No smoking.

No sex.

No eating.

No drinking anything.

The extra devout don’t even swallow their saliva.

During the month of Ramadan, the entire Kingdom of Saudi Arabia fasts from sunup to sundown. The season is observed around the world in Muslim communities, but nowhere does it affect life so drastically, at least not on this kind of scale.

Most businesses open between 8:00am and 1:00pm, close, and then reopen from 9:00pm and 1:00pm. Some can’t even be bothered with those morning hours. I teach shorter classes and work fewer office hours. Students study less.

At night, the festivities will begin. They’ll cook meals they otherwise wouldn’t. They’ll stay up enjoying each other’s company. My students will play video games all night or just catch up on eating and drinking. By the time the sun comes up, they’ll ready to sleep.

But of course my students won’t. My students will have to come to class. And they’re not going to sleep in my class.

I considered trying to fast along with them, as a Christian. Three hours into it, though, I realized it’s similar to my experience with the call to prayer. Besides, just living here, trying to live my normal life with this, promises to be an experience all its own anyway.