Wednesday, November 2, 2011

Living on Gulf Time

When I wake up in the middle of the night, an e-mail is usually on its way from the Gulf.  When traveling to the Gulf, you are sure to have your days and nights mixed up.  Night there is day here, and vice-versa.

Life in the Gulf is not based on clock time as much as prayer time.  Rush hour is a half hour before and after evening prayer time.

Life is slower there.  No one gets in too much of a hurry to do anything.  The tasks of praying and eating are definitely more important than working and taking care of business.

Most people go off to work around seven in the morning.  About noon, everything shuts down for afternoon meals and naps.  If you want to buy food, gas, etc. from noon to six-thirty, good luck!  If you visit a home in the afternoon, by two o'clock they will show you a bed or show you the door.

As soon as six oclock evening prayer time is over, things get hopping again.  Shops and coffee shops re-open, evening social circles meet, and many people return to work until about eleven.

There is no such thing as over-staying your welcome in a Bedu home.  The important thing is not to insult your host by leaving before you eat.  Oh, and after you eat, then you visit and eat again.  After that, you drink Shai, eat again, and then near eleven, maybe say goodbye.  If you don't call or see friends for two or three days, they will think something is wrong.

In the Gulf, time spent socializing is considered time well spent.  And I think I would agree that relationships with others is what matters most in the end.  So maybe we should take a cue from our friends, the Muslims, and try taking some time out of our busy lives to nuture our fragile relationships with family, friends, and neighbors.

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