Because strutting around half-naked is considered rather inappropriate in the camp, I must lie down flat to sunbathe – and it takes only a boring passage of Thomas Mann (the nationalist positivist and the Romantic Jesuit communist are having some pretty stupid arguments) to put me to sleep.
On the beach of the nearest city, however, I can forget going hijab (which suggests men cover everything from nipples to knees, inclusive) and jog, swim and sleep in my shorts.
The girls in bikinis are – invariably – surrounded by men staring at their breasts.
Sometimes the men chat at them, sometimes they find some activity to occupy them nearby – paddling, throwing themselves into the waves with oppressive bravado – whilst staring at the beasts.
“Losing yourself” in an infinite nothing is really not so far from being entirely consumed by your own experience, which is a wonderful thing, but entirely egotistic – unless you believe there really is a spiritual infinite to gobble you up.
For the first time in years I’ve deigned to use sun block.
These thighs have, thankfully, become less painful since a few days ago, when I fell asleep on the roof.
Inside, shrines and raised flooring prevent the eye from reaching the farthest walls.
Outside, courtyard views are often confused by fountains for ablutions and, here, both by two domed structures – one a former treasury, the other once a clock store – and two columns holding lanterns.
I’ve seen girls – really girls, not women – literally paraded by fathers and brothers, up and down the beach.
The followers don’t have to follow, and probably would be too embarrassed to do so, but they’re free to ogle.
Now they’re trampling across sand, led by one of my flatmates, with (inexplicably) the pretty girls in tow.