delhishire. Evil, cheap, toxic brews I don't doubt which are probably bought by Dickensian building site owners to keep their serf-like charges (who have no access to nice things) docile and possibly grateful.

The Gulf is an odd part of Expatland which I have seen do strange, disturbing things to a person and their taste,  judgement and usual good sense and moderation. This time of year with the impending annual joyless (for us) Lockdown is symptomatic of a minor breakdown in rationality that sometimes occurs. Others let it drift by them and others become proactive some colleagues will even fast along (or claim to) with their students. They have in other places in which I have worked which always struck me as odd with a touch of patronising as unless of course it is (gulp) me who is missing something...?

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