Sunday, March 17, 2013

Learning Something New Every Day

by Cindy

I really do learn something new almost every day which is one of my favorite things about living abroad.  Last week I learned something new and it's still rocking my world a bit.  The story goes something like this...

Last week FaceBook told me a friend had a birthday.  When I saw her on Friday, I asked if she celebrated, which she did, but she also added that in this country she never really knows which day her birthday is.  What?!?!  How does that work?  Apparently sometimes it's on March 11th and sometimes on March 12th.  And not only that, she was born in 1368.  Living in an Arab country, I am familiar with the Islamic calendar.  While I don't know a whole lot, I know enough to know that we are currently in year 1434.  A quick look at my friend, who is probably early-20's, and some quick math told me she wasn't talking about the Hijri calendar.

What I learned is that Iran has it's own calendar.  The Iranian calendar counts the years after Muhammad's emigration to Medina, but it counts the solar years (365 days) and not the lunar years (354 days), which is why it differs from the Islamic/Hijri calendar.
Esfand, the last month of the year.  You can see the Gregorian dates and numbers and then the Arabic numbers representing the Iranian calendar.  The red shows Fridays (Sabbath day) and holidays.

The coming month, Farvardin, which is the 1st month of the year (beginning in the 21st of March) at a very specific time of day (dependent on time zone).  If you have any Iranian friends, be sure to tell them happy new year!

So not only did I learn about the Iranian calendar and how it works, I learned that my friend was born in 1368 so that (kind of) makes her 645 years old - definitely my oldest friend.

Saturday, March 9, 2013

Camel Burgers

by Cindy

Jeff and the camel milk date shake.
Today we set out with some friends for one purpose and one purpose only - to eat camel burgers.  We achieved our objective and washed it all down with a camel date milkshake, actually they brought the shake before the burger so it was more of an appetizer.  The shake was good - it was more like camel milk mixed with date syrup.  It didn't have a thick, ice cream consistency.  It also didn't have the earthy taste that I usually associate with camel milk. All in all, I'd order one again and recommend one to someone else.

As for the burger we had a few choices when ordering - cheese, mushroom and rosemary, spicy (my choice) which was caramelized onions and red pepper flakes, and Jeff chose the house burger- cheese and a fried egg.

The menu cover
As we were driving over to eat, our friends informed us that camel meat is actually a bit of a purpleish color.  Somehow I had missed this information and admittedly it didn't sit really well with me.  I wasn't sure about eating a neon purple burger.  However, when the burger showed up at the table, you would have thought it was beef.  It was served with a side of fries so everything had "the look" you would expect when ordering a burger.  When it came time for the first bite, we all tasted at once...just in case.  The verdict?  It tasted like beef.  We all finished our burgers and fries and enjoyed some Arabic coffee to wash it all down.

As for the recommendation?  If you get a chance to eat camel meat - I'd take it.

Camel meat apparently has numerous health benefits.