Frequently Asked Questions on Blue Abaya:
“What is the meaning of ‘Blue Abaya’?”
The blue of ‘Blue Abaya’ is a shade apart, merging a spirit of deep inner freedom and an infectiously positive attitude.
The blue abaya is both a symbol and an attitude for Layla’s blog. It’s a posture of being respectful to local traditions while setting oneself apart from the crowd through personal taste.
It’s a symbol of courage to be different and unique, an encouragement to find your own path in life and think “out of the box”.
..blue is the colour of the Finnish sky, and the abaya is a cultural norm of Saudi Arabia. In its name and its nature, the blog is defined by the richly opposed but co-existing worlds of Finland and Saudi Arabia.
Some more reading about the author and the Blue Abaya blog can be found here.
“Is it allowed for me to wear a blue/ colored abaya in Riyadh (or insert any city in KSA) or will the religious police arrest me?”
Yes, you can wear other colors even in Riyadh, as long as they are subtle and dark like plum, dark grey, navy blue, brown, aubergine etc. Jeddah and the EP are much more relaxed when it comes to abaya fashion. Saudi Religious police (more commonly known as muttawa or Hai’a) won’t arrest you with a 99% probability if wearing colored abaya. They might arrest you and throw you in jail for having a shwarma with your colleagues though.
“Why haven’t you replied my email/ message/ comment/ query?”
I received so many emails, comments, messages and queries everyday that replying to them all is very difficult at the moment. As much as I would love to reply each and every one it has unfortunately become impossible to handle. I have two small children at home, (a 2 yr old and a 4 yr old), a handful of cats, and now also a Great Dane puppy, my life is quite hectic most of the time.
Please keep in mind that maintaining this website and all the social media channels that go with it is a full-time job which also comes with a lot of expenses. To try to cover some of those expenses (server fees, domain names, wordpress theme, plugins, SEO services, various security and design software, to name a few) I run a home based business selling souvenirs and gifts from Saudi Arabia. You can support my efforts by checking out my FB store here: Blue Abaya Designs. To purchase the Saudi Gifts online you can check my Zazzle store and Nuvango storefront here. I also design blue and colored abayas made of cotton, silk and linen. If you’d like to have a look go to the FB page and follow my Instagram business page: The Blue Boutique
“Is Blue Abaya a tour/travel company?” “Can you organize a tour of ___ for my clients?” “Can you arrange a trip to Edge of the World ?”
Sorry, but Blue Abaya is NOT a tour or travel company. This is first and foremost a personal blog where I also share valuable information about Saudi Arabia every now and then. You can find travel tips, desert treks, activities, restaurants and events in Riyadh on this blog and on Blue Abaya Facebook page. The guide to Edge of the World can be found here.
“I’m going to relocate to Saudi Arabia soon. Should I get an abaya beforehand?” “What do women wear underneath the abaya?”
You don’t need to buy an abaya before arrival, it’s perfectly fine to dress in loose fitting modest clothing when you arrive in KSA for the first time. You will find so much more selection and better prices for abayas locally. You can wear pretty much anything you want under the abaya, some women wear only bikinis or nothing at all when temperatures reach over 45c (120F)!
What does “Saudi Wasta” mean?
“I’m pregnant and going to have my baby in Riyadh. What’s the best hospital and recommended obgyne? Where can I have a natural delivery/VBAC? Where should I go for check-ups? Can my husband come in the delivery room with me?”
For expats the best private hospitals to check out in Riyadh for the ante-natal check-ups IMHO and from my experience are: Avenue’s Clinic and Saudi British hospital, the latter has a swedish ob gyne. I’ve personally had bad experiences with many different physicians at Kingdom hospital and the maternity/ob gyne clinic there is like a factory line, I would not recommend it to anyone and this is one of the private hospitals with highest C-section rate.
For those wanting natural delivery, best option would be Dallah hospital with midwife there named Eman, I had my son with her you can read about it here. Update: Sister Eman is no longer working in Saudi Arabia.
“How can I join the ‘expat desert walks’ also known as the Hashes?”
Only foreign passport holders are allowed to attend and you should go with someone that’s already a member or regular visitor. Ask around in expat groups and forums, try this one: Susie of Arabia.
“I’m a female, what should I wear when flying to Saudi Arabia for the first time?”
“Do you always wear a Blue Abaya?” “Where did you get that Blue Abaya in the profile pic from, who is the designer?”
Sometimes yes! I have three blue (royal or navy blue) abaya’s, none of them were purchased from Riyadh btw, well at least technically. The first (and my favourite) one I got, was a find at Riyadh’s Wedding Fair back in 2009. It was designed by a Jeddah based, talented Saudi designer. I absolutely LOVE this abaya! If I knew her name, I would gladly share it here but unfortunately the abaya doesn’t have any contact detail in the tabs. The second one is from Jeddah but way too flashy to wear in Riyadh,its hardly in use. Third one I designed myself and had it made from this amazingly soft, stretchy and flowing material in Dubai. This abaya is too fancy for everyday use so I use it only for special occasions, dinners, date with hubby, Eid and so on.
“Are you married to a Saudi prince?”
“Who writes this blog?” “Are you Saudi?” “Are you Muslim?”
Majority of the posts with the exception of guest posts are written by Laura, (pen-name “Layla”) a Finnish medical professional who came to work in Saudi Arabia in 2008.
“Can you help us get the Saudi marriage permission?”
Sorry, but I can’t. You can read about how we got it here and maybe that will help answer some questions.
“Do you have wasta in (insert Saudi ministry or government office here)?”
I wish! If I did, this probably would not have happened like it did!
“Who made the blog banner. logo and the blog design?”
The original banner image (not currently shown) is a watercolor painting by Aafke Brouwer. It depicts an Arabian horse running on the Red Sand dunes of Saudi Arabia. For more of her work please check her website: http://aafke-art.com/. The blog design and graphics were designed by Layla.
“Do you rent quad bikes in Riyadh?”
“Can you arrange a quad bike tour for 390 male Saudi teenage students?”
Absolutely. It will cost 1000 sr per student. Transport not included. (This is an actual question I was asked once)
“I’m not sure what you meant in this post, and I decided to get offended just in case. Why was my comment not published?”
First, please check that the post you have not understood or that has offended you, was not labeled under ‘humor‘ or ‘satire‘. In other words, that post was written tongue-in-cheek, not to be taken seriously, or in a sarcastic style( an example of which you can see in the above reply about the 390 quad bikes). So there’s no need to take offense. If you still feel the need to write an ignorant, hateful, or just overly negative and miserable comment, it won’t be published. This is not the appropriate forum or outlet to make such statements.
“Can you provide me with GPS co-ordinates/ Google maps location to _____?”
Unfortunately we don’t have a GPS. Sometimes I forget to take the pin location with the phone. If I do have them I will share them.
“I’m an Arab/Saudi guy and I want to date/marry a western girl. Can you organize a date for me in Riyadh? “Can you find me an American wife?” “Where and how can I meet western girls in Riyadh?”
Blue Abaya is not a dating site or a matrimonial service. You can find out about the ‘Saudi Style’ Dating Scene in this post, or read about Riyadh’s secret nightlife here for some ideas, however I can’t recommend any of these “methods” nor guarantee they will actually work, let alone find you wife material! Whatever you do, for the love of God, please don’t put up ads like these!
“What is the best restaurant in Riyadh?”
“Where can I go horseback riding/golfing/swimming in Riyadh?”
Please, first use search option on Blue Abaya and if you can’t find the answer try Google. If you’re still looking for the above activities then check here or here. Even possibly here. Or you can join us on this amazing FB group and ask about any activities in Riyadh, Jeddah or EP area!
“I’m searching for images of sexy and flirty Arab or Saudi women dressed in abayas, can I find any here? Where can I meet Saudi women?”
Oh dear. You must be one of these losers. My advice, just take a hike because there are no sexy abaya pics on Blue Abaya! I think if you’re serious enough to really meet a Saudi woman in a respectful manner, you will figure out a way to do so without my help.
“Can we send you this fantastic body lotion or ____ (insert any beauty product) for review?“
Blue Abaya is not a beauty or fashion blog. You can still send your product but I won’t be able to write a full review on the blog about it.
“Send me the map/GPS/details/date/timing to X event/company/expo/location in Riyadh/Saudi Arabia?”
Google is your friend. Please people. I get tons of questions like this and if I were to reply to them all it would literally take me many hours a week. In the future Blue Abaya will be offering Location Consultant services for expatriates in Riyadh, al Khobar and Jeddah. Stay tuned to updates about events and activities in the Kingdom by subscribing to Blue Abaya with the simple form below!