Monday, 3 March 2008

Women of Doha

When I was coming here I was asked several times whether I would be able to drive, would I have to wear a 'mask', was I allowed in public etc. I only knew that it was just fine for me to drive (although having been here in the roundabout traffic I am not that keen to start), and that I didn't have to wear a chador. Although now that I am here I am wishing I did have to wear one- isn't that a trip? The women here of course have a choice, although I assume that some husbands might require their wives to be covered when in public. I am not sure about this until I ask some! However, the black robes they wear here are so beautiful and mysterious and elegant and intriguing that I am seeing another side of this question. It is amazing to look into a beautiful face with no other distractions to the person you are meeting through the eyes and mouth only. In most cases the face is showing, although in the shops you are likely to see the face simply covered over entirely for complete anonymity. Then there is the sparkle of diamantes on the scarf and the sleeve tips, the occasional peep of designer jeans as they walk, the elegant high-heeled shoes peeping from beneath the hem and always the trailing smell of perfume as they pass. I often find myself smiling at these beautiful people, and they always smile back in a kind of sisterhood connection. 
In Doha itself I am finding that there are wonderful places for women only to be. At the gym we have our own private space where no men venture, at the doctor there is a separate lounge for us (if you care to be private), in the hairdresser it is women only and in any cafe you can choose to go into the private section with only women. I am going to take advantage of these calm places. 

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

Fascinating...maybe Women's Lib is alive and well afterall. I have heard that this scenario is similar in other Middle Eastern places and now here is the proof.I am sure you are going to love it all.
Love from Tassie Lynne