Tuesday, October 24, 2006

It's Over ...

To quote Roy Orbison,

"It's over, it's over, it's oooooooooooooooooooover!"

Yes, the month of Ramadan has finally drawn to a close. At least in Morocco. It has already ended elsewhere. Unlike other Muslim nations, Morocco's religious and governmental authorities didn't actually see the crescent moon rising on Sunday (or Mohammed VI didn't see his shadow negating the need for another 6 weeks
of fasting), so today rather than yesterday is Eid el Fitr - the celebratory breaking of the fast. Confused? – don't be. It's over, and that's all that really matters.

And after bitching & complaining offering my readers curious Ramadanian anecdotes over the past month – now that it’s over – do I feel elated or disappointed? Am I experiencing euphoria or lunch-bag letdown? No, I’m quite ecstatic. No more Mr. Tambourine Man, no
more late night/early morning revellers, no more booming cannons jolting me from my sleep, no more pre-dawn high-decibel, warbling calls to prayer, no more nasty cranky fasters, no more late work nights, no more closed restaurants, no more draconian and unbelievably hypocritical liquor laws. No more! No more!

Today, as Muslims gather to renew bonds of friendship & family and devote themselves to prayer, as well as eat and reset their internal clocks (gastronomical and circadian), I too would like to reflect a little. Someone once said that even the flattest pancake has two sides (shortly before he or she moved on to a rewarding career at Hallmark cards), so let me pause and consider what my post-Ramadan world will be like:

  • Alcohol, which by law is sold only to foreigners (although I am normally the only westerner at any one time purchasing liquor at Label Vie and the majority of liquor sales are to Muslims) will become more readily available. No passports, no open sesame to open up the steel security gate that separates Humankind from Evil Intoxicants, no furtive looks of quiet desperation – I can walk right in! – except on Friday afternoons when the gate is again closed, presumably because we should all be at mosque. But technically, since all Muslims should be at mosque on Fridays anyway, and cannot be sold liquor on any day of the week, as a non-Muslim who is not allowed to cast her infidel shadow into a Moroccan mosque but can be legally sold alcohol, ergo, I should be able to buy a bottle of Sauvignon Blanc on a Friday afternoon even if the Prophet were descending from heaven in a chariot led by a dozen pigeons. Did I mention that liquor laws here were hypocritical or would you prefer that I draw a flow chart?
  • Perhaps the number of beggars, whose number magically swelled like the moon during the month of Ramadan (perhaps they are seasonal, like hop-pickers) will decrease,
  • The Not Very Nice Men will be back in full prurient force in the cafés, scratching & tugging at their crotches, and leering at women,
  • Not Very Nice Men aside, the cafés will be open: drinking coffee in daylight suddenly seems a little bit naughty now,
  • The blissful tranquility and calm of an early evening Rabat (when all good fasters were chowing down in relative silence) will be irrevocably shattered as normal traffic patterns (with their attendant aberrant horn honking) return,
  • My works hours will return to normalcy as my place of questionably gainful employment will no longer have to accommodate fasting Moroccans. Ramadan has had a serious impact on my blogging schedule. Sure was fun finishing work until 11:00 p.m. and starting again at 9:30 in the morning,
  • I will be sharing the streets of Morocco with 617 recently released convicts. As on other major holidays, M6 has pardoned a "handful" of (presumably) wrongly imprisoned felons. I feel so safe, so secure ... ,
  • The restaurants will re-open (in Agdal my dining activities had been restricted to Pizza Slut and McAwful’s for the last month) but my actual dining selections will not change since the only vegetarians acknowledged by Moroccans have horns, a tail and a multitude of stomachs,
  • The afternoon siesta will return, effectively wiping out afternoon shopping and reinstating thumb-twittling as my inter-prandial activity of choice,

… and of course, it’s a great time to be a cow or a goat because the clock has started ticking for this country’s sheep. Seventy days until the mass slaughter at Eid el Kebir – last year, over 6 million ovine throats were sliced with knives of varying sharpness and cleanliness, by hands of varying degrees of skill. Tick, tick, tick ... too bad I won't be here to enjoy it. Too bad I’ll be anywhere else in the world this time around.

Ramadan Mubarek! (unless you're a sheep)

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