Ramadan is now over for another year. I sort of half observed it when I was in Zanzibar. I didn't eat during the daylight hours but found doing without liquids a bit tricky in the heat. My conduct clearly wouldn't satisfy a zealot but I felt I was showing some willing as well as shedding the odd excess pound.
The Holy Month is one of my favourite times to go to Islamic countries. It provides an excellent opportunity to meet with local people in a relaxed and peaceful way. When the fast lifts at sundown everyone sits down to eat together. Food is such a great universal language. The preparations take all day -- all the more lovingly carried out by hungry chefs. As with so many other things outside our crazy western fishbowl, the preparation of food is not a chore, rather a communal activity. It's the chance to chat and put the world to rights. It's due reverence to that most basic of human activties, sustenance. Somehow despite the rise of the TV chef, internet recipes and ubiquotous food porn we could do with a dose of such human sense.