3 odd things I saw
-Fenar: Doha’s Muslim Cultural Center (see flickr for photos!)
-Museum of Islamic Art (see flickr for photos!)
-Fenar (Muslim Cultural Center) and the Museum of Islamic Art’s lights reflected on the water as we came into port on the Dhow
3 odd things I heard
-Jesus is accepted as a prophet, as is the virgin birth in Islam according to our tour guides
-Me and three CMU-Q ladies singing along to “Love Song” like total happy fools on the Dhow ride today
-Me not verbally talking but communicating with two women spinning in the Souqs
3 odd things I thought/felt:
-In perfect communication with two women who were spinning–well, plying three threads together. I had seen them earlier in the day, and was not sure how to approach them (apparently hand-waving means “come closer!” in Arab cultures, rather than “shoo! We’re working!”). I came around a corner in the Souqs and suddenly saw the same two women, and I asked if I could watch them. They nodded, and knelt and watched the older (and fully veiled) woman spin. I showed with my hands that I spun as well, and they both laughed.
I watch some more, and admired the yarn in one of their baskets, smelling it and feeling it. They laughed when I smelled it–perhaps most Westerners don’t know about handspun? Anyway, it smelled cleanly of sheep. I moved onto admiring their spare drop-spindles (this interaction was too precious to photograph, so you’ll have to do with words). There were crudely cut wooden beaters, for tapping down the weft on a loom, and I verified that they were in fact beaters. They laughed that I knew what I was talking about.
Then I saw a funny little bamboo flag sitting in the same basket as the drop-spindles and beaters, and tried to ask with my hands if it was some kind of light carding implement. The younger woman snatched it up, and fanned herself–it was a little fan! Then I brought up a meter-high bamboo stick with a rubber ball at the top, but we couldn’t seem to communicate what it was. I pantomimed swatting obnoxious grand-kids, and they both laughed again.
I ended up buying some triple-plied hand-spun and a drop-spindle. I tried to bargain, but failed. It still ended up being cheap though.
-The British woman who guided part of our tour had a fascinating conversion story
-I was delighted at the number of beautiful Arab carpets on display at the Museum of Islamic Art
Not much to report, more lamb and beef kebabs, some eating with my hands (at Fenar, as part of the cultural experience), no Kurak sadly.
PS: I know I am using a lot of words I am not defining. I promise, when I get back into the states I will add hyperlinks to all of them.
We are all motivated by a keen desire for praise, and the better a man is, the more he is inspired to glory.–Cicero