I have had 4 beers in the last week. That is more than any given week when I lived Bocas, where beer is the local sacrament. Don’t tell anyone, I do not have my personal liquor license yet!
The first two were at the Sharjah Wanderers Club. This is a very old club in Sharjah, which I have mentioned before is dry. The club was started by Brits and is still mainly British. It is in fact a throwback to colonial times. I met a woman there who has been a member for over 20 years. The bartender (Philippino) knew her order before she sat down. We talked for a while about living here and I entertained her with stories about Panama. I had two pints of Fosters, from the tap, nice and cold, and about $5 a glass.
Then last night we went to a fancy hotel for dinner and Mary Ann’s end-of-the-week mini celebration. Remember, the work week here is Sunday through Thursday. I had a couple more beers, and Mary Ann had a couple more than that. She deserves it. Prices there were a lot higher. The clientele was mostly Russians.
Now, Moslems are not allowed in the Wanderers club, because their grandfathered-in liquor license prevents it. But at the table next to us in the hotel there were two Emirate gentlemen enjoying cold ones. I looked for bolts of lightning or chariots from the sky, but nothing.
As you know, Mary Ann is an active Catholic. She calls herself a “chinese menu” catholic in that she feels free to pick and choose which of the conventions of her faith she observes. Church on Sunday is one she is very observant of. Today is Palm Friday, ahhh, that would be Palm Sunday in the Christian world, but here the Holy day is Friday, so we went to church together. She has taken me to church in at least five different countries, and I have gotten used to the Mass. It is the same everywhere, in whatever language. But today, Palm Friday, errr,Sunday,errr whatever, was the service of “The Passion”. I know it as the part of the bible that Jesus Christ Superstar is based on. It means more to Mary Ann.
So there we are, in a Moslem country and in a Catholic Church. The “Ruler” here in Sharjah gave a large tract of land for Christian sects to build churches so people could worship in their own way. (I did not notice any Southern Baptists or Methodists, I guess everything has a limit) The mass in the this church is done in English, and many other languages, even once a week in Arabic. The English mass as far as I can tell, is for the Indians. Mary Ann and I were the only white folk out of a thousand souls. I felt like an NBA star, being at least a foot taller than anyone else in the whole place.
Tomorrow we are going to a mosque, as tourists. There is only one in the UAE that gives tours to the heathen, and we are going to go see it.