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Posts tagged “Abaya

Luxury Shopping


I love this shot! Every once in a while the shot is good and the story is second place. Isn’t this a great graphical image. Night shot! This was near to impossible before digital. Now it’s easy. High fashion shoes and abayas don’t seem to be congruent. What does one wear out? And what goes with an abaya? Folks mostly wear sneakers or sandals. Sandals are great because it’s so damn hot. Sneakers are hot.

Oh! Another aside. “Oud or agarwood is one of the most popular scents on the market today. Oud is said to be the most expensive wood in the world; oud oil’s value is estimated to be 1.5 times the value of gold, and it is sometimes referred to as ‘liquid gold’.” My nurse told me about this scent. Everyone smells to high heaven. What with the “built in sauna” wearing an abaya, you do need a lot of scent.

High fashion shoes under an abaya? Pearls before swine? Sorry. No pork here. But you get my drift? Which reminds me… one of our nurses was stopped from entering with marzipan. She had brought it in and it contains like .001% alcohol! The Saudi customs officer stopped her triumphantly! She refused to give up her stuff. She argued and cried. Her husband left her. He was standing next to her with a block of Serrano ham in his bag…

So? What shoes do you wear under an abaya? Anything you like I’d guess. Incongruent? It’s not like you are solving a geometry theorem.

Jules Visits


Of all the things we never imagined, Jules visiting Jeddah would be right up there on the list. But she really does love her dad. I posted a nice lead picture. Women hate humor in their photographs. (Just wait.)


She came for a visit. You have to wear an abaya. I borrowed one. She wore it. It’s like your own personal steam bath. She even wore the scarf although that is pretty optional for non Muslims. Sort of… No Jules did not go over the top with heat stroke. She wanted to see camels. And we thought there were some on the other side. Dopey? Yup, I guess the heat did get to her. She let me take this awful pic. One looks very interesting out of context wearing a dive mask on dry land. It’s not awful. It’s just not flattering. Right? She teaches Little kids. Sharing? Nope.

This was a raspberry macaroon. She ate the whole thing and never offered me a taste. That’s revenge! She’s still my favorite daughter.

Women’s Sizes


_DSC3356The last time my daughter (“J”) visited I had borrowed an abaya and she wore this in keeping with local (mandatory) custom. This time around she did not want to wander Riyadh the airport waiting in transit without proper attire. So I tried to order a garment online. Amazon, sorry, they had basically one company that had the majority of offerings that couldn’t be delivered in time. It seems that they are made to order.

Ah! Ebay! Yay!

I found one size small or maybe “S.” It’s all about the “S.”

Ordered, paid – Paypal, done, shipped. The delay was shipping just before Xmas. An email later and the seller revealed she worked for UPS and that there could be no slip ups. I was just a bit worried when tracking the package I saw it was held up for two days in NYC. Arrived – too small!! It came down to J’s knees, too short, made for a child… child’s small?

I put out inquires among my nursing colleagues. My clinic nurse, Jen, graciously volunteered to loan J an abaya and promised it would fit J’s 5’4” frame. Ha, what do I know she’s 5’6”. She got two inches taller when I wasn’t looking. Don’t laugh, I remember her birthday, I just didn’t notice she got taller.

David arrived before J and we toured the Balad (old city). Aha! An abaya store, how convenient. I was determined to have an abaya for J when she arrived. I looked through the racks of black garments. I asked for a small. I told the shopkeeper J was 5’4’. He handed me a garment. We looked at the label it was XL, too large. I picked out an ‘S’ and asked David to try it for size. He flatly refused. Darn! Well holding it up, it did look the right size.

When J arrived two days later, she tried it on. It was too tight in the sleeves and was also too short. Too short! Double darn! Thankfully one of Jen’s loaners was right enough.IMG_2875

A few days later J consented to try an abaya for size in another shop in Al Balad. And finally the mystery was solved! ‘S’ is for short. And ‘XL’ is for extra long. Women in Saudi Arabia are shorter than J. And XL turns out to be the right length. Extra long! Yes, it fits. We bargained for a better price. Yay! But… he didn’t have an XL in the style J wanted. No problem… the shopkeeper ran across to another vendor and showed up with an XL a minute later. Done!

It finally fits. And on the way home through Riyadh, J will look appropriately dressed._DSC4239

Did I mention that I also bought J a wetsuit online in her stated dress size. The thing didn’t come up over her ankles, it was too small. No more buying women’s clothes, I have been duly informed and will comply.



They said, ‘Ah, Lana! She’s Sudanese and all dressed in color!’ Ok, I plead ignorance to the statement. She’s been driving me crazy because we have scheduling problems in the office. At this point they are all afraid of me so anything they need is requested through my assistant Khalid. But tonight, it was all smiles and friendliness. Maybe there’s a thaw in relations. How you get around without the black abaya, maybe she wore the black and could walk around inside in all the colors. You surely do look different when you’re not in black.