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  #1  
Old 28 Mar 2006
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Ramadan

Ramadan is starting 24th of September this year if this is of any use to anyone! Last for a month I think.

I was planning a Morocco trip starting 24th sept! I might have to reschedule

Maria
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Old 28 Mar 2006
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Why?
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Old 28 Mar 2006
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Well all the social bit related to food and drinks!
Stop by the side of the road in a small village to lunch on some grilled lamb and drink mint tea. Spend 2 days negotiating for a carpet while sipping tea all day long and being invited for lunch twice with shopkeeper wonderful spouse couscous or tagine….. Visiting a Kasbah with the local Caid who happen to own the camping where you stay and getting to meet the locals and drink .. more mint tea…. Not the same when you arrive somewhere sweating from the heat and gear and not feeling like drinking water in front of the people you meet along the way! Ha yes and did I mention I like my breakfast? Even if it is only bread with honey and more mint tea? So I think I will change slightly my plans so that only the end of my trip will overlap Ramadan!
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Old 29 Mar 2006
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Having travelled in Morocco in 2005 during Ramadam all I can say is that it really heightened the experience. Everyone we met were very socialable (except for that rather annoying policeman who was not adapting to fasting too well !).
When it came to 6.00pm ... the experience was jubulant and of the 10 nights we were there, 4 of them were as guests of local families wishing to share what little they had with us.
Given the choice, I certainly would make a point of travelling in a Muslin country during Ramadam rather than miss it.
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Old 30 Mar 2006
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Entirely agree though it can be tricky to find places (hotels restaurants etc) open in some places. We arrived in Morocco on the first day in 2004 and I think the experience was enhanced as everyone seemed really keen to party once they'd broken the fast at sundown. Mind you after 2 nights of Gnawa and Rai music in Tarroudant I was begining to regret the timing!

Go for it

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Old 30 Mar 2006
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Agree with above!

I travelled through Iran and got marooned in Iran during Ramadan and never had any problems. Seeing the country during the festival added to the experience all in. It was pretty surprising just how much of a non issue it was really!
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Old 30 Mar 2006
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I think if you can a good idear is to cover the end of Ramadan by as many days each way as possible.....I have done that quite a few times, more by luck than judgement, and have found it enlightening......and got involved in the end festivities, wonderfull if you are invited [and you will be] to a family gathering.

Caught the FULL month during 2005 and did find that a slight [very slight] problem at times......like I do love the mid-day smokey roadside meals etc.
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Old 30 Mar 2006
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thanks guys! I may stick with my original plans then!
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Old 19 Apr 2006
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Dont miss ramadam

I agree with most of the other comments. I travelled in Algeria and Tunisia in 1989 during ramadam and had a great time; lots of parties, fireworks and great atmosphere. I believe most people observing the "fast" actually eat MORE as they're so hungry by dusk. If you do decide to postpone why not plan to arrive for the last day,

Have fun
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Old 19 Apr 2006
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Turkey for Ramadan

We were in Turkey for most of Ramadan a couple of years ago and it was great! (OK, drums going at 4 AM not so great) Out of respect we would usually try to have lunch off the road somewhere but more often than not people would come over and chat anyway.

One of the most moving/memorable parts of our year of travelling was sitting on a bench in front of the Blue Mosque in Istanbul at sunset. People around us broke their fast as the sun went down and came over to us offering a treat. Wow. Then right next to the mosque was a fair that really came alive at night with candies for sale and rides for the kids (and a mechanical bull for the adults!)

Glad to hear you are going for it!
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Old 19 Apr 2006
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My experience (having spent Ramadan in Islamic countries a few times) has been that it is about as disruptive to normal activities as the second half of December is in Christian countries.

The main problem is that if you need to get anything done, you have to get it done before noon hour, people (quite understandably) fade out and don't get much accomplished in the afternoon when they have been fasting since daybreak. Once the fast ends, it is time to celebrate, so you can't get much accomplished in the evening either.

No-one will expect a non-Muslim visitor to fast, however, common courtesy dictates that it is not polite to eat, drink, or smoke in front of people who are fasting, that is something that you can easily accomplish but it can be a bit of a bother.

If you are planning to travel just for touristic reasons, and don't have a tight timetable, by all means visit during Ramadan - as others have pointed out, it can be a lot of fun, same as the second half of December can be a lot of fun in Christian countries. However, if you are travelling for business reasons, or are on a tight schedule, it's best to plan your trip during any month except Ramadan.

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Old 20 Apr 2006
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Quote:
Originally Posted by PanEuropean
No-one will expect a non-Muslim visitor to fast, however, common courtesy dictates that it is not polite to eat, drink, or smoke in front of people who are fasting, that is something that you can easily accomplish but it can be a bit of a bother.

I fully agree that you should experience Ramadan and if possible Eid. After all, we travel to enjoy other cultures.

I thought I’d better mention that in some countries, including even the liberal UAE, it is actually illegal to eat or smoke in public. The exceptions are hotel and shopping centre restaurants etc.. As an obvious rule of thumb, if it’s open, you can eat there; otherwise not. You should not eat or smoke in a vehicle or outside.


The above is less an issue in Dubai where you hear the phrase “this is Dubai” said about a lot of seemingly non-Islamic behaviour.
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Old 20 Apr 2006
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Ramadan

Really, illegal ? Get out ! You mean if a travellerin Morocco at that time were to pul l up to a picknick table at noon and get some food out of his baggage and proceed to have lunch they would come and arrest him? Far out.
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Old 21 Apr 2006
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Smile

Sjoerd
I don 't know about Morocco which I why I said ‘some countries’ but somehow I doubt it. It is said in Arabic:

temshee al mughrib,
tistughrib

(If) you go to Morocco
you’ll be surprised.

So you could try it but doing things to see if they are illegal is not the best way to endear yourself to locals, is it?

When I lived in Sudan, the majority who were fasting simply got on with it and no offence was taken if someone nearby was eating. It was left to non-fasters to show consideration by not enjoying a cigarette or cool drink in the vicinity. That was in the 1980s. I don’t know about the legal situation there now.


In the UAE, at my workplace, we are expected to eat in a small kitchen on an upstairs floor with paper blocking out the windows. We take the paper down as the windows overlook desert but the fact that management puts it up in the first place indicates the sensitivity of this issue in Islamic countries.
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Old 21 Apr 2006
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Actualy, what I understood, in Morocco it's against the law for muslims (and other moroccans) to break the fast, they risk to get arrested for eating/drinking or a fine for smoking when caught by the police. There are exeptions: travellers, patients (medical) and pregnant woman can break the fast but are expected to catch up the days missed, as soon as they have the change. After all they don't fast for the king/society but for Allah.
And like others pointed out before, it's a matter of respect not to break the fast in front of anybody.

In the major tourist centers this isn't a problem, there are always some hotels and restaurants serving meals to foreigners. But when your in the more remote places, al the nice places are closed, the terraces are empty, most of the little groceries are closed and it's very hard to get fresh bread.
When the sun goes down everything changes, most of the restaurants serves harrira, cake, boiled eggs etc. After prayers, people don't know what to take first and start with everything on the table, harrira/cake/coke/egg/cake/cofee/sigaret/tea/bread/coke/cake/harrira (in random order) after this everbody rushes out and only late at night you (we) could find other food, roasted meat and tahines.

The strange thing is, in RIM (Republic Islamic Mauretanie) they are a lot more practical about it, the atmosphere is less tense, you see more people smoking, drinking water, more shops are open and you can find fresh bread.

When you have the time and chance plan your trip at the end (or a bit in advance) of Ramadan, so you can have a taste of both.
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Last edited by Sophie-Bart; 21 Apr 2006 at 13:42.
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