Half of August is done, how are you all doing? Here in Dubai (and the rest of the Islamic world), Ramadan, the month of fasting for Muslims is halfway over.
I love Ramadan time in Dubai because companies give even ‘rest’ times for Muslims and non-Muslims alike. Work starts 30 minutes late for me at 9am and finishes early at 3pm. That means I am able to spend more time with my daughter at home especially now that it’s summer holidays and she’s there. It also means I have more time in the kitchen cooking things I really loved to but wasn’t able to and sometimes even add a short nap to my day. A nap after work – what a treat!
How is Dubai during Ramadan?
During the daytime, businesses slow down as restaurants (except those enclosed inside hotels), street cafes are closed. Food courts inside the malls only serve fast food and are only available on takeaway basis. Last year though, it was possible to eat at the Dubai Mall food court even during Ramadan. This year, they have changed their policy.
So if you are new to Dubai and here during Ramadan, plan your day ahead. Don’t get caught hungry outside like what happened to me on my first Ramadan here. Hungry, with a deliriously sweet smelling, nice, hot and juicy Burger King whopper in a brown bag that I could not even touch!
The streets are quiet except during the rush hour in the mornings that start at 8:30 am and 3:00 pm in the afternoons. If you want to avoid headache and the sight of cranky (hungry) erratic driving, best to avoid those times. I stay in the office for another 30 minutes to blog so I won’t have to deal with my car horn in the streets.
Tired of Dubai traffic? Try going out for dinner just minutes before the break of fasting (Iftar time – about 10 minutes before 7pm now) and you’ll see it’s just you and a couple of cars on the road! Most people stay at home/mosque waiting for the sunset to break their fast.
Fifteen days more of Ramadan bliss where the whole city burst into life after sunset, like the movie Spirited Away (Japanese title: Sen to Chihiro no Kamikakushi). Go out and explore it in the evening when the weather is more tolerable, sit in a cafe, people watch and simply soak in the different culture while you’re here.