|Tom Relth Artist||
|Tom Relth Artist||
A day at the mosque
mosque in mind
We were trying to be good hosts when Katharine came to visit. And, so we tried to show her the sights. Meaning shopping for weekly groceries, and the other normal stuff that takes you into town and of course without pointing out anything special one gets a pretty quick understanding that this is not Kansas anymore.
But, other than the beach, the school and a few good restaurants, there is one tourist site that cannot be missed, (except when one has no guests and would prefer to just avoid it). Yes, it is the second largest mosque in the entire world. (I am told there are several world's second largest mosques)
It is located about 20 km (12 miles) up the coast, still in the greater metro area. So, we went along the beach road and got a lunch and jumped back into the van to run up to the mosque. The parking is on the street, and we quickly exited to avoid the hassle of some guys trying to convince me that the van should be washed. Of course it always needs to be washed.
The day before this, we found that Katharine's camera wasn't working well but she wanted to take some photos of the mosque. We all got out of the van and walked the nearly 1 km hike, up to the closest face of the mosque, when we realized that I had forgotten my camera in the van, and by now her's has completely taken a turn for the worse.
Since I was the guy-host , I agreed to go back to the van to get the camera and risk the car-wash sales-pitch once again.
Now, here it is important to say that I am a "guy" and I neither read directions nor ask for directions. So, I was surprised when I found myself inside the tourist both, asking for a map. The tourist resource man has no maps nor at that time any other useful handouts, so we just started talking. The young man is multilingual and so, due to the fact that I am still fairly single-lingual, I noticed that he was reading an English novel. So, began a conversation that has lead to a very fun, educational and spiritual conversation. My new friend "Hal" is very educated, literate and knowledgeable Muslim. We have now enjoyed many a coffee, meal and several engaging conversations.
Hal asked me to recommend a few books, and after several emails, and visits he is on the third book of the Chronicles of Narnia after my suggestion. Hal has found more allegory, more spiritual, historical and biblical reference then I knew about. So I asked Hal to be the teacher. It is turning into a fine relationship. I need to call him again tomorrow. ~ TR