Al Khobar, Saudi Arabia / Doha, Qatar

  • Date
  • 25 November 2000
  • Lodging
  • Sofitel Doha
  • Distance
  • 514 KM
  • Total
  • 110518 KM

In our hotel, non-Muslims may consume alcoholic beverages, but beer, wine or spirits cannot be delivered to the room to accompany food and alcohol is not sold in any of the restaurants. Booze is only sold in the smoky, dark bar, where food is not served and scantily clad, young women ‘entertain’ singing out-of-date tunes to a packed audience of middle-aged men and a lone woman besides me.

More contradictions: Waitresses, although not Muslim, in the hotel restaurant wear short skirts above their knees and the women singing in the bar sport extremely tight, short skirts, tiny tops and ultra-high heeled shoes. Muslim women are to be concealed and are not to attract attention or flatter themselves according to Sharia. Yet many wear heavy makeup, massive amounts of shiny 22-karat gold jewelry and sometimes even tight, trendy clothes under their abaya. When not in public, many Muslim women dispose of their abayas and look just like the much criticized and tainted women of the West. How long will these contradictions coexist?