Saudi Grad Party

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I was lucky enough to get invited to a local Saudi girls' college grad party.  My friend is a teacher at the college here and she asked me to be her guest.  I was stoked...not everyone gets invited to Saudi get togethers.

Now, in case you're not up to par yet on Saudi parties...let me fill you in a bit:
Men and women do not mix.  Period.  Even at wedding receptions.  Women have their party and men have theirs.  No man will ever see these ladies uncovered...aside from their immediate family (fathers, brothers, sons, husbands)  You are also not allowed to take any photos of the ladies (unless you have permission and usually you don't.)  You'll see them taking photos of each other, but, well, they are all Saudi...me, not so much.    
Parties are a big deal here (you know, cause there is just so much to do) and most of the time they go all out.
I walked in to the room of the party and saw beautiful decorations.  Her theme was Tiffany's and she even had a three tired cake styled like Tiffany's boxes.  Pretty lights hung from the ceiling and light drapery along the walls.  But the highlight was seeing the ladies.

Now, these women walk around all day covered head to toe in flowing black cloth...perhaps, you'll glimpse their eyes.  So, when they have the chance to shed the black...well, they want to look their best...even if it is just for other women.  These girls had on a variety of fancy dresses of all different styles.  The 80's fashion scene seemed a pretty popular choice, including the haircuts.  I was told that high heels are something a bit new here (at least in Yanbu) and the girls did look a little wobbly on 3 and 4 inch platforms!  Hair and makeup were done to perfection.  (and consistently throughout the night hair and makeup were checked for said perfection.) 
A bonus of spending the majority of your life covered is that you end up with the most beautiful skin.  Most of the ladies had skin many women will shell out big bucks to achieve..and even then, they can't get close to the Saudi ladies.  (so, yeah, I was totally envious)

The invitation said to arrive around 9pm.  We thought we were late....getting there nearer to 9:30.  At 11pm ladies were still trickling in to the party.  There were chocolates on the table, some sweet-fruity drinks, and Arabian coffee.  The best part was watching the girls dancing.  (okay, yes, I got up too..but just for one song...dancing...not my thing)  It's nothing like you would see in the States.  Nothing like it...at...all.  I think the style of dancing seen in most clubs in the States would be considered extremely lewd here (and possibly banned).  These girls dance with a beautiful grace (okay, not all of them were perfect dancers, but the majority certainly were) It's similar to belly dancing, but softer...hips moving, little dips, arms and hands moving along with their bodies...all to Arabic music.  It was really fun to watch.  They did play a couple of American dance songs, but the rest were Middle Eastern.  At one point, the graduate left and came back making a grand entrance wearing her college robes and took pictures with friends and danced a few songs...proud of her accomplishment in school.

Later, a few of the girls had to leave early.  I know you shouldn't stare, but I couldn't help but watch as these girls (whom I just sat and watched dance and talk with friends) put the black back on.  
There they were in fancy dresses with hair and makeup done so pretty...and then...they were gone.  All I saw before me were eyes peering out under a mass of billowy black fabric.  So surreal.  

Around 12:30am I was pretty pooped.  (yeah, I know...old fart and all)  However, they hadn't even brought out the food yet!  Saudi's could hang in Vegas with no problem at all (of course, they never would, but that's not the point) There was a nice buffet of food laid out and I know that after dinner, there would be more dancing.  Parties usually go into the wee hours of the morning.  Maybe I'll stick around the next time.  ;)

They told me it was okay to snap a few pix of the decorations...just had my iPhone, but they turned out okay.  :)


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