What to Wear to the Middle East Part II

Julie,

My husband, Tyler, and I had an amazing trip to the Middle East.  We travelled to Doha, Qatar to visit our dear friends who live there, then on to Jordan, and finally to Dubai and Abu Dhabi in the United Arab Emirates.  We loved this part of the world and feel so lucky to have had an opportunity to visit.

Doha Skyline

Before I left, I wrote about what I packed for the trip, using the helpful information provided by our Doha friends.  I mainly brought pants and long-sleeved shirts, plus a couple of maxi skirts, in order to be as covered as possible while wandering through the Arab world.  I wanted to follow up on that post and tell you what I actually wore while strolling in the footsteps of Sheiks, Moses and, of course, camels.

Petra, Jordan

First of all, it’s COLD in the desert in the wintertime!  Doha experienced a cold snap while we were there, it got down into the 40s at night.  It was snowing in the upper elevations when we landed in Amman,  Jordan.   I’d checked the weather before we left, so I had packed cashmere sweaters and scarves, to layer on and off throughout the day.

Bedouin Children in Petra

The cooler weather meant that I mainly wore pants and sweaters.  Even when the temperatures rose, I didn’t put on my short-sleeved tops.

We each wore our shorts only one time, and that’s when we went “dune bashing” out in the Qatari desert with our friends and most of the time was spent in our 4-wheel drive vehicle, hanging on for dear life while we soared over huge sand dunes – FUN!

On top of a Qatari Sand Dune

I asked Tyler if he thought he might have worn shorts more often if it had been hotter, and he replied, “No.  It just seemed so out of place when you saw the rare person walking around in shorts.  They really stood out.”

Keep in mind that we were not travelling in a group.  It was just the two of us roaming through the mountains of Jordan, or stalking the Dubai souks.  Perhaps if we were surrounded by other westerners wearing more casual clothing, we might have dressed differently, but I doubt it.  We wanted to show our respect for Arabic customs, and Islam prescribes modest dress in public places for both men and women, which involves covering the legs, arms and head for men. Women do the same, but also cover their hair and neck.

The Grand Mosque, Abu Dhabi

Next time, I’ll tell you about the traditional Qatari and Emirati dress, especially for women.

Ann

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