Last night around 9 pm, John and I decided to call it. We were exhausted from being up the night before and thought we should just go to bed. So we did.
Approximately 5 minutes following, an imam (local preacher) began his sermon. It's typical to hear the call to prayer 5 times a day on a loudspeaker in this part of the world, but during Ramadan there are "bonus" sessions.
Most of the population has rested during the heat of the day and have regained their energies at night when they can eat, drink and visit friends. The imam apparently had a looooooong nap.
The imam had written out quite a developed speech for he presented it with fervor, extreme volume and (to John's chagrin) lots of reverb. You….You…..You……should….should….should….pray….pray…pray….etc……etc…..etc…..(insert screeching feedback).
While this was going on, others took to the streets shopping, laughing and talking. The farm animals didn't appreciate their sleep disturbance so the cows started in, then the goats…
Another imam from another mosque thought he'd get his two cents in, so he began his "Ramadan Reflections" at the same volume and timbre. Sort of like dueling banjos...
The cherry on top was the boy who rides in a wagon with a pile of propane tanks (yes, you read this right) and uses a wrench to let you know he's in the neighborhood. He takes the wrench and bangs it on a tank in a tap-tap-taptaptap rhythm. And if you have need of more propane, you can just run down and get it. Clever (dangerous, too) but now?!
John finally rooted through our belongings until he found a set of earplugs for each of us. (Every audio engineer past and present has these available at all times.) They worked fairly well cutting out at least the feeling that the entire city of Aswan was standing by my head.
As I lay there trying to sleep, I was grateful for the opportunity to be here. Not necessarily to be kept awake, but to live with and learn about these wonderful people. I breathed a prayer for them and drifted to sleep.
Oh, we got a phone call too from one of our new Egyptian friends. (We couldn't possibly be in bed yet, could we?!) He asked if we wanted to go around town shopping tomorrow. John told him we could anytime. He said, "It will have to be at night. No one's open during the day." We laughed and said, "Yeah, we know. That will be just fine!" ______________________________ BOGO Blog: The Crack of Dawn