Friday, March 15, 2013

An Evening at the Ambassador's Home

A few weeks ago, my husband and I were surprised to receive an invitation from the U.S. Ambassador inviting us to attend a party on March 11 in honor of National Day at his home in Riyadh. Of course we wanted to attend. Who turns down an ambassador?

My husband and I prettied ourselves up for the big night. I think we clean up pretty well, what do you think? (Incidentally, I'm wearing the Evelyn dress from Mikarose. I bought it in January when I was in Utah. I was in the store and it called my name. Really, it said, Tiffany, you must buy this dress because you will look fabulous in it and it is a great dress to wear at nice events.)

This was the first time I've gone out for a really nice event or dinner that I didn't have to wear my abaya over pretty clothes. We drove to the Ambassador's home in the Diplomatic Quarter. The lines were busy getting through security, but I didn't mind. I'd rather be safe than sorry.

We walked into the courtyard of the Quincy House and saw three beautiful American sports cars gleaming in all their prettiness. I'm very partial to red mustangs. Once we stepped inside we followed a line of people through a hallway lined with beautiful photographs showing some lovely places in the United States like Glacier National Park in Montana, a field of flowers in Texas, a covered wagon in Nebraska, the Snake River in Idaho, a farm in Vermont. Seeing the pictures from my home country made me feel proud that I come from a beautiful place.

We went through the greeting line, shaking the hands of Ambassador Smith and his wife, Dr. Smith, as well as other members of the diplomatic corp. Then we stepped outside to enjoy the party. One of the staff showed us the way commenting with a teasing lilt in his voice that they had brought American's finest cuisine to the event. I'm sure many of the guests were delighted with MacDonald's, Pizza Hut, Dominoes, and Dairy Queen. I wasn't really impressed. Fortunately, they also offered a buffet of regional American favorites. I enjoyed the New England table with its offerings of clam chowder, crab cakes, and fish. They also had tiny whoopie pies.

While we ate, we mingled with the crowd. There were Saudi men dressed in their white thobes, with fancy formal robes thrown over the thobes. I didn't see any Saudi women with their husbands. I loved seeing the Indian couples with the women dressed in gorgeous saris. Quite a few military men were there, stiff and formal in their uniforms.

It is practically obligatory that when you start a conversation with someone new, you end up trading business cards. My husband had several made up in Arabic and English when we moved to Riyadh. I asked him what he does with all the cards he receives and he replied, "I just put them in a drawer." It made me laugh. But the cards are useful and I've used them several times.

There was a brief ceremony with Marines presenting the colors. A Miss Carter sang the National Anthem and did the best job I have heard in forever. She has a gorgeous voice and actually lets the melody and her voice do the work instead of trying to vocal gymnastics to impress the crowd. We also heard the Saudi National Anthem. Then Ambassador Smith gave a speech about building bridges between Saudi Arabia and the United States. He talked about the role that businesses play in helping create those bridges. The governor of Riyadh was there and the Ambassador joked that the governor, who used to fly fighter jets was now upgraded to the important task of solving Riyadh's traffic problems!

The rest of the Riyadh was fun. I met some really interesting people including the Saudi Minister of Foreign Affairs who takes pictures of food that he likes rather than eating it and getting fat. I'm not sure the Minister of Foreign Affairs would appreciate being called adorable, but he was really adorable. We loved the bluegrass band and the jazz duo.


  1. I love that dress and they were out of it online. It looks SO good on you! What a fun event. Thanks for sharing!


  2. It's sounds like a fascinating evening!

    I have to say I am a bit embarrassed to be represented by MacDonald's, Pizza Hut, Dominoes, and Dairy Queen though.