By Maliha Masood
Whilst twenty-eight-year-old Maliha Masood, a burned-out dot-commer from Seattle, acquired a one-way price ticket to event and rejuvenation, she stumbled on it within the very unlikely of locations: the center East.With an infectious love of event, a zany humorousness, and critical questions about her Islamic religion, Pakistani-born Masood starts off an unforgettable trip. She camps within the Sahara with a Bedouin "desert fox," is wrong for a undercover agent in Turkey, takes a lesson in attractiveness from a Kurdish kin, and falls in love with a poet. She studies souks and mosques, open-air undies bazaars and nightclubs grooving to hip-hop. In a sector linked to terrorist havens, Masood meets usual Muslim women and men navigating the politics of tradition, faith, and identity.Zaatar Days, Henna Nights bargains a street-savvy tackle the modern Arab international that is seldom visible at the night information. this can be a tale of discovery and religion, of creating bonds and breaking stereotypes, and of discovering oneself the place one least expects to.
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Extra resources for Zaatar Days, Henna Nights: Adventures, Dreams, and Destinations Across the Middle East
They led some of my girlfriends back home to believe that a veiled Muslim woman could not possibly know how to dance like a seductress. But I would have wagered that even five-year-old Egyptian girls were endowed with the gift of fluid hip undulations, as if music and dance flowed in their blood. The call of the maghrib prayers at sunset signaled the breaking of the fast and the end of our dance program. We broke up into two separate groups because the living room was too tiny to accommodate us all.
He was the first person I saw every morning on my way to the Arabic language institute. Ghuma looked at me with a mixture of curious -41- apprehension and amusement as I dashed down the stairs and shot out the building. He smiled and continued sweeping the courtyard with his tattered yellow broom. Sometimes, I would run into him in the neighborhood produce market that provided an opportunity to practice my Arabic, often doubling as free street theater to passersby. On these occasions, Ghuma refused to let me shop by myself.
It was only my third week of class at the language institute, but the alphabetical drills and fill-in-the-blank sessions at the blackboard were turning into a giant waste of time. They were not helping me speak Arabic on the streets. It wasn’t a major hindrance, since most of my friends and acquaintances in Cairo were well versed in English. But I knew they were disappointed that I couldn’t hold a proper conversation in their native language. I had managed to grasp bits and pieces of vocabulary and verbs to string together simple sentences, mostly by watching TV or listening to the radio.
Zaatar Days, Henna Nights: Adventures, Dreams, and Destinations Across the Middle East by Maliha Masood