As some of you may or may not know, the blessed month of Ramadan should be starting in the coming days which means our free time (hopefully) will be engrossed in praying, fasting, and fellowship. So, before the summer is completely over, here are some highlights from our travels this summer. Not only were we eager to see our families after nine months spent in Oman but we were accompanying Lil’ Z on a monumental tour- visiting three great grandmothers and four different countries! Alot to pack in for one summer leave, but thanks to the generous Sultanate of Oman, we had a fun, family-filled, seven-week adventure!
First stop on the Raggamuslim Fun Wagon- New York City!
We visited the American Museum of Natural History. It is HUGE and FOREVER PACKED with people, so if you plan on visiting, get in early and pack your walking shoes!
Where do two and a half veteran vegans and a newly vegan brother go for a dreamy, creamy, cruelty-free delight? STOGO! They serve soy, coconut, and hemp milk based ice creams, raw desserts and vegan baked goods (all in bio-degradable/compostable containers!). We made a simple ice cream run into a full destination exploration! We were helpfully served by a lovely clerk who helped us navigate the many savory selections with unlimited samples and alcohol content warnings (thanks, sis!). She also served us complimentary filtered water, hot tea, extra vegan treats, and an abundance of warm smiles. And, to not leave out Lil’ Z, she enjoyed a post-treat nursing session while at STOGO! She was STOGO stoked!
After New York City, we headed to “da yaad” a.k.a. Jamaica!
For Friday congregation prayers, we headed to the newly renovated Islamic Center on Camp Road. It’s always great to meet other Caribbean Muslims! We even saw brothers and sisters that we met when we last visited back in 2005!
While in Kingston, we visited Liberty Hall and once the rain held up, we made it to the country! After about two hours ride from Kingston, winding up and down the hills and valleys, we visited Coyaba Gardens near Ocho Rios. At Coyaba, you can walk the grounds, climb waterfalls, host events at their pavillion, and visit a modest Jamaican heritage museum. After our trip to Coyaba, it was time for Lil’ Z’s first beach trip at Turtle Towers Beach. A modest fee was required to enter the beach but the facilites were very well-maintained and very clean!
We then returned to New York City for a few days before heading to Mauritania, by way of Dakar, with my Mom. Both trips require their own posts but we’ll just briefly say that the highlight of Dakar was visiting Goiree Island, a former slave port and island. A must-see for anyone traveling throughout the region!
We entered Mauritania the adventurous way…by road! A rented car for the 6-hour journey to the border, lots of haggling along the way, a gondola across the Senegalese River, more haggling, and we eventually arrived, in the middle of the night, to Nouakchott. Why Mauritania? Visiting more family, of course! As my dad says, our family is scattered like the twelve tribes of Israel. 😉
After a few more days to NYC, we headed southward- the vacation after the vacation! We took a break from air travel and spent a leisurely three weeks between Florida and Georgia. More yummy family time, domino games, and good homecooking! Before we knew it, seven weeks had passed and we were returning “home”. No time is enough time when we visit our beloveds and unless they visit us (open invitation!), we won’t be heading westward again until next summer. Despite missing them terribly, there was something very comforting about returning to a place called “home”- “our home. It was the first time in three years that our travels eastward returned us to the same location and not an entirely new one to discover. Our cozy apartment was just as we left- simple, serene, and safe. Alhamdulillah! With so much instability and insecurity all over the world- politically, socially, spiritually, environmentally, and otherwise- Oman is really a breath of fresh air- a HOT breath fresh of air, these days, but very breathable nonetheless! 😉
Until next time…Raamadan Mubarak (Blessed Ramadan)!