This weekend was fun because I got to get away from my ultra- conservative city here in Buraidah, and head to the capital city of Riyadh. It’s still conservative, but not so conservative that I can’t ditch the niqab and head to Buffalo Wild Wings with my friends. It’s kind of like replicating the American experience, except with more Arabs and no cheese curds. Shout-out to my amazingly sweet fiance for surprising me by taking me to BWW to make me less homesick, and shout-out to his sister for eating wings in a niqab.
It was pretty late when we got home, so we chatted with his family for a bit and went to sleep. We made some plans of what we wanted to do the next day, and I slept like I was dead. (Special thanks to Abeer for letting me take over your sleeping quarters.)
The next morning I went to the masjid with my fiance and one of his sisters. It was bigger and nicer than the last masjid we went to, and there weren’t armed security. There was a lady guard that did check our bag and ask us to remove our niqab for security reasons, though.
After the prayer we were sitting in the masjid when a lady approached my future sister-in-law and they had a conversation in Arabic. I don’t speak Arabic, but I know enough to know what they were discussing. They were discussing me. When the lady said the word “Zawj” I knew exactly what was coming- a marriage proposal. She tried to marry me to someone by asking my almost sister-in-law. The humor in this situation, though….
So we headed home and had a traditional Arab lunch with TOO MUCH DELICIOUS FOOD. Because, you know, Saudis their food seriously.
We decided to head out after Isha prayer to go shopping for wedding rings. In a traditional Islamic manner, my fiance and I have never been alone. One of his sisters is so sweet and offered to accompany us as we went to the city, and I’m sure it didn’t help that she had to buy some things. When you can’t drive yourself places you often take any opportunity you can to go places.
We started our evening by heading to a traditional souk (like a market), but after driving around for 15 minutes and not finding parking, we went to a museum. Considering Saudi Arabia is a pretty wealthy country I was expecting them to have better museums. It really sucked. It has been around for years but it felt like it was unfinished, and there wasn’t a lot to see.
After wasting about 10 minutes there, we headed out. As we were walking back to the car, it happened. The Motawa saw the most offensive thing that they can fathom… a white and a black walking together. And that’s when it happened, that’s when they stopped us…
Tune in for part two to find out what happened…