This morning at 5AM sharp I found out the fact that there’s a mosque close to my hotel the hard way. When somebody started to sing to a (very loud) loudspeaker this early in the morning in Estonia, I probably would not have to call the police. They would be there in some 5-10 minutes anyway. Here I did not even think about calling the police. The singing lasted (with small pauses) for almost an hour and then it stopped. When I asked from my new friends about it, they confirmed that this morning prayer is indeed a daily event. Something I just have to get used to, I think.:)
Locals pray 5 times a day. Yesterday I did not turn much attention but today I noticed that every once in a while somebody left to a nearby room and then returned couple of minutes later. The first prayer is, you guessed it, 5 AM, after which they continue sleeping. The rest of the prayers are divided for the whole day and you are given the time frames to do them.
The people I’ve met so far are very friendly. In the coffee pauses people approach me, everybody is interested about Estonia and what I’m doing here. My new friend Ahmad insisted that he drove me back to my hotel after the end of both days. Today when I was walking to the Oasis500 office, one of the participants (I had not talked with yet) stopped his car and asked me to step in. I had heard about the friendliness and hospitality of the middle-easterners before, but now is the first time for me to experience it myself.
The start-up people here speak very good english with little or no accent. In fact I first thought that the instructors are americans; they’re not, although some of them have worked in companies such as Yahoo!. Lot of them are really well travelled, studied or worked abroad for example in the US or Dubai. One common denominator for the startups here is that they see MENA (Middle-East + North-Africa) as their starting market, not their local country. This is ambitious enough – this area has hundreds of millions inhabitants. The planned businesses are all dual-language: arabe and english.
Yesterday on my run I noticed a place called Lulu Pharmacy. I will pay Lulu a visit today and hope that she has some good earplugs available. Considering how close her shop is to the mosque – she probably does.:)