Arabian Nights and Arabian Days, Part 2

Home is Where the Horse Is

The horse is God’s gift to mankind.  ~Arabian Proverb

The ubiquitous black abaya is one of the first purchases any female expat makes in the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia, and it quickly became my most hated possession.  A long black cloak that covers from neck to foot, the abaya is stiflingly hot in temperatures that often exceed 115 degrees.  The abaya is designed to preserve a woman’s modesty when out in public and is mandatory attire in Riyadh,  the heartland of Saudi Arabia’s religiously conservative Najd Province.  It is unthinkable to see an uncovered woman out in public.

So shortly after arriving in Saudi Arabia, I was shocked to see one of Riyadh’s main newspapers run a front page feature on a female rider jumping a horse. The newspaper celebrated the girl’s bronze medal win for Saudi Arabia at the Youth Olympic Games. After I got over my shock of…

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