Wednesday, January 20, 2010

Without an Abaya~

I am the only woman in this entire enormous airport who is not shrouded in black!  I do have on black pants, blouse, coat, but it doesn’t count…it’s not an abaya! (Still, for a guy who likes triangles, this is a pretty happy place!)




Here I am writing this blog, pretending like this is not like “one of these things is not like the other!”

IMG_0653 For some reason there are a lot of guys walking around in towels, obviously with very little under them. There are hairy chests and tummys hanging out everywhere!  What a dichotomy to observe the differences between the rules for women and men! (Josh, I know these pictures are not great quality, but I have to zoom in from a long way so they don’t think I’m invading their privacy, especially without an abaya!) 


I was the very only woman on that entire jam-packed 747 who didn’t have an abaya (long black robe) AND a veil, including most with the berka (the veil with only the eyes or not even the eyes showing.  The black fabric is so thin that they can see out but we can’t see in).  I had fun watching the lady next to me try to lift her veil just far enough to get food in her mouth.  VERY interesting!

I’m sort of wishing for the abaya that Saydi offered me, sent by a friend from the Middle East, which she uses for the their Jerusalem Suppers, but it would be hard to cram into my one little roller bag in which I have clothes for 7 presentations, something different to wear for lunch dates with the same people, exercise clothes and the casual stuff that we’re going to need in India.  We are in Riyadh, waiting for a flight to Jeddah, where dress codes are not quite so conservative so I won’t be quite so “sore thumbish” then. 

Last night we had a fascinating meeting at a beautiful private home with a small group of outstanding parents.The parents’ biggest worry is spoiling their kids.  One dad said that he just couldn’t figure out why his child just didn’t appreciate the things she got. He said that he has her earn all her money and then he takes her to the store to buy things. “We get about 20 toys every time,” he said, “but she just doesn’t appreciate them.”  We suggested the he might be allowing her to earn TOO much money! We told them about Ashton saving so long for his Lego Brainstorm and they were truly impressed!

Our hosts owned an enormous catering company so needless to say that the dinner by the pool after our presentation was fabulous! This is just three of at least a dozen options, plus a whole dessert table for 14 of us!


Middle Eastern salad above and yummy pasta in cream sauce below.



This young woman hugging her little cousin had just finished her schooling and said that she had always dreamed of being able to do humanitarian service service somewhere (we had mentioned that in our presentation). When I told her about Tal and Anita, she was enchanted and said, “I’d give anything to find a guy who would do that with me!”


What a stimulating evening as we learned so much more than we taught!  Great people whose biggest problem with their kids is just too much money!



So here we go to Jeddah, again, without an abaya. There just aren’t many buses from the plane to the terminal that look like this:


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