So the part of the Kuwait experience I have been half dreading, half waiting for expectantly has come around. Ramadan. In the words of a Muslim colleague ‘a beautiful, spiritual time where all Muslims come together in prayer and fasting’. Or as a British colleague put it, ‘a month of the locals acting even more f*cking crazy than usual’. But in my head it was a month of working reduced hours and potentially kick starting the diet again. How hard could it be?
Ramadan involves fasting from sunrise to sunset. Nothing shall pass ones lips during daylight hours. No eating, no drinking, no smoking, no chewing gum etc etc. I figured a nice big breakfast would set me up for the day and a snack when I return home at 4pm. I didn’t factor in that my blood sugar has a tendency to drop quicker than a tart’s knickers and the affect no water would have on my mood and concentration. I also didn’t consider what would happen if I picked up a stomach bug at the start and not want to eat.
Ramadan started on 10th July. On the 8th we had a ‘is it tomorrow or isn’t it?’ evening. You see, the Americans have it right (for once). They use science. Over here a man in Saudi stares up at the sky and decides if the moon looks right. Thanks to a sandstorm on the 8th he couldn’t see the moon and Ramadan was delayed. One more day of eating! (I’m sure it’s more technical and symbolic than a man and the moon, but essentially still correct).
Day one struck and I had toast as well as my cereal. Drank a cup of green tea and headed for work. By 12pm I was confused, spaced out, queasy and tired. I could not stop yawning. I had to hide in an empty meeting room with a bottle of water and a cereal bar feeling very guilty that I couldn’t even hack the first day. Day two I prepared better but still had to slyly eat cashew nuts in the toilets whilst swigging my contraband Evian.
Thankfully day 3 and 4 were a weekend. Although I spent both days with the Kuwait version of the noro virus. Great for that diet kick start, pretty awful for staying rehydrated. So day 5 I have to drag my sorry, weakened self back to work feeling dehydrated and scared that breakfast was going to make a dramatic appearance during my first meeting. I could only stomach some toast, orange juice, water and two slices of pineapple which weren’t enough. It was the longest working day of my life. Imagine going to work with a hangover and not being able to eat or drink anything, and it’s 49 degrees outside. That was my day, minus the fun night beforehand.
So day 5 completed and I am laid on my back on the sofa too exhausted to do anything. I have a meeting tomorrow I haven’t prepped for, a banging headache, the diet has been shelved because I need chocolate to bring my blood sugars up and I’m beyond moody! Not that there’s anywhere to go. All the shops are closed until sunset because it appears the locals’ way of dealing with Ramadan is to eat all night and sleep all day. Anyone else think this is cheating?
So 25 days left to go. I apologize now if I descend in to a starved psychotic state and rant endlessly about this ‘spiritual time’. I’m Catholic, we serve wine. I know whose side I’d rather be on!