I’m Lovin’ It
The other day my roommate and I were in a grocery store.
“Should I run next door and get us something at Dunkin’ Donuts before prayer time?,” I asked her. Yes!
I walked in to the donut shop and saw only men sitting. I looked across at the clerk, saying and motioning, is it okay for me here?
Yes, he replied in gesture and English. You’re welcome, he seemed to say.
I ordered two coffees and two donuts. I picked up the coffees, one in each hand, and grabbed the bag with my spare fingers. That’s when we both thought of the next issue. No, he said, and gestured, you can’t sit here.
Women can not sit in restaurants unless there is a Families Section.
So, on another day, I went to the McDonald’s across the street.
I’m not a big McDonald’s fan, but it’s one of the few places outside of a mall that we can sit and eat. There is a separate entrance for men and another for families. I walked into the families section entrance and ordered. As I waited for my food, I began to feel uncomfortable. Two men were also waiting in the ordering area. Am I supposed to be standing here alone with men? Am I offended? Are they? Their wives had gone upstairs, and later I saw, the wives watching their kids in the playland.
After I got my food, I headed upstairs. It was a bit tricky to walk up steep stairs carrying a tray, hoping not to trip on your abaya. I had my pick of many booths. I found one, set my food down, pulled the curtain across, and removed my headscarf. I could have taken off my abaya too, but didn’t. I relaxed and enjoyed my McArabia (chicken and pita) sandwich.
Later I stopped in the bathroom. All bathrooms here have sprayers next to the toilet. But this one had a toilet paper, with fully stocked toilet paper roll within reach.
I never expected to say this about McD in Riyadh.
I’m lovin’ it.