Sunday, August 13, 2006

Funeral Wail -- 24 hours and counting

For the last 24 hours we've been listening to an on-going wail. It's kind of off and on and because it's been going on for so long we kind of tend to block it out. All of a sudden we'll hear it again and think, "Wow, it's way too early for the 'Call to prayer.'" At first we thought that maybe it was a political campaign of sorts but there wasn't anything in the news about that. Then we thought that maybe the Call to Prayer times really had changed (rather dramatically) but after checking the schedule we found that it had not. So, after hearing it again this evening we went out onto our balcony to record it. As we were doing so we noticed quite a few fancy cars parking and then people walking toward some unknown location.

A Sample of the Wail

Andrew said, "Do you want to go for a walk?" Normally I'm the one who says this, but since he said it, I jumped on the opportunity. So, we headed out to find out what was going on.

We walked down to the traffic circle and started following people up the street (where cars were double and triple parked!) to an apartment building not far from ours. Everyone was dressed rather nicely and going into the courtyard of this apartment. Since Andrew and I were not-so-nicely dressed and we were uninvited, we decided to just ask the guard what was going on. The conversation went like this:

Andrew (in Arabic): What's happening?
Guard (in English): What?
Andrew (in Arabic): What's happening?
Guard (in English): What?
Andrew (in English): What's happening?
Guard (in broken English): There's man dead.
Andrew (in Arabic): Oh, there's a funeral.
Guard (in Arabic, confused): You speak Arabic?

So, it's a funeral. We kind of walked by the courtyard very slowly to observe what we could. They had carpeted the ground (this is outside, mind you) and there were flowers and stringed Christmas lights arranged very nicely. Everyone was hugging each other (well, the men were hugging the men and the women were hugging the women) but that was about all we could see.

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