A New First
Of all the places I have traveled to in this world, I have been to churches – laid on the floor of the Sistine Chapel staring at the ceiling in awe. I have hiked to the top of the hillside and done puja in Palitana. Although religion is drastically different from these to holy places there is one thing that is the same – pure chaos. My experience at the Sheihk Zayed Grand Mosque was completely the opposite experience.
The largest in the United Arab Emirates, and the complex is massive. Architecture is typical, but I always find the Mogul Architecture stunning. Where my disappointment lies is when looking at more modern buildings (1989), is the detailing. Not to take away from the beauty of the Mosque, but the marbled inlays were large and not as detailed as I have seen in other areas of the world. I guess you have been spoiled once you have spent and afternoon enjoying the detailing at the Taj Mahal.
The courtyard was massive; the main prayer hall (not sure what it is really called) was incredible. Then the prayer rooms were separated with one side for the men and the other for the women. You can see into the men’s but on the women’s side it was hidden to where you couldn’t see in…good thing I’m a girl, because I got to go into the room.
But what was most impressive was the level of respect everyone had when going onto the grounds. Women must wear head covers regardless of your personal beliefs. It felt like a place of worship, not a tourist stop. It was very quiet and peaceful, even for being there at afternoon prayer time. Prayer time – yes you will hear throughout the city all the mosque’s over the outdoor speakers doing prayer. Pretty neat.
My goal for today was to see something I have never seen before and I accomplished just that; I went into my very first Mosque and it was a beautiful experience. But that wasn’t my only first! I tried to partake in this country’s favorite social thing to do – shop, and found that they my 15XL. There is a shop that specializes in the excessively large sizes…didn’t know they existed.
I also went to the Marina area to see if they were setting up for the race…butterflies and excitement swept over me when I saw the signs and tents being set up. That excitement was quickly overshadowed when I looked at the weather for this weekend. The average weather this time of year is high 70s to lower 80s. This weekend it is to be close to 100F. Oh boy!
And on a side note: MTV actually plays music here. The entire station is dedicated to playing music! Who would have ever thought that Music Television would play music? I didn’t know artists still made videos, and apparently they do.