The Grand Mosque
Wow…..what a great day. Full of every sort of new experience. Well, first of all a huge thank you to the Air Force Chaplain Corps. They do these tours for folks that cannot make the regular tours and it is so generous of them to take their time. That is the one thing that the Air Force is great at…supporting their Chaplains who are always and incredible oasis at these bases. They are essential to the community and I thank the Air Force for not thinking them non-essential.
So, as we headed off base, I had heard lots of talk about the crazy drivers. With the exception of a crazy man tailgating at 120KPH 3 inches off our bumper, the driving was quite similar to LA driving with no defined lanes in the road. As we went along the road, all the houses looked like strand houses in Manhattan Beach but no beach. All of them appeared to be no less than 3 stories and about 5000-6000 square feet. I guess for many natives they have a floor for each wife.
As we arrived the Grand Mosque, in the center of town, we had to put on the Abaya and Hijab prior to entering. The picture above is Mia and I in our dress. They showed us an outer courtyard and then took us into the inside room. It was grand indeed.
It was comprised of marble, tile and a lot of 18k gold the floor seats 175 across and 58 deep. When the mosque is full inside and out, it can hold about 80,000 people. It was facinating to learn that the dome you see in most mosques is practical not ornamental. If you stand at the front in the alcove and talk out to the crowd, the dome carries the voice so all can hear.
After the mosque tour, the chaplain made a lunch reservation for us at the Raddison and we had the most wonderful meal. Fruit that was ripe, meat that was tender, cheese (I have not seen cheese since Greece) and deserts that I had to sample.
Then believe it or not, they had a pirate ship!! It has never sailed but designed as a meeting facility. Below is a picture of me on the boat. It was an interesting day.