August 2010

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I went down to the coffee shop near my house tonight, and noticed while walking over that the wind was picking up and the air smelled different. Since the coffee shop was crowded, I found an empty chair outside and enjoyed the rapidly dropping temperature. Wind whipped into the complex’s courtyard bringing electricity with it and sure enough, lightning started soon after.

At this time last year I learned how quickly a torrential downpour can burst out of nowhere, so I grabbed my bag, magazine and drink and headed home, noticing how many of my neighbors had their windows open on the way. Sure enough, by the time I’d made it up two flights of stairs and started opening my own windows, fat drops had started spattering the screens.

Unfortunately, my cat, Antonya, was far less impressed by these exciting developments than I had hoped. As the sound of the pavement getting soaked and voices of people caught in the downpour drifted up, she turned her back on the window and is now sleeping on her favorite chair with a distinctly offended attitude.

But we haven’t been able to open the windows in months, so I’m stubbornly thrilled that there’s air moving through the rooms and not just because of the constant ceiling fans. Things have settled down now, and people are returning to their porches and sidewalks, but there’s still splashes each time a car goes by, and a fresh breeze…

While the break in the heat will probably only be temporary till October, nothing clears the air like a good storm.

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A lull! A short break between work and school means one of two things : trip or break.

This time? A little laying back, a little relaxing – and in this case, a little remembering… Yep, here come a few more Dubai posts…

Before we visited Jumeirah Mosque, we were warned not to be disappointed – this was not, we were told, like the Sheikh Zayid Mosque in Abu Dhabi, which we’d already seen. They were right – it’s very different. The value of this mosque isn’t measured in its trappings and decorations. While it’s beautiful, Jumeirah Mosque’s real value lies in its congregation and the experience its members provide to guests and visitors.

A British woman led our tour, which started outside the mosque with a description of the washing ritual that cleanses worshipers before they attend services. Before we went left, Chrystall took photos as Evan attempted the ritual himself.

Once inside the mosque, our guide introduced us to the building and its community. She covered basic principles like the five pillars of Islam, described services and demonstrated prayers. She also took a wide range of questions from the audience, which had a people from all over the world and different experiences and backgrounds.

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