Tuesday

Ramadan on the Go

I hate being on the move. I also hate hotels. In the past two years I've lived in hotels more than any other place, weeks at a time. I'm going to Philadelphia in a week. I have to settle in a hotel for a while everytime we hit a new market. Priceline assigned me the Sheraton near the airport. I stayed in that hotel for over a month before, and half of its staff know me. Despite the service and the comfort, hotels make me feel detached. They make me lose the sense of being home. When I'm home, I have my own rituals. Cooking, cleaning, socializing, and of course, watching TV. I love American Football . To all of you soccer fans, it might seem like a bunch of huge guys hitting and attacking each other, but to someone who knows its rules and schemes, it's a very smart game. There are thousands of plays on defense as well as offense. I also watch news, sitcoms, and movies. Three items are always on when I'm home; my TV, my laptop, and my fridge.

Home, that 4 letter word I mention in almost every post. When I'm here, it refers to my own place, my sanctuary. The place that has all my junk, clothes, electronic toys, and everything I've collected over the years. The place that I'm always comfortable walking around wearing only my shorts. The place where I walk out to the front yard and see my next door neighbor working on her garden dressed in those tight pink shorts.
-Good morning neighbor, it looks like it's gonna be a beautiful day
-Yeah
-We're having a BBQ (a cook out or "mashawi") this Saturday if you wanna come over
-I wish, but I'll be in Philly for a while
-Again? You just got back from there
I know. That's my life.

Philadelphia, Phila, Philly, or the city of brotherly love as we call it here, is a very diverse town. It's a melting pot of whites, blacks, asians, arabs, and indians among other nationalities. It's also a strange mixture of nice neighborhoods along with very dirty ones. Parking and potholes حفر are the two most nagging problems there. I piled up over $800 in parking tickets while I was there. It's also home of the famous Philly cheese steak sandwich. The movie Rocky was filmed there featuring the famous steps he trained on which belong to the Philadelphia Museum of Arts. The northeast section of the city is packed with Arab families. You can see store and restaurant signs posted in Arabic. Restaurants like Saad and Al-sham are part of that city's many attractions. Falafel and Shawerma vending trucks are also very common there. There's also a large community of black African Muslims there called Alahbash الأحباش. I was told they were a seperate muslim sect like Sunnis and Shia.

I've been forunate enough to see and live in many cities and states in this vast country إذا أحب الله عبده أراه أرضه. It's never much fun when you're away from the place you call home for an extended period, but it's always good to see and experience new places and cultures. I haven't seen Ramadan in Syria for a long time, and it'll probably be even longer. My ultimate goal is spending one of the coming Ramadans at home soon.
Meanwhile, I'll be spending this one in Philly. I wish you all the happiest Ramadan ever, and the most prosperous Eid. كل عام وأنتم بخير

11 comments:

Mariyah said...

Being away from home, Sourie, is very hard especially at this time of year. But I think it gives us a different perspective...and I suppose a real appreciation of Ramadan at home. I did notice, too, on the flip side, that I romanticized a bit too much how Ramadan at home would be like. It was still a joyful experience last year but not quite like I had envisioned. :) I hope you enjoy your experience in Philly and tell us a bit about it. Yen3ad 3aleik.

abufares said...

Well, I've been living out of my suitcase for the last few years. However, I must admit I travel for much shorter trips (4 or 5 days at a time mainly) and as thus normally enjoy the change of scenery and the hotel life. It seems that this year I'll spend Ramadan at home but won't be around for the entire duration of the Eid.
I love American Football, or to be more accurate, loved it back when I lived there. Once I left I joined the rest of humanity and returned to my old love "Soccer" and am an avid follower of the English and Spanish leagues.
You're right to miss your neighbor with the tight pink shorts I have to admit. But since it's going to be Ramadan you might be lucky after all ;-)
Hey Mariyah, nice seeing you here.

Mariyah said...

Nice to see you here too, Abufares!! :) Sourie has made a nice place here to meet up!! Shall we all three of us sit down for a cyber-coffee!! ;)

أنا سوري said...

Thank you both. Abu Fares you'll always be Mariyah's first love. I'm just a side kick, a fifth wheel if you may. Starbucks Anyone?

abufares said...

Why don't you tell her that... lollll.
ENTA AL-ASSEL

Starbucks it is, all THREE of us.

Katia said...

Come on, you coffee drinkers are disappointing me... Starbucks is nowhere near real coffee. Get yourself some Lavazza ;-) Quality, peeps, quality ;-)

Ramadan Karim Mr Anasourie :-)

abufares said...

Katia
I never drink anything but Lavazza. One espresso per day for as long as I can remember.
How about we let these 2 North Americans take us to the best place(s) they know of?

أنا سوري said...

A coffee debate, huh? I know one thing. In 15 years, other than when I go to Syria, I haven't drank anything but Starbucks. Plain coffee with half and half and brown sugar. That cup of Java just makes my day. Never heard of Lavazza to be honest with you, but I'll try anything at least once. Anything that is lawful of course.Welcome back Ms. Katia, how come your blog is set to private? I asked that last time and you never responded.

Mariyah said...

I'm just as happy with a glass of water if it means I can sit down with all of you! :) Cheers!

Katia said...

Hello Mr Anasourie,
About the blog, don't take it personally. I'm just not writing there anymore. As for the coffee, I don't often drink it, but when I do, it has to be right. Starbucks to me is more about coffee cocktails than real coffee. Some of them cocktails are good but they're not coffee... Now, do I sound like a snobby European or not yet? :p
So, as Abufares suggested, why don't you two North Americans take us to the best places you know and we'll decide then ;-)
Btw Ms Mariyah, I think I speak for all of us here when I say mne23od ma3ek 3al nashef eza bedek bas khalena neksab hal a3de ;-)

أنا سوري said...

Trust me Katia, it takes a lot more than that for me to take it personal. I just wanted to find out something about the person behind the comments, and the only way we know a little about each other here is by reading each other's blogs. It's absolutely fine. Whatever you're comfortable with. I never buy Starbucks mixed drinks. Too exotic for me. I like simple plain good tasting coffee, and their coffee has the best taste. Try their Sumatra or Yemen coffee and you'll see. That's how they started, selling out good coffee, and they still do, but some people now opt for the mixed stuff.