Standing Out in Saudi Arabia

Starbucks in Saudi Arabia. On the left with the chairs is the men's section. On the right behind the wood panel is the "family" section where women can go. During prayer everyone was asked to leave and the doors were locked.

“You live in Bah-rain,” the Saudi woman whispered Bahrain as if it were a dream, or Disneyland.  “You take my sons,” she declared.  “You take them Bahrain.  Learn English like you.”

I apologized to her saying I had three of my own children to care for and assured her that her husband was a wonderful father and provider for her family.  But this was not the first time a Saudi woman engaged me.

Because I don’t cover my hair, I stand out in Saudi Arabia.  Often when I sat alone, women veiled from head to toe in black approached me.  Sometimes we talked and sometimes they pulled out their phones and took a picture of us together.

To many Gulf citizens, Bahrain continues to maintain its 2300BC reputation.  The Sumerians wrote about Dilmun the ancient name of Bahrain.

“Blessed in Sumer…blessed is the land of Dilmun..

When he settled there, the first at Dilmun, the place where Enki settled with his wife,

this place (became) pure, this place is radiant.”

Although now Bahrain is connected to Saudi Arabia by a 16-mile bridge for many Saudi women Bahrain is still only a legend.

“At Dilmun, no crow cawed

The lion did not kill,

The wolf did not carry off the lamb…

No one with pain in their head said “My head hurts!”

No old woman said “I’m old!”,

“No old man said, “I’m old!”…..

People from every corner of the planet consider Bahrain to be an island paradise where they can dress, live and pray however they want.

In Bahrain, Mojo and I along with 700 other people similarly dressed attended the Think Pink Charity Fundraiser. Women's breast health was highlighted, donations were made and men and women danced together.

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