Once Upon A Time
Once upon a time................LOL
When I first arrived in the Middle East, I became good friends with a Sheika. She taught me a lot about the custom and the tradition of her people and her country
After the end of Ramadhan, she explained to me the tradition of the last 20 years or so of opening the palaces to the public for a feast to celebrate it.
My newly found friend decided that I should experience this tradition on the first day of Eid. I was excited and dressed up wearing my finest to go to my first *official* outing minus my husband. It was a ladies day out
The Sheika explained to me the protocol. The palaces are opened to the public. A feast of rice, roasted lamb, mezza spread, sweets and desserts will be placed in the dining hall for the guests.
Before the *feast* they will all be seated in the huge living room and greeted by the members of the royal family who will then be seated on one side of the room for questions and answers. Then the first batch of guests will be led to the dining hall.
It was an open house so there were waves and waves of crowd coming in to greet the family with well wishes etc.
I arrived with my friend early to the first palace on our list. She explained to me who was who. When the palace was built and which member of the family was there etc.
I saw many cars and vans lined up in the driveway with guests eagerly waiting to have a look in the palace
I was stunned and appalled when I was there to find most of the expatriates coming in pair of shorts and sandals on that day. It was a public holiday though
I was led into the hall where I sat quietly while I watched my friend's facial ex
She then led me to the dining room. It was magnificent. Maybe a bit too gilded for me but it was beautiful. There were rows and rows of richly covered tables of food.
I turned around to look at my friend enquiringly thereafter. She knew what I was thinking.
She sighed and she said to me that they use to serve their guests with fine crockery and cutlery. But over the years, many of the cutlery had gone missing. So they now use paperplates and plastic spoons for the occasion.
I was speechless
I stayed on for a while to chat with the older Sheika and her family. She sat in her abaya and burqa with piercing eyes that I thought could kill (oops LOL). When I asked her a question, I was stunned. She spoke in a received English accent. The English governess was there too and smiled at me, knowingly. She told me that the Older Sheika was able to speak in 4 languages
After a wonderful discussion, I had to continue my visit to other palaces. I bumped into a group of sandal and short wearers when I went into my car.
They were laughing loudly and criticising the whole decor.
I approached them and said *You are very lucky to have the opportunity to visit a palace ground while you are in this country. Please refrain from expressing your views here. Take them home. I would also like to ask you a question. Would you dress like this if you were going to meet your Queen or your President? Have some respect at least*.
Every year since then, when I visited the palaces, it was like rerun
I dont expect anyone to wear a suit and tie or a ball gown. At least your Sunday best.
Sad. Very sad.