Wednesday, September 8, 2010

Happy Holiday :)

It is so easy to live in Dar and forget to go to Zanzibar just for the pleasure of it, so imagine my delight when one day I opened Facebook and a seven-day holiday dropped into my lap from out of the blue. I am going to be here, doing this with these lovely folks for the next seven days*.

As I write this I am on the ferry staring out at flying fish and the traffic jam of ships waiting for space at the port. I am trying to calm down after being brutalized by our No Self Respecting Bongolander Ever Stands In Line If She Can Shove and Elbow Her Way Onto A Vessel policy. I don't know why, for such polite people, we turn into that girl from The Exorcist when there is travel involved.

'Twas a minor inconvenience in an otherwise awesomely-timed trip. The tail end of Eid el Fitr in Zanzibar? Partay! I remember tickets costing about 25,000 shillings last time I took the boat, but I only paid half of that for this trip. Even cooler: free complimentary breakfast in the waiting lounge. I think Azam might be running a holiday special, which is bogglingly decent behavior to observe in a business. In my experience public holidays = stratospheric price hikes in the transport sector.

This year we can thank Pastor Crazy for raising the issue of religious tolerance... and encouraging a few of us to do some interwebs reading on Islam. I don't suppose it was his intention to shine a light upon either issue or give anyone cause to ponder them. Heh. Evidently you don't have to belong to a faith to appreciate the good it has to offer in spiritual or mindful practice. You just have to be a half-way decent human being. Ukarimu is a rare quality, and a difficult practice for most of us, but it is beautiful at heart. One of my favorite things about living in Bongo is the way that Iftar is shared across faith and class, offered in generosity and friendship.

So a belated Eid Mubarak whatever your faith may or may not be, and I hope you have had a long weekend filled with generosity and friendship and excellent feasting. I sure did :)

*Lots more info on this in the next few days.

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