On that note….

OK, I have been here almost one year and while I do love it here and find the people to be mostly interesting, I have some questions. They may be more rants than questions, but hey, who’s keeping track?

First of all, has anyone here ever heard of SEATBELTS and CHILD SEATS/RESTRAINTS?????? It amazes me every day when I see people driving down the road at break neck speeds with their children hanging out the front passenger side window or sitting in mom’s lap or jumping – yes, I said jumping – on the back seat! Oh! My! God! Exactly what part of “that is not a good idea” do these people not understand? Children are supposed to be a precious commodity, yet they are thrown into a 2 ton weapon on wheels with no protection at all! What the hell do these parents think is going to happen to their child if they so much as slam on their breaks? Do they not teach driver’s education here? Do they not show the gory videos of car accidents and decapitated bodies to these people? Inshallah….. Holy crap!

Ok, another driving issue I have is how in the heck do these women drive with their Sheila on? Really, you can’t tell me that is safe. They have their entire face covered except their eyes and this somehow is safe? I want everyone to go out to their car and cover their entire face but their eyes and drive around a deserted parking lot and tell me that you can see clearly. Tell me that you can turn your head and look into your BLIND SPOT and safely change lanes. NO YOU CAN’T!!!!!!! What! The! Fuck!

Now, here is one that all we expat women talk about but never have enough courage to ask….. Are you ready? Here it is….. What do you do with the drips?
What do you do?
You obviously have no idea what I am talking about, do you?
Think about it…. The spray nozzles in the toilet….. What do you do with the drips????
The reason I ask, is because I heard (doesn’t mean it is true) that several cultures think that toilet paper is unsanitary. So if you don’t use toilet paper……What? Do? You? Do? With? The? Drips?

How about this one… Why exactly do you cover your entire face? I have learned that many other Muslim Nations do not do this. I have learned that in other places it is done because it was forced upon the culture as a whole. What is it here? I don’t feel like we are living in a repressive culture, so please, someone explain to me why these beautiful women are covering their faces. Please?

Oh, and can someone please explain to me how to do that black eye liner thingy you ladies do so beautifully?

Dude! I am so full of questions tonight! Tell me, is it a bad thing for me, a tall, pale, red headed American to wear an Arabic style cotton house dress (a very nice one) out to the mall? It is almost exactly what a lot of the ladies are wearing under their Abayas, but it seemed like everyone was staring at me. I had the same feeling when I wore my Abaya to the store too. Is there something wrong with that? I wore it because I had been cleaning the house all day and was wearing sweat pants that were too tight and didn’t feel like changing so I threw on my Abaya and a scarf over my head and went to the grocery. I swear every woman in that store looked me up and down and stared arrows into me. What is up with that? Then again, a lot of women stare at me here. It is kind of funny because everyone told me the men would really stare and I find that the men here stare just the same as the men in the USA. It is the women that make me uncomfortable. The women stare at me and look me up and down more than any man ever has! I always wonder why, but have never had the nerve to ask one of them. HHHMMM……

OK, I think that is it for today. I will probably have all sorts of nasty comments waiting for me when I get home from holiday. Hey! As my friend says, if I didn’t have drama in my life, I wouldn’t have a life….

Lovin’ life!
~JAM

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2 thoughts on “On that note….

  1. I can’t speak for “the drips,” as such, but this does bring back memories of my school years. When Operation Desert Storm was going on, our school had one of its mothers – who’d apparently spent some time in the Mid-East (Saudi Arabia, I think, though I won’t swear to it) – go around to all the classes to talk to us students about the culture and whatnot. Not much of what she said still remains in my memory, but I do recall her discussion of the left hand as the “unclean” hand and her following assertion that in the Middle East they didn’t use toilet paper. Needless to say, this really captured the imaginations of a roomful of fifth graders.Of course, I can’t really speak to the accuracy of this, but it is what she told us.

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  2. Alia says:

    ok the answers1- You live in Alain which is more traditional ,conservative than the other progressive open emirates ie. Dubai ,Sharjah where the local emirati people are more open ,exposed, educated hence you find that they do not have much driver`s education if any at all but as a whole the whole region in general lacks it to some extent.2-Actually the sheila is just the head scarf , you probably mean the burqa ( face cover excluding eyes)Again that burqa is a traditional custom not Islamic ,strict conservative women from different clans and tribes prefer to cover their faces from non family men not obligated though unless the family is too conservative (alain population),but i guess they are used to it or have no choice as removing the burqa just for driving sake = not drivingat all , it must be difficult to drive and the heavily tinted glass in many cases obstruct visibility especially at night beside being unsafe. Driving with with the front glass totally shaded or a thin black chiffon (part of sheila) cloth covering the face have been sighted but is illegal or the tint being more than 30%, guess they flaunt the law and certain laws are not enforced taking into account the traditions of certain sectors of society after all it`s their women.3-The drip /spray nozzles, i take it you mean little hose by the toilet , well in the middleastern culture you `ve got to wash with water after using the restroom then wipe with a tissue , wiping alone is unclean ,hence the nozzle comes in handy.4-No Islam does not oblige a women to cover the entire face , it`s just a traditional cultural habit of more conservative women who comes from different tribes and clans with different outlooks and interpretations and prefer not to have strange men or non family men see their faces or invade their privacy ,identity ..privacy is very much the norm ,you can see it in the huge walls around houses throughout the middle east unlike the states . Some girls despite being modern ,educated ,working still prefer to pull the thin scarf partly over their faces in malls or who knows they could be getting up to no good and dont want to be identified.5-Eyes have great significance in middle eastern culture ,big black eyes(black hair too) ,notable in Arabic history,poetry and literature ,try the arabic kohl (in beatiful small jars)from the souks and it takes practice to master that art because the ladies here have been applying it an early age.6-It is ok to wear the jalabiya (long cotton dress) they come in various designs and different embroidery suited for home, mall..etc. The women staring at you in an innocent way are probably amazed at a western woman wearing arabic clothes or abaya to cover up ,maybe thinking you could be moslem esp. in Alain where people are still traditional tribes not too exposed to outsiders.To malls usually a simple Jalabiya is more suited , fancy once attract attention if you`re not covered with an abaya.

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