Changes in Saudi Arabia

When I visited Saudi Arabia in October 2017, I was astonished by the abayas the Saudi women were wearing. They were stylish, colourful, rose-shaded, gold-patterned, with bell sleeves. I even saw one with green polka-dots in the shops. This was in stark contrast to my previous visits to the Kingdom, when all the women wore traditional black abayas. I also bought a new one (with bell sleeves).

The Saudi social environment is also being relaxed:

The very first time I set foot in the Kingdom, I was awestruck by the mysterious and exotic culture, people and land. I now feel nostalgic for the old times: I bought 24K gold jewelry in the ancient souqs; I outfitted our Saudi home with traditional coffee pots, Bedouin necklaces and sabers, colourful stones from the Empty Quarter, even a totally intact Camel Skull from the Empty Quarter.

For me, those were the best of times.

On the other hand, I do love modern Riyadh with its high fashion shops, and gourmet restaurants. And I really wish I had bought that green polka-dot abaya…

Helen Ziegler

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