Monday, April 14, 2008

Confused on What to Wear?

So, I booked a trip to Saudi Arabia for the fall and we have to leave from Dubai as a group to get into Saudi as the country is so hard to get into. They included in my package a little on UAE and thought this summed things up nicely:

"Please note that you will be travelling through a predominantly Islamic country and so will need to dress conservatively throughout. We strongly suggest that you wear full length trousers/skirts and that your shoulders are always covered. Women should bring a headscarf for possible mosque visits.

While on tour you will likely see other foreign tourists wearing shorts, but we strongly suggest that you wear full lenght trousers/skirts and that your shoulders are always covered. Philosophically, "Adventures Abroad" prefers to be sensitive to local social conventions. The local population will respond more positively and welcome you more heartily if your appearance corresponds with local mores."

Having said that - capris or skirts/sundresses below the knee are not too bad. Also, note that this is just 'out and about'.

Just for context and a hoot – here is what it says about Saudi Arabia:

“Saudi Arabia is probably the most conservative country to which one can travel, and a strict code of conduct is enforced. Passengers not complying with Saudi conventions of dress and behaviour will be refused entry even if their passports/visas are in order.

Upon arrival to Saudi Arabia, women should be conservatively dressed with a headscarf and ‘sealed’ shoes (no toes showing). Once at our hotel in Riyadh, our agents will provide each female traveller with an ‘abaya’, a full-body covering that all women in Saudi Arabia are required by law to wear. Headscarves should be worn as a gesture of respect to the local population. You do not need to cover your face as Saudi women do. Exposing bare arms and legs, however, is always against the rules. Shorts and short-sleeved tops are always unacceptable.

Sandals are not acceptable for men and love sleeve shirts and trousers must be worn and ankles cannot be exposed.

Video cameras may cause delays and problems upon entry. Video cameras generally attract the attention of police and may be confiscated.

Do not expect your cellular phones to work while in Saudi Arabia. Many internet sites are blocked and do not expect WIFI in hotels or elsewhere.

Do not bring inappropriate literature, especially Western magazines with ‘decadent’ images, ie fashion magazines with revealing photos or indecent behaviour and/or interactions between men and women. Novels with provocative subject matter may also cause problems.

DO NOT even think about brining alcohol into Saudi Arabia. If caught you will be imprisoned.

A visa will be refused if your passport contains evidence of travel to Israel. This is not confined to just an Israeli stamp in your passport. You will be refulsed a Saudi via if there is and Egyptian entry or exit stamp from the Egyptian/Israeli border or a Jordanian/Israeli border in your passport.

When completing the visa application forms, do not complicate matters unneccessarily by stating that you are, or ever were, a journalist, politcian, militay officer, or any profession that sounds controversial as it can lenghten the process and jeopardize the application process. It is better to simply incate something less controversial such as nurse, teacher, or retired. We regret that passengers with 'Jewish-sounding' surnames will likely be refused, even if they indicate a different religion on their application”

WOW….can’t wait. Note that many internet sites in UAE are also blocked…including sites like FLICKER for photo uploading (at least when I was there last year).

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