As you can imagine, pig products aren't readily available in Abu Dhabi with pork being forbidden in Islam. We're lucky enough to live near a supermarket that has a separate section for pork so we can get our bacon fix in. To quote my wife, "I only liked bacon a little when we were in Japan but now, for some reason, I really like bacon here." Some things in that section like ham, and bacon are pretty obvious. Some other things like cup ramen, bacon flavored potato chips and baked beans make sense when you think about them. While I understand the reason, I never would have considered marshmallows a pork product if you had asked me. In a way I guess it's a good thing that there's a separate section for pork products to keep people from accidentally eating it.
Last night, we went to an "iftar" in a nature reserve. Iftar is the term for the meal after sunset during Ramadan. It was an invite via the Emirati Natural History Group that we recently joined. A friend of ours loaded both of our families up in his new SUV and we drove out there. We had a great time before suset playing at a beatiful beach. We were still playing at in the water when the sun set so if there was anything special that happened just before everyone ate, we missed it. We did get to stand in a huge line and miss out on the main course. The good news was that people were asked to bring a dish from their own country in a potluck style so there was plenty of food to eat while we were waiting in line for the food we missed. I made chocolate chip cookies and jokingly told some people that there was bacon in them. Some people didn't get the joke. I'm guessing no one would've got the joke if I had said that there were marshmallows in them.
Afterwards, there was a slideshow presentation about pearl diving and the various work that the nature preserve does. The kids didn't find it as interesting as I did for some reason so we went off and played with the kayak in a little inland pond.
There was an option of camping there and doing a pearl dive the next day. I was a little disappointed at not being able to do the pearl dive until I found out that it wasn't some fun little two-hour excursion. They actually make you do a full 12-hour shift with diving in salt water without goggles, or so they said.
Overall, I had a good time but don't know how culturally relevant it was since we missed the start of the meal and didn't even eat the traditional food. We had a good time and the kids enjoed splashing around so that was the important thing. Now that we have our air mattresses, sleeping bags, and tent, we can do more outings. After we get a four wheel drive vehicle of our own we'll have a good way to get out of the hassle of the city and do some cheap outings with the kids.