Often times when you tell people you’re going to Abu Dhabi they respond with amusement but also assume that they would have to cover up, wear a black robe, or at least cover their hair.
The reality, however, is quite the contrary. There are more foreigners here than local Emirates. And there are more Indians here than probably any other ethnic group- just call it Abu Delhi.
With such a diverse population and a haven for European and American sun-worshipping expats, imposed hijab and Islamic attire requirements are unreasonable–if not out right impossible–with this heat.
Today, I threw on my abaya and black scarf out of sheer convenience. Even in 100 degree heat, it is still more comfortable than many other clothing options, and I plan to wear it for most of this month. TQ doubts that I’ll wear an abaya for weeks straight. He knows how much I love colors, jeans, dresses, fashion in general. But the abaya has its benefits. While he takes 5 minutes tops to get dress, I can now take about 15 minutes instead of 55. It’s certainly nice to pray in when I’m out and about because it’s long enough to cover my toes, and it covers everyyyyything!
Wearing abaya, or a black robe to most people, may seem drab, restricting, if not outright oppressive. But that’s the thing about Abu Dhabi. You can never assume anything. Women here don their all-black garments, yes. But they also pair them with 6 inch stilettos, designer bags, a Broadway-caliber display of makeup, and freshly blown-out hair standing tall and big above their makeshift head scarves.
The materialism is real. The fashion here is real. The abaya-swag is real.