Tuesday, August 24, 2004

Resting spots

Mosques are everywhere in Egypt and most of the Middle East. With devout muslims praying at a mosque, if possible, five times a day, having one nearby is convenient. But mosques aren't places that have people administering them and supervising activities. People build them more as a place of rest and sanctuary from the racket of everyday life, and you find them all over. The mosque in the photo is unfinished but in use nevertheless and it is out in the countryside away from the village.

When I used to visit here with small children in the 80's, sometimes we would rest on the rugs in a quiet mosque so that they could take a break from the hustle of the city. This use of the building as a resting place is one of the kind aspects of the mosque. They function as community centers with classes to teach the farm children who may not be registered in school to read. This is the place to see your neighbours, visit, whatever.

The Classique trail, by the way, is one of our favourite riding trails near my house, named after an erstwhile restaurant called the Classique. The restaurant didn't do very good business, whether due to the cooking or the lack of parking on a one lane country road, I don't know. It's now basically closed having been busted by the local authorities a number of times for nefarious evening activities involving the fairer sex. And you probably thought that country dwellers were law abiding. Hah!

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