Dubai, U.A.E. October 5, 2015
My first stop today was back at the Iranian consulate where my passport was waiting for me with my Iranian visa inside! I'M GOING TO IRAN!!!!!
Believe it or not, Tim is everywhere!
Supermarkets are very interesting because the label not only states what the fruit is and how much it costs, but also where it's from. The tamarillos on the left are from Thailand and cost $24/kg. The pythaya are from Columbia and are $33.89/kg. Just about all the produce, except dates, is imported-
Jumeirah Mosque was built in 1976 in the Fatimid style. The towers are called minarets and the number is determined by the size of the mosque. Before technology, the Imam (minister) would climb to the top and sing to call the Muslims to prayer. Today, a recorded version of the call is blasted throughout the city at prayer times. Men are expected to go to the mosque but to prevent unnecessary hardship, women are allowed to stay home and pray with their children-
Daily tours are offered as part of the program "Open doors, open minds". Islam is a religion and it means peace. Muslims follow Islam. Muhammad is the last messenger of Allah (God). Muslims believe in all prophets who came before Muhammad including Jesus. They also believe in all documents that were sent from God including the Bible, as well as in a final judgement and in angels.
Muslims must be clean before they enter the mosque so they do a thorough job of washing, called ablution. They also remove their shoes.
Women's heads, shoulders and legs to the knees must be covered-
The dome in the ceiling is used to amplify the voice of the Imam-
Muslims are called to prayer by the Imam 5 times/day - before dawn, at noon, as shadows begin to fall, when the sun goes down and at dark when the first stars appear-
This gentleman showed us the positions during prayer-
The people face towards Mecca, Saudi Arabia. Mosques have an arch where the Imam sits, showing the direction. Hotels here even have arrows in the ceiling showing the correct direction-
Mecca is important because it's the first spot where Abraham prayed. The black cubicle is called the Kaaba and is the most sacred site in Islam-
All Muslims are encouraged to visit Mecca once in their lifetime to remember the prophet Abraham, (peace be upon him). Huge crowds gather during Hajj, the last month of the year, three months after Ramadam. Close to 3 million visit annually and this September 24, over 1100 worshipers were killed when two waves of pilgrims converged on a narrow road-
Islam is built on 5 pillars. The first pillar is their beliefs. The second is prayer. The third is charity and Muslims are asked to give 2.5%/year of their savings to people who are struggling financially. The fourth pillar is fasting. This occurs during Ramadan which is the ninth month of the lunar calendar. They must refrain from eating, drinking, smoking and sex from sun up to sun down. Expectant and nursing mothers, as well as the ill and those travelling are exempt. It is meant to teach discipline, patience and compassion for those who do without. The fifth pillar is the pilgrimmage to Mecca. The tour was an excellent way to gain some understanding of this popular faith.
The Deira Old Souq is a market of narrow lanes with many shops selling everything imaginable from dates and figs-
to walnuts, cashews, pistachios and other nuts-
as well as saffron-
The Gold Souq has over 300 vendors-
So many, many shops-
The narrow laned Utensil Souq-
The Spice Souk sells chilis, tumeric, cardamon, garlic, pepper and much more-
I rode an abra, a small motorized water taxi, to cross the creek. It cost 33 cents-
Lunch was along the creek with a fairly cool breeze - thanks be to Allah! The falafel and pita bread were excellent-
Dessert was a batter covered, deep fried banana - not my favorite-
Modern Dubai exists in part thanks to oil which was discovered in 1966. It truly is a place of opposites - rich and poor, new and old. The metro is very new, fast, clean and efficient. For safety reasons, the train tracks are not accessible, so once the train arrives behind the wall, the doors open to allow passengers to enter-
Women and children have specific cars. People line up in an orderly fashion to enter-
I like the fact that women have their own cars. During peak periods, who needs some man pressing his package up against your back?
Because the metro was built after a lot of the city, much of the track is above ground so views are excellent-
I have no idea what exactly this is (fish, lamb, chicken, shrimp) but it was very good-
Dessert was chocolate devotion $17. I love the presentation-
Ellen and I enjoyed an espresso martini. Each cost $36-
One person in our dinner party ordered an old fashioned ($27.00). It arrived under glass-
Looking forward to Abu Dhabi tomorrow!