By the time we arrived at the Camel Festival Saturday at 12:30 p.m., the morning contests had ended. Most traditional activities in the Gulf follow this schedule: they begin early and close for the hottest part of the day - between 1 and 4 p.m. - and resume when the weather cools and people come out for the evening.
As we passed the tent above, the ladies inside said hello in Arabic and invited us in to their tent, even M and our boys. Though we'd only been outside a few minutes, the shade of the tent was a welcome respite from the hot sun.
The ladies inside - four sisters and their aunt who I believe were from Qatar -served us Arabic coffee, which is lighter than American coffee and has cardomom, saffron and cloves in it. Next we were given water and then a hot, sweet drink that looked like tea. Soon a man pulled up in a truck and gave the ladies two covered platters of cooked poultry on big beds of rice.
"Come," one of the ladies said, gesturing at the platters. She began pulling the meat off the bones of what I believe was goat and leaving it on the rice for us. She and her sisters began to eat. When I reached for some food with my left hand, she stopped me and pointed at my right hand. I regretted that I'd forgotten that many Arabs consider the left hand unclean and only use their right hand for eating.Though I felt awkward eating with only my weak right hand, even spilling some of the rice on my lap, I noticed our hostesses never dropped a bit of food on their clothes. They were completely covered but for their hands and their striking brown eyes. They lifted their veils just enough to bring the meat and balls of rice they'd formed with their hands to their mouths.