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Photographer's Note

I returned from Iran for just three days in Warsaw and went for a trip to Dubai and Oman. Then after 12 days, the group returned to Poland and I left alone in Dubai. The next day I had the flight to Jeddah in Saudi Arabia. I was very excited and curious about how it would be. I had very few information, no guide book, no relations from other tourists. They opened the country for tourists just at the end of September.

At the airport in Jeddah they look at my passport a long time, from all sides. Maybe they have never see a Polish one. There was no bus to the city, I had to take taxi. I had the hotel reserved as usual by Booking.com. My advice - have the confirmation printed in the local language, then you give it to the driver. Quite often it is difficult to recognize even when you are there because the name is different.
I chose the good hotel, well situated on the beautiful avenue leading to the Corniche. Corniche is the name of the sea promenade in Arab countries. Just there is the highest fountain in the world - the fountain jets water to a maximum height 312 m above the Red Sea.

I left my backpack and I went to the promenade. What I saw there astonished me: the whole area was full of people waiting for the sunset. The families had chairs, blankets or even carpets and picnicked on the grass or stood along the barrier. It seemed that all women wore black abayas and niqabs. I was the only woman wearing different dress. At first, I felt a bit uneasy. But the people seeing me smiled, wave hands, so soon it was OK.

The abaya is a simple, loose over-garment, essentially a robe-like dress, worn by some women in parts of the Muslim world including in North Africa and the Arabian Peninsula. Traditional abayat are black and may be either a large square of fabric draped from the shoulders or head or a long kaftan. The abaya covers the whole body except the head, feet, and hands. It can be worn with the niqāb, a face veil covering all but the eyes. Some women also wear long black gloves, so their hands are covered as well.
The rationale for the abaya is often attributed to the Quranic quote, "O Prophet, tell your wives and daughters, and the believing women, to cover themselves with a loose garment. They will thus be recognised and no harm will come to them". In Saudi Arabia, women are required to cover in public. Although, in March 2018, the Crown Prince Mohammad bin Salman claimed that women could choose what to wear in public, provided it met certain standards, when he stated, "The decision is entirely left for women to decide what type of decent and respectful attire she chooses to wear".

I considered buying the black abaya but finally, I didn't - I wouldn't feel well in it. HAha, I was given two abayas from the Dubai women. I will wear it at home when the guests will come to see my pictures.




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The fountain



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Additional Photos by Malgorzata Kopczynska (emka) Gold Star Critiquer/Gold Star Workshop Editor/Gold Note Writer [C: 11807 W: 126 N: 30015] (140814)
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