Ramadan started today. Now, I’m not Muslim, and therefore do not fast, but while I’m at work, even though the Muslim staff I work with have told me that don’t care if I drink water or tea or Coke at my desk, I do make an effort not to out of respect. Besides, we have a break room I can use if I really do feel the need to have a drink or eat. And I will use that. No big deal.
For the next month I will do my best to avoid upsetting my Muslim friends at work with talk of food, music, sex – all things that are tempting – and when I’m out and about in Dubai, I will try and remember that I cannot drink water when I’m in public. There will be restaurants and cafes open, all behind shutters or blacked out windows so people cannot see inside. It really isn’t too difficult to survive Ramadan here if you, like me, have no affinity towards religion and therefore do not want to fast.
And besides my willingness to not tempt my co-workers, I have been offered a challenge that a few of us, Muslims and non-Muslims, are going to try. Apparently, we are seeing who can grow the best beard during the 29 days of Ramadan. Yup, you read that right.
I have never had a beard. The longest I’ve gone without shaving is 4 days. It just gets way too itchy for me. But I do like a good challenge. And I’m nothing if not a team player. So we all shaved yesterday for the last time until late July. This is what my cheek looked like yesterday. I might update you with photos at a future date. Rather whimsical, “I cannot take a selfie” look on my face huh?