Thursday, July 17, 2008


This is a colorful country.
Buildings are painted. Signs shout in bright shades.
A rainbow of sparkled and colored cloth walk the streets.

Then there are the people. The multi-cultural swarm of beings flood down every walkway.

Everywhere you look there are Saris and Burkes. Tank tops and long sleeves. Mini-skirts and turbans.
A weird mix of cultures.

The hole in the knee of my jeans seemed to draw a surprising amount of attention considering the wide range of fashions. Everyone’s eyes seemed to land on my knee. (Forget the chick in the mini skirt walking next to me, check out that knee!)

And here I was worried about the Hebrew symbol around my neck.

Interestingly, I did see some things that dispelled a few stereotypes.

I had no idea how much variance went into burkes. In my mind I only imagined long stretches of black material. I saw no design. No beauty.
But, though I would personally never wear one, they are actually quite pretty. Sequin littered the headscarves. Lace edged the bottoms. They sparkled. There were a ton of different styles and designs.

I saw a woman and whom I presumed was her husband. In my mind I saw her carrying the bags and toting the children.
In reality, he pushed the stroller. He carried the purchases. And as I followed them for a block or two he even carried her purse. Through all that fabric I saw who wore the pants.
As a side note, she was even the hard-core type that had not only her entire body covered but also a sheer sheet of black fabric covering her entire face.

As a side note. There is nothing funnier than a woman in a full burka walking on the beach.

I am sitting beach side at the hotels restaurant. Not too far away is an Arab couple. The woman is wearing a full burka. The type with only the eye slits. There is a possibility that they are going to come in for dinner. I hope they come.
I really do.
I am curious as to how a person eats with their whole face covered. Do you adjust the scarf and tuck the food up under it?
Do you lift the scarf completely?
What if it’s soup?

Or something with the potential of slurping, like spaghetti?


I have my answer. I woman is not 3 tales from me wearing the eye slit only head scarf of fun.

One arm is holding the fork. The other lifts the scarf from her face just high enough to tuck the fork under.

It looks simple enough, yet still a pain in the ass. I wonder how she eats corn on the cob…

When I worked with Muslim students in the Twin Cities (mostly Somali, but some others), I was always wowed by how the girls were able to make their hijabs or headscarves fashionable. Sometimes I was downright jealous! There's a certain art to making something so simple look good.
You must vow to buy at least one beautiful sari as a memoir of your trip. Even if you dont wear it, it makes a dang fine table cloth! ( Not that you would ever have an occasion where you would need decorative table linen because we all know you don't cook... even if you teach cooking)
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