What was the most impressive element upon my arrival in Riyadh? No need to say it, it was the temperature. I arrived on Sept. 3, 2015 and had the unpleasant feeling that I could no longer breathe. I had been previously warned by my husband but the stand-alone experience itself was a real shock. Still, this phenomenon is not a unique one and the sensation also appears in other places in the world, doesn’t it?
So what next, perhaps the traffic due to the number of cars, the workers from the Metro and the undisciplined drivers? Again, this cannot be a truly specific characteristic of any country around the world, but what surprised me the most is that drivers here even push their luck further by constantly checking their Facebook while driving; or even worse, watching a movie while driving! Of course, not when they are parked waiting for their passengers, no, only when they conveniently overtake your car from the right side because after all why not?!
I am not one for shopping and chit-chat, so I started meeting various business men and quickly gathered that all of them are highly educated, amazingly experienced and of great open-mindedness. What truly holds the greatest importance for me is meeting different people from all walks of life and allowing me to experience their different brains and characters. Of course that includes expatriates living in Riyadh and locals who I had the pleasure of meeting and just as easily, exceed my expectations.
What an amazing place to live!!
There is, of course, a hidden face to the moon.
Mostly, what disappointed me was that I cannot enjoy all the beautiful clothes I have in my wardrobe. Why? Simply because it would be a joke to dress up while I am staying in my compound, and when I am running my errands I am in my abaya so it is pointless. How ironic for a girl who once upon a time worked for designers many, many years ago!!
The opportunity to dress up arises during coffee mornings; when a bunch of ladies go up and organise coffee mornings to show off their beautiful new dresses or coats, shirts and new pair of jeans, jumpers or sweaters. There is no need here to focus on an attire you could have worn in a previous life. You may nevertheless find yourself wearing long dresses and cocktail gowns that you could have never imagined before. At the Princesses Souk you will find as many dresses as the eye can see. KSA is definitely a country with top-notch market opportunities in terms of fashion designers and apparel.
As you can see; positive attitude is essential and detrimental to finding ways to make out the best of everything.
All I can say is welcome to Riyadh, and don’t be afraid to explore what you have never faced before.
Don’t miss “My Second Impression” of Riyadh in the May WSB Newsletter!