Riyadh – to go or not to go?
So, Riyadh. Firstly – it’s one of those words I always have to think twice about when spelling, and it is too, one of the most anticipated destinations that I am sure to visit. Not because of the sites I intend to see nor the hotel I am booked to stay in – but because I am actually quite anxious and vaguely intimidated by this Capital.
Secondly, being a westerner, new to Saudi Arabia, and who is used to the shortest of shorts, sandals and a vest on any given day, I have had to adjust to wearing an abaya when I go shopping or leaving the compound - and I am yet to even wear a hijab in public. Also being a blonde, I feel this latter task will be quite necessary as I want as little attention drawn to me as possible especially when I am walking alone and taking photos (can I even take photos?).
Also during my research into best spots to visit and how to do so, I came across this link which was great but it also had a bit about what the expats call “Chop-Chop Square”… I think you can guess what happens there which I am not inclined to repeat nor comment on and same goes for stories on kidnappings and various news headlines on suicide bombings – and the reckless driving there. I know driving in Dammam and Dubai is bad enough, so this should surely be an eye-opener.
Now, I don’t want to sound like I’m just putting myself through this only for adventures sakes and I understand if I am coming across completely naive… But, I am actually pretty excited about the hotel and always get a thrill of travelling alone anyways - and there are quite a few sites that I am keen to see too! So far, there are three that stand out to me which include the Kingdom Tower and the adjoining Skybridge and Masmak Fort. Therefore, if I can get away with just “being a tourist” in Riyadh then what have I or we single expat ladies in Saudi Arabia been waiting for? This is the Capital of an expansive oil rich and culturally rich land after all. And we all need to explore and grow and share our stories right?
Exactly! So I have booked my flight and my hotel and my abaya and hijab are ready to go! Wish me luck and chat on my return. Inshallah! J