As I said in my last post, last night Jo was invited to an Emirati bridal shower. She recounts the experience below.
I had my first 'real housewives of Arabia' experience last night when I was invited to go to an emirate bridal shower at one of the houses on our compound. I was pretty nervous about the whole thing although there were a few other girls that I knew were also going. I found out later that the Quran requires you to be kind and friendly to the 7 neighbours to your right which is why I got an invite. I guess if everyone abides by this rule the world is covered.
The party was ladies only so the ladies arrived in their abayas, which they quickly removed once inside to reveal some very flamboyant numbers. We were all feeling a bit underdressed at this stage. I would have loved to have taken some photos but it would be a big no no. The family maids brought round lovely chocolates and mango juice while we all sat in rows the the lounge rather like you would in a church.
We went around and introduced ourself and shook everyone's hands but it's very difficult to know how you should really greet someone here. The other ladies were greeting each other with several kisses to the right cheek. To us there didn't seem to be any particular formulae as to how many kisses were administered but nobody appeared to get it wrong so all the girls obviously knew what they were doing.
Each time the bride appeared there was much whooping and hollering. She was dressed in a beautiful turquoise and gold dress and was amazingly young, slim and glamorous. She then sat whilst various people (including myself) were dragged up to dance for her. Not my finest hour. I'm not the best dancer anyway unless it's post brunch roof top table dancing, where I seem to come into my own!!!!
Finally, just before 11pm (way past my bedtime) we had some beautiful food. I can't imagine how Emiratis function when they stay up so late. Especially given that the first call for prayer is loud and early, so even if you don't go you will probably still be woke at 5am. I wish I had that kind of stamina.
Most of the ladies downstairs were of the older generation but after our food the bride and her sisters insisted that we go upstairs. The bride and her husband have the top floor of the groom's mother's house. It had been beautifully refurbished to accommodate them. We were there with her and her three sisters who are all from Fujairah. It was lovely to chat to them as they were very keen to answer all our questions regarding various cultural issues. All very interesting.
By this time it was close to midnight all us westerners needed our beds. They seemed quite horrified that we were leaving sooo early!