I had my first experience in a "Ladies Only" room today. In preparation for the big night out (New Years) I made a trip to what is known here as "the Salon". Finding the venue wasn't hard, spotting the enormous sign that said "Ladies Only" was the first hint.
The Salon was busy and fundamentally looked like most other day spas in different parts of the world. The only difference this time was the abundance of Abayas. As the local women effortlessly switch between English and Arabic depending on who they are speaking to I am not only jelous of their bilingual talents I am also suffering from serious Abaya envy. I want one.
When I arrived in Doha a month ago, all of the Abaya's looked pretty much the same, black, long and flowing. Over the past four weeks I have realized that there is so much more to an Abaya than first meets the eye. I now look admiringly at detailed Swarovski crystals, beautiful silk and the different styles and subtle differences in sleeve length, cut and fabric.
Watching a Qatari woman stride down the street or shopping mall is a very majestic thing. They glide. You can't help being struck by the impeccable eye make-up, designer handbags and what look like 10 inch heels. The expression "less is more" couldn't be more applicable when you get a glimpse of a tanned leg and an elegant heel as they glide along. Without too much of a generalization Qatari women have a confidence and touch of glamour that is to be admired. As my gorgeous blonde and bronzed Australian friend said "they make us look very ordinary".
Naturally the little travelers provide a different perspective. As I stood outside the very exclusive and I imagine terribly expensive Abaya store window, the two girls ask what we are doing and why this store? Number 3 who is 6 and a boy says excitedly "I know, I know! Mum's dressing up as Darth Vader!"
Not quite the look I had in mind.