A Day at Fenar, Museum of Islamic Art, and the Souqs

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

Food Notes:

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.

Inspirational Quote:

We are all motivated by a keen desire for praise, and the better a man is, the more he is inspired to glory.–Cicero

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