Eating Auditory Casserole for Ramadhan

It is the middle of the night and I am hungry. The sounds of ocean waves crashing closer fill my right ear. A strange medley of bugs and lizards screaming away at the stars occupy my left ear. The bugs and lizards sound like chain saws with broken carburetors, an auditory casserole of sorts that is giving my ears indigestion. I am glad that something has indigestion because my belly has barely eaten all day. I had to push Pandemic The Magic bicycle up a switch back mountainous road today which is a rare occurrence. My belly was hungry and was all out of fuel to tackle the mountains. This morning in the hotel all they had ready was coffee or cobe which is sugar with coffee grounds floating in the bottom. I left early figuring I would stop for breakfast at the first place I saw. Food opportunities are usually plentiful and every other house seems to have fashioned their porch into a little shop. I peddled for 7 hours on empty in search of a greatly needed nutritious breakfast. All the usual food stalls and little shops were closed. The people in the villages were dressed in beautiful Muslim attire. All white robes decorated with hand embroidered trimmings and white head dresses. It took me 7 hours (110 km/75 miles) of starvation to realize that the month long Muslim holiday of Ramadham had began.

Ramadhan: It is the Islamic month of fasting, in which participating Muslims refrain from eating, drinking and sexual activities from dawn until sunset. Fasting is intended to teach Muslims about patience, humility and spirituality and is a time for Muslims to fast for the sake of God (Allah) and to offer more prayer than usual. During Ramadan, Muslims ask forgiveness for past sins, pray for guidance and help in refraining from everyday evils, and try to purify themselves through self-restraint and good deeds.

More about Ramadhan is available here

I now lie here in my tent hungry wide awake smiling at my timing of when to cycle here listening to the chain saw chorus of tropical forest critters and approaching ocean waves. My body feels like I have been bathing in orange juice, Tropicana brand, the pulp from the juice well that would be all the mosquito and spider bites that litter my orange juice sticky body. The ocean bath I just took seems to just increase my stickiness. The humidity in the air is at about 110% and I do believe the chainsaw chorus is calling for rain.

Despite heavy night rains I am dedicated and motivated to sleep in my tent because a few nights ago in a hotel I watched The Rat Rockets show. A half dozen rats of various sizes performing a dance show up and down the walls. The largest rat dancer I swear was my childhood cat Morris reincarnated, big and furry with a little bit of charm, charming for a rat that is. My sweaty head is tucked under a blue camp sheet inside my warm green tent as I type this in an attempt to not attract any attention. Regardless of my efforts my tent now looks like a blue green light bulb speckling the tropical ocean side. My arm is a bit sore for today I waved at hundreds of people most of which were yelling hi mister as I peddled by too preoccupied by hunger to do much more then toss a lame wave.

Tomorrow 55 km from here I will arrive a little bit thinner in Gorontolo, the provincial capital. Christians form a substantial minority at 17% of the population of Selawesi,Indonesia. Here’s to hoping that at least one of them owns a grocery store so I can stock up, peddling for a month while fasting sounds like a great way to emerge at the bottom of this Island an Indonesian skeleton that converted to the Muslim religion and barely survived the first right of passage the month long fast called Ramadham. Unfortunately fasting and cycling don’t go very well together because normally I am very open to experiencing new cultures. But this time I will have to take a pass. And in the end, a pass is a whole lot better then a pass out which is what will happen if I don’t find some food soon. Said with the up most of respect, so far Ramadham is making me very hungry.

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

Hi Loretta,

I wish you well in your journey!! What a wonderful writer you are! Back in my college days, I lived for a summer with a man from Pakistan...during Ramadhan. I remember fasting from sunrise to soon as the sun would kiss the horizon, he'd prepare all manner of delicious curried feasts...maybe a family will invite you to share a meal with them...Good luck!

Skalatitude..."When humans and nature are living in harmony there is magic and beauty everywhere"
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