Wednesday, July 29, 2009

Wednesday is religion day

I can't believe it took me this long to visit the Grand Mosque. I have ridden by it many times--on the way to Dubai, on the way to shoot guns, on the way to drink cocktails. But until today, I hadn't stopped.

I'm glad I did. Unlike the impressive-for-different-reasons mosques I visited in India, this one was filled with elaborate and expensive touches, like expensive marble floors inlaid with other expensive marble; chandeliers weighing several tons hanging like bejeweled jellyfish over a football field's worth of hand-stitched carpeting; arctic air conditioning.

The courtyard does not, as you might expect, fry bare feet.

The white marble was Taj Mahal-esque, although not as graceful and beautiful. Inside, a tour guide talked a little bit about the mosque and a lot about Islam--it was a much an outreach and education effort as it was a "look at this bit of pretty architecture" speech.

All I regret, really, is dressing appropriately. If you show up looking immodest (shorts, T-shirt, etc.), women get an abaya and head scarf and men get a kandoura. I missed my big chance to dress like a native without offending anyone. I guess there's always next Wednesday....

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