It’s Winter Ball Season

9 Dec

I have never attended as many balls, dances and parties as I have in The Land of Sand. Embassies are abuzz with social engagements around these parts. With connections in the right places, one could easily attend functions ranging from music recitals by international artists to dinners with ambassadors every night of the week. Then the weekend arrives and you’re spoilt for choice as there are often things going on at a few different embassies in the same evening. On busy evenings one spends forever in your vehicle/compound bus just waiting to get through the security checkpoints to enter the Diplomatic Quarter.

Getting into the parties is not just a matter of pitching up though. Often one has to be invited by a citizen of the country whose embassy you are going to, passport numbers and ID have to be scanned and sent in a few days beforehand and then there are the security checks and pat downs at the gate and armed guards keeping an eye on everyone (at the high-profile embassies). We live in the Middle East, it’s part of the package.

Mobile phones and cameras are not often allowed onto the premises. Partly for security reasons and partly because alcohol may be served at embassies and photos being taken can and have led to serious complications over the past few years. Apparently FaceBook doesn’t only connect friends…nuff said.

Anyhoo, winter ball season has rolled around again which means there is a ball on every weekend at the moment and whilst we certainly don’t attend them all, I must admit we are doing a fair job of lining our darling babysitter Joy’s pockets quite nicely during these chilly winter nights. We love that she now arrives with her pj’s on under her abaya. I have always told her to sleep once Luka is down and that we will wake her when we get home so she might as well be comfortable.

Long, long ago when Olaf was a hip and happening young man he used to be a radio dj. And now that he is a hip and happening older man he gets to do the music for some of the Embassy parties – just for fun(and cause he’s pretty darn good at it). He works free tickets into his payment and we get to take some friends along and have fun. Sweeeeeeet.

A few weeks ago, before it starting getting cold, we went to our very first party at the South African Embassy. After attending parties at all the other embassies we thought that it was about time to go to our own. It’s not as glam as some of the other big ones, in fact, design wise it’s a little stuck in the 70’s but we did have a fabulous evening and the Saffers did a great job. Olaf did not do the music and we paid for our tickets as did the table of friends who went with us. Our little posse included 4 South Africans, 2 Aussies, 2 Brits a Czech and a Spaniard. The South African Embassy allowed us to take photos and so I get to post a few of them here for all to see. Even the boys get all toffed up for the night…

It was a Masked Ball and one person from each table was selected by those sitting with them to join in the competition for the best mask. Our dear and very creative friend Toni, who had made her own mask, was the natural choice at our table.

She held up her own amongst the finalists (most of whom wore store-bought masks)…

and was very well supported by our posse…

Despite our very best efforts Toni never won the competition but we had fun trying anyway. The evening ended with a whole lot of dancing, even some good old-fashioned line dancing type stuff that I last remember doing at school when Billy Ray Cyrus was all the rage. Yip, I’ll admit it was a little bit scary but we took part with all the enthusiasm we could muster… and we could muster up a whole lot of enthusiasm that night!

And so with a little touching up of the photos I post a legal and non-offensive set of pics from our big night out at our very own embassy.


4 Responses to “It’s Winter Ball Season”

  1. Jana December 9, 2010 at 3:47 pm #

    Good for Joy! Not only is she making some extra cashish, but she also has pointed me to a cool advantage of wearing an abaya! Only in the Middle East can one walk down the street wearing her PJs, and no one has a clue 🙂 I guess the machine guns, and pat downs, and passport surrenders are all a fair price to pay for such a luxury [wink].

    Anyway, “Long, long ago when Olaf was a hip and happening young man he used to be a radio dj.” made my day. I immediately thought of my dad, who in his younger and hipper days, too, used to be a DJ: with nothing more than a Sony Walkman plugged to an amplifier. Now I giggle at the memory, but at 14, I was praying he’d decide to change his hobby and spare me eternal embarrassment by becoming something socially more acceptable, such as a pimp or a drug lord.

  2. dustbusting December 10, 2010 at 5:51 am #

    Oh the abaya is a wonderful way to hide a multitude of sins. I can’t say I’ve ever been out in my pj’s but very little can be worn under an abaya during the hot summer. I have had to remove the press studs from the front of mine and sew it closed as Luka often opens it up down the front with his feet when I pick him up, which can be dangerous.

    I can imagine a 14 year old living in fear and trepidation that her friends may discover her dad partaking in his hobby one Sunday afternoon when they popped in for a visit unexpectedly.

    The upside of Olaf having a music-playing background is that all of his children listen to and appreciate a wide variety of music thanks to Dad having exposed them to so much growing up. Luka’s current favorites are The Kings of Leon, Linkin Park and Lady Gaga. You have to hear me trying to sing a Kings of Leon number to him before he dozes off at night!

  3. Fay December 11, 2010 at 3:34 pm #

    Hi Philippa, great you guys are still enjoying your lives in the sand!!! Keep on doing that!!! We still miss you all and all the funny activities which we would never do and attend in our home countries ;-))
    We are in Santiago the Chile and just had a 4 day mini cruise in the Province of “last hope” in Chile…..meaning…..COLD COLD COLD and ICE and WIND and sea sickness…..BUT also beautiful, fun and amazing views.
    Our new update and pics are “on the way” and keep on writing yours!
    Fay xx

    • dustbusting December 14, 2010 at 5:34 am #

      I tell you Fay, we are all envious of your current lifestyle, just travelling the globe. We often chat about your latest adventures whilst sitting around the BBQ on a Wednesday night.
      Not so sure how much fun a cold, windy boat trip would be but that is all part of the adventure for you, I suppose.
      It has cooled down here too and we are enjoying getting out our jeans and jerseys. I even had to buy a coat the other day as I am pathetic in the cold.
      Look forward to reading you latest post.

      Thanks for always stopping by.

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