Speaking of cool cars… I’m standing by a Lamborghini in my abaya, and this is one of the coolest… Altho yours is very cool…this is one of those unobtainable cool cars that I just love! In the meantime, now that I’m back in the states, for the summer, and on holiday from Saudi Arabia, I’m gonna be driving a classic white Vet, and Miatta.
So, when did I start to show a real interest in quality cars? When I could not drive one! I had to use professional drivers, or taxi’s to get around Saudi Arabia, which is not a problem as long as you:
1. Know where you are going – after two years in Saudi, I know where I am going better than the drivers do.2. Speak basic /directional Arabic – I do, after two years, yes, I do.3. Can negotiate a price – yes, I can.
I got around Riyadh, mah’fee moshkill’ah, by paid transportation, while wearing the black Abaya, which is required by law. You can be arrested if you are not wearing one. The scarf is optional, and is only required for those who are Muslim, but, many people wear it to reduce the amount of times the Religious police stop you and ask why aren’t you wearing your scarf?
The face covering?
Again, optional, but, many women wear it to reduce the staring – I mean staring – by hundreds, and thousands of men, who do not see the faces of women in any place, except tv – ads, newspapers, etc., do not publish the faces of women, and they cannot approach, or speak to you, unless they are family, or have business with you. I did not wear it because I am asthmatic, and the Quran says that if something is unhealthy, or harmful to you, do not do it.
Sooo, I did not do it.
Should you read the Quran?
Yes, you should, because Saudi law is based on the Quran, and it is important to know the difference between:
So, that you know your rights, and can respect the people, their culture, and avoid problems with the law, which is easy to trip into, if you are from the west, and have no idea that one small thing at home, is a big thing in Saudi.
Are Abayas ugly?
No, they are not!
I am wearing a beautiful silk Abaya with white silk trim. It is cool, light, and elegant. I have several that are equally beautiful, and are well made. The women of Saudi Arabia are beautiful, elegant, and wear their Abaya with pride, along with a sense of fashion.
Do not be fooled into thinking that just because there is a law enforcing wearing it, that the Abaya is ugly, and that Saudi women hate wearing them.
Oh, contrare, they love their Abaya, and wear them as part of their religion, and national pride, so, tread carefully, if you think you are expressing sympathy about their “having to wear it.” You may find that you just insulted them – big time.
I took home 4 beautiful Abayas, that I would, and will gladly wear, as an elegant evening over coat. I brought home my scarves, and my face coverings, that I will keep, and treasure for life.
Because as difficult as it is to live, and work in Saudi Arabia, for so many reasons cultural, religious, and such — it is a land of beautiful people, and a beautiful culture, so, if you choose to set your culture, and ways of doing things aside for just a minute – and listen to the lovely voices of the people – who are kind, welcoming, and amazing – you might just find something wonderful in the land, and the people of Saudi Arabia.
Remember, if someone came to your country, and began judging, insulting, and demanding that they change your way of life, you’d be up in arms and would angrily ask, or say, “why are you here…? Why don’t you just go back home?” So, what do you think they think – when you are speaking about them, their culture, food, and way of life?
What one should always do when visiting another land, or people, is to respect them, their ways, try to listen, be open to new ideas — that does not change you – just listen, and respect their ways – in other words, be a good guest, and life is wonderful because we are all living in harmony.
But, that aside, I’m still gonna drive my cars, and love doing it because I’m back in the “USA…where you don’t know how lucky you are boys…” ~ The Beatles, USSR
Belinda, American ex pat, TEFL Certified ESL Instructor, Animal Advocate & Artist for Rescue Animals is home for summer vacation