Sunday, February 10, 2013

Wadi Bih 2013

By Cindy

Along with three of our friends, Jeff and I completed a trail run this past weekend. One of our team members put together a great video that's on YouTube.  It's only 4 minutes so check it out.  The race was somewhere between 72 and 75 km, and we climbed about 2000 meters.  It was an out and back so at least we got to go down every hill that we went up!  We were proud of ourselves in that we completed it in under 6 hours - 5:57 to be exact.  We finished 39th out of 184 teams.

While our team had two ultra-marathoners, a young fast guy, Jeff (who can hold his own) and me (who contributed the mandatory XX chromosome), there were 63 people who did the race solo.  The fastest individual time was 5:15!

The route was through the wadis of the Musandam mountains and then up to one of the mountain peaks.  At the peak, you could look one direction to the Arabian Sea (a.k.a. Persian Gulf) and the other direction to see the Gulf of Oman.

It was a fun team event and believe it or not, we were glad we did it.  No promises for next year but we had a great time this year.

A special shout out to Ginger who faithfully reads our blog and requested this blog post.  We love blog requests!!

Thursday, February 7, 2013

Facial Hair - It's not Just for November

As a follow-up to the blog post we just wrote on women's headscarves, I thought I'd also write an article about men's appearance.  

One of the most important things a man can have in the Arab world is facial hair.  While it's not compulsory for men to have a beard and/or mustache, it's generally the preferred look.  This is true for Muslims and for non-Muslims alike.  In the same way that Western men are generally perceived as dignified for having a "clean cut" look, Arab men are perceived as being dignified (and often religious) for wearing a beard.

The following article from the BBC has some great pictures of facial hair worn by leaders in the region - and some nice commentary on what the perceptions are that go with it.

Enjoy the pictures from the article - as well as a recent one of Cindy and I.  I guess I don't look quite a religious as I once did...

Saturday, February 2, 2013

Hijab for a Day

Most of our readers in America probably didn't notice, but yesterday, February 1 was the first annual "World Hijab Day".  For those of you who don't know, the hijab is the headscarf that Muslim women wear.  World Hijab Day was an opportunity for non-Muslim women to try out a headscarf.

The BBC ran a nice article on their website (the link is here), talking to women from New York, from California, and from the UK.

The article is an interesting read - and also features a nice graphic about halfway down the page that explains the differences between the hijab, the burka, and other forms of the headscarf.  Most Westerners use these words interchangeably, but they actually mean quite different things.

Here in the Gulf, women generally wear the "shayla" (not a "burka" or a "hijab").  Here's a picture of Cindy with her mother - not celebrating World Hijab Day - but just trying on the shayla when we visited a the Sheikh Zayed Mosque in Abu Dhabi a year or two ago.

We hope you enjoy the photo and the article (here's the link again).  Happy World Hijab Day.