Bye bye, Denali

When we got back from our Denali adventure, we were finished. And by finished, I mean we were completely out of energy. We were hungry and tired. It was 8:30pm and all we wanted to do was eat and sleep. We ate, but when we wanted to sleep, my husband asked about the activity for the next day. I was sure it was a free day to drive back to Anchorage at our own pace. So, I decided to check the itinerary and lo and behold, we did have a scheduled activity for the next day. What?! That’s all I could say. What was worse was that it was an early morning activity which might have been interesting had we not been so tired. We all agreed that we simply wouldn’t go. It was paid for, but we were willing to take a little hit to get some rest. And so we did. And then the next morning we got a call from the front desk reminding us that we had a trip. My husband calmly said, “We canceled it. We all canceled.” We were a party of four and not a single one of us could be bothered. We decided to sleep and then get ready to head back to Anchorage.

Even though we didn’t go on our scheduled river float down the Kantishna River, we most definitely enjoyed the views on our way back to Anchorage.

We saw a moose along the roadside as my dad zipped by. There was no way to stop. But, it wasn’t a problem because I did get shots of one in Denali NP. So, by this point just seeing one was enough.

After 4 hours, we stopped at a Wal-Mart and made our way to the hotel which was the same hotel we stayed in when we first arrived to Anchorage. Funny thing was that my husband and my parents didn’t seem to get that fact. My parents both said, “I’m sorry but I liked the hotel we stayed in when we first arrived.” And it took everyone a minute to realize that it was in fact the same hotel. From that moment forward I had to start watching what everyone was drinking :).

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Women 2 Drive

Sometime back, there was a lot of hoopla about women driving in Saudi Arabia.  Things have quieted down considerably but that doesn’t mean that the debate hasn’t continued.  As a female expat, I’ve been on the fence about the issue ever since I first learned about it.  Let’s get one thing out of the way, the debate no matter what people say, is not a religious one.  It is completely cultural, if we can call it that. There is no verse in the Qur’an and no hadeeth from the sunnah that says that women are not permitted to drive.  If I am wrong, I invite anyone to show me otherwise.

When I first came to Saudi Arabia six years ago, I didn’t care much about not being able to drive even though I’ve been driving since I was 16 years old.  I didn’t know anyone and there weren’t that many places to go here in Yanbu, so I wasn’t in a hurry to drive.  Then there was the arcade game people refer to as “driving.”  A video game is the only other place people can drive like that and get away with it.  For example, you rarely see people use signals.  The no U-Turn sign is apparently a challenge because no one adheres to it.  Red light?  I laugh at your feeble attempts to stop me.  And before the light turns green, people start driving and are so impatient they beep their horns because the cars in front of them are still stopped.  And don’t get me started on the lines on the road.  What are these “things” and why can’t I seem to stay in between them?  So I thought, why would I want to share the road with these people?  A road I must also share with kids that need a step stool to get in the car and sit on a pillow so they can see over the dashboard.  So, for a good while I was in no hurry to drive.

But, let’s think about what they say about women driving.  There are those who say that if women drive, it’ll promote and/or facilitate immorality.  That is one of the silliest things I’ve ever heard.  Do they think that women riding in the car with complete strangers promotes morality?  How can men feel comfortable ultimately handing their women over to strange men?  I am not a child and I actually had a driver propose to me.  What the….?  He had to be fired.  Anyway, the potential for immorality is more likely in these situations than if women were driving themselves.  Twice I’ve gotten in a car with a driver who was also driving others and I saw the same girl, if I can call her that, uncovered and obviously smoking.  If her mother could drive her, would she be so quick to uncover and light up a cigarette?  I think not.  At the end of the day, where there’s a will, there’s a way.  If someone wants to do something, no matter how many restrictions and roadblocks you put up, he/she will find a way to do it.

Considering these things, I started leaning toward wanting to drive while I’m here in KSA.  I got sick of waiting, and I’m still waiting.  Husbands, fathers, brothers, drivers, etc., are in complete control.  We are dependent on them for simple things that don’t require a man.  I always think about being home in the US and not having to ask anyone to take me anywhere, not having to wait to go somewhere.  I get in the car and go.  I don’t want to have to beg to go get groceries.  I don’t want to beg to have someone take me to a friend’s.  And I shouldn’t have to.  I want to drive.  Am I scared of the idea?  Absolutely!  With all the car accidents and some sick men out there, it is frightening.  But how long can this last?  At some point, things have to change.  That’s just life.  I hope to see the day when women can safely drive in Saudi Arabia with confidence.

What do you think?

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