Friday, May 16, 2014

How to get free perfume in Saudi Arabia

Buffet Al Khobar Kingdom of Saudi Arabia blog

Last week my mom's friend was invited to a cultural night and I tagged along. It was hosted by Saudi women at a family compound downtown.
The aim of the event was to introduce expatriate women living in Al-Khobar and Dhahran to Saudi culture. The young women involved in hosting were very hospitable and polite. You could tell that they were really making an effort to be welcoming, shaking our hands and asking how we were. They even gave us special bags to put our abayas in! As a TCK who grew up in a large compound, I stopped having Saudi friends once they switched to Saudi schools after kindergarten, so it was really great to meet and talk to Saudi women my age. They were dressed in traditional dresses that they would wear during Eid. The program featured a woman singing a song, another reciting a verse from the Qur'an, and a cultural quiz, (that I won... which is not really something that I should be proud of after living here all my life but ANYWAYS).

Perfume Makkah Blend Kingdom of Saudi Arabia Dhahran blog
My prize for winning! I usually don't like Saudi perfume as it's super strong, but this one is very light.

The program also featured a guest speaker, booths with artwork and clothing, and of course, lots and lots of food.

Al Lugaimat Dessert Al Khobar Kingdom of Saudi Arabia blog
A woman was frying Al Lugaimat, sweet dough balls.
At the end of the evening, everyone got a goody bag. Inside there were books about Islam, a small vial of oud, and two scarves that acted as wrapping paper! How thoughtful and sweet. These ladies knew how to pack a loot bag!

Books scarves Saudi Arabia Dhahran blog
And now my room smells like perfume!
I also had a very interesting conversation with the guest speaker, about which I'll compile my thoughts on soon if I ever choose to make this blog "political." But for now I'm just going to take a long hard look at my strategy for gift giving.

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