GAZA CITY - As the dark approaches declaring the end of a lengthy hot Ramadan day, Palestinian families prepare for their daily pilgrimage to the beach to break their fast and smooth the burdens of a scorching summer heat and a daily electricity outage.
"Since the beginning of Ramadan, I and my family have been breaking the fast on the beach of Gaza instead of staying at home amid a hot and humid weather and without electricity," Allaa Hmeid, a Gaza resident, told Xinhua news agency.
"Having breakfast on the beach better than having it at home in the light of candles," his wife Fatima added.
The 1.6 million Gazans lose their electricity for up to 8 hours a day during the fasting month of Ramadan.
Gaza's precarious energy supply is bad at the best of times, with a rickety infrastructure system badly degraded during a deadly Israeli onslaught in 2008.
Israel's bombardment of Gaza's power plant destroyed six transformers and at present, only one transformer is operating at a much-reduced capacity.
The situation has been made worse as Ramadan, which started on August 1, came in the summer long hot days.
Amid prevailing unemployment and poverty, the beach was the only low-cost option for many Gazans.
"Going to the beach, spread out a blanket, put our foods and drinks and set on the ground and eat our Ramadan breakfast won't cost us any money," Abu Mohamed Jadallah, 68, said.
He noted that the beach of Gaza was the cheapest place to eat at.
"We eat, drink, pray, spend a great time with the family and then when the electric current comes back, we go home to sleep."
Ramadan is the ninth and holiest month of the Islamic calendar.
Muslims in Ramadan, except for the sick and those traveling, refrain from eating, drinking, smoking and sexual intercourse from dawn to dusk.
Fasting is meant to teach Muslims patience, self-control and spirituality, and time during the holy month is dedicated for getting closer to Allah though prayers, reading the Noble Qur'an and good deeds.
Since 2006, power outage has become a major problem for the poor and the rich in the entrapped coastal enclave.
The problem is with electricity, which knows no rich or poor, Radi Khalaf, an employee from Gaza, said.
However, rich people can have generators, but poor people can use candles or go to the beach."
Israel has clamped a severe blockade on Gaza since Hamas was voted to power in Gaza in 2006 and the capture of an Israeli soldier by Hamas in a cross-border raid.
The siege was further tightened after Hamas assumed full control of the strip in 2007.
The crippling siege has badly worsened livelihood in the impoverished seaside strip.
The situation further deteriorated after Israel launched a three-week deadly offensive in late 2008, killing more than 1,400 people and injured thousands and left the strip in tatters.
The siege leaves most of Gazans cut off from the outside world and struggling with desperate poverty.
Yet, in the current circumstances, no immediate solution was on the horizon.
"It is really a disease that has no remedy," Sahar, a 20-year-old girl from Gaza describes the shortage of electricity in Gaza."Gaza had turned into hell during the days and nights."