First Contact

The Great Feast of Eid-ul-Fitr

Like the color of silver,
in the night sky,
the new moon rises,
the holy month has past,
the fasting is over,
tomorrow is the great feast of Eid-ul-Fitr.

We will eat spicy chicken,
and mouthwatering pakoras,
I'll call my neighbors,
and friends on the street,
may the peace of Allah,
and joy of Eid,
be with everyone.


Eid Mubarak!

I awoke this morning calm. There was not a stir amongst the magnificent date palms that line the avenue on my street. Through the filtered light coming in from my curtains on my bedroom's french doors, I viewed a haze of sleepy pink and yellow hues patterned on silhouettes of the city dwellers as the day begins. The corner venders are slowly setting up shop. The men are all shuffling to and fro. The man at the coiffeur pour hommes salon des artistes is sweeping his partition of sidewalk. I watch all this in wonder. I am full of gratitude to be a bit-part player in this moving picture show- a voyeur at best. I hide behind my curtains taking in the wonders of a life unknown to me until this moment- a life of a Tunisian denzien in Lafayette.

Looking at life below on the streets, it is textured with a sort-of fiction-esque mood. I find myself wanting to impose a logic to these characters as they go about their daily deeds. For you, my audience, I want to entertain and delight with the sounds and smells as I feel them. This experience is so vibrant and all the more heightened as it has just been down-pouring for 10 minutes and all my imported cast of characters have taken to the awnings for temporary relief. Oh the memories of 5 Corners, my beloved nest in the jungle of Maui for my new readers, floods my mind now as the heavy rains floods my salon.

Thunder is pounding the city so now my assorted cast has taken on the appearance of animated figurines in slow motion as seen through a hypnopompic dream where the set is seemingly flying through the air. It is like a strategic chaos as people are darting in between traffic looking for a space of relative safety from the oncoming invading army of raindrops and exploding ordnance.

The plot thickens, of course, as it is the last day of Ramadan- hence the above poem... (the "little") Eid begins tomorrow. Eid-Ul-Fitr marks the end of the month-long fasting during Ramadan. It is a day to thank Allah for giving the Muslim people the endurance to observe their fasts- especially relevant when Ramadan falls in the summer months when it is extremely hot and everybody is working and not drinking or eating from sun-up to sun-down. Eid officially starts when the 1st sliver of the new moon is visible, or, when Ramadan is officially over. So, on this day, or evening as sunset is the start of a new (lunar) day in Islam, all greet each other with, "Eid Mubarak"! Everybody wishes each other good luck.

From what I understand, everybody dresses up, children everywhere get gifts from friends and neighbors, and there is lots of food!

In other news, I've been asked by a few to take pictures while in the Medina (oldest part of the city with all the souks, etc.), but as of yet I have felt it inappropriate. Not to say that others aren't, but I kind of want to get established 1st and perhaps have people become familiar with me, and not seen as a tourist. Pictures will come soon. I hope I can abate you all with pictures of my new flat & neighborhood taken today...


So... here we are: It's 2:15 p.m. & I'm off to find a clothes-horse thingy to dry laundry on. First contact, the title of today's blog, hasn't really been explained, and cannot really, but just know it was a fantastic evening last night & much progress has indeed been made...
signing off from North Africa,