24 March 2014

A Finishing Touch

2009.

Our first trip to visit the Gulf.

On a break from our life and work in North Africa, we flew to Dubai, then puddle jumped to Bahrain. Returned to Dubai, rented a car and road tripped to Oman. It was incredible. My boy H was just a babe and he was such an easy traveler.

The Gulf 085

In Bahrain we wanted to be tourists and visit this mosque.

Yes, they let you do that, just like anyone can tour Notre Dame in Paris and Westminster Abbey in London.

Well kind of like that.

Like that except that there are certain hours.

And a dress code.

A dress code for women, specifically.

Certainly I was dressed modestly as we traveled in these parts of the Muslim world. But women in a mosque must be completely covered.

So how it works is you enter a side door of the mosque to the little visitor center. Mike and H waited in a small area while I was taken behind a fabric screen by a young woman. A long black hijab was chosen off a hanging rack and she helped me slip it over my clothing. My shoes were removed. Next a long tarha (head scarf) was selected and she carefully wrapped it around my head. She tucked strands of hair carefully behind the fabric, adjusted it under my chin and smoothed it down the side.

We stood eye to eye and she looked carefully at my face to inspect her work. She seemed mostly satisfied, even pleased that maybe she thought I looked better all covered up. I liked her. But then with no hesitation, she then licked both of her thumbs and slicked my eyebrows down flat.

That was my finishing touch.

Ha! I laugh about it to this day.

The Gulf 082

The Gulf 083

Beautiful, eh?

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