When you walk around, you realise what a miracle this place is. It is a country built on sand. Everywhere there is sand. Western children would probably love it. The sand blows into every crevice and collects in sheltered corners. On the side of the street, weeds attempt to establish their roots in a medium, which will give them nothing.
Then there is the lack of water, which is the second huge factor everyone here has to deal with. Every building site has large blue pipes coming out of them. Stand on them and they are quite firm. They are filled with water. On streets, speed bumps are built over them so cars can pass without causing damage. All water here is desalinated. You can cook with water from the tap, but I’m not sure I’d made a cup of tea from it (the one time I did I feel ill, but it could have been something else. Am missing my greens here- you can’t find a decent head of lettuce).
One evening, walking though the waste space beside the nearest mosque, I though I saw ice glistening under my feat, but realised quickly that it was the salt that remains when water that might have pooled there evaporates.
Friday was the holy day. I set off walking at about 11.30 in time to hear the amplified sermonising from two of the local mosques fighting with each other. At the largest, the car park was packed, and many of the faithful were left outside the door (or maybe they preferred to stay out there). The Mullah started quietly but moved to an inevitable crescendo, before going relatively quiet again. In comparison with Christian Holy rollers (I was a SINNNER!!! And then I found THE LORD!! REPENT!!, etc, etc), he sounds almost laid back. Not that I have the faintest clue what he’s talking about.