Monday, November 19, 2007

En Route to Houston

The journey has begun! The 24 nationals will meet in Houston for an intensive two-day training which will acclimate us to the customs, norms, and traditions of KSA. Of course, I am obsessed with the clothes! Our instructions so far have been to dress in business casual attire, but this has a whole new meaning in KSA:

Full length skirts
Long sleeved blouses
Dark colors

Shirts or blouses that expose skin below collarbone
Showing bare ankles
Wearing immodest clothing

As educators, we want our students to be open-minded, not ethnocentric. We teach them to understand, or at least seek to understand. My students have asked me if I am scared or nervous about traveling to the Middle East. In fact, I am more anxious than anything; I am eager to meet new people, experience a new culture, and learn new ideas. Wearing different clothing is a reminder that the whole world does not dress like Americans. Each country has its own rules and ideas of what is appropriate and inappropriate. Who is to say that our rules are better than anyone else’s?

We will be wearing abayas every time we are in public. The generous Saudi Aramco Services Co. will fit us for one upon landing in Dhahran, and it will be ready that same evening.

We will be exchanging gifts with many of our hosts and being from Los Angeles, I though it fitting to bring items related to Hollywood and the movie industry. I’m a little concerned about passing through customs and hope that all my gifts will be able to go through. Also, Saudi Arabians are some of the wealthiest people in the world; they are the number one oil producing country in the world. What do you give to those who have it all?

Finally, I made sure I didn’t pack restricted items that will cause you to be denied entry into KSA:

Religious jewelry
Religious icons

And BTW, the penalty for bringing drugs into the Kingdom is DEATH.



  1. Hi Ms.Infante it's me Aracely from 8th Grade 3rd period, I hope u r having a good time on ur trip with the other teachers... I wanna see some pictures...

  2. I am having a GREAT time but also learning. Did you know learning could be fun?