Riyadh is in the middle of the desert. We are surrounded by sand dunes and we are blessed with sudden weather change , heat, bone penetrating cold, and sand particles in the air.
You think it is still hot and summer is not gone yet. You are sitting outside in a cafe wearing a T-Shirt. It is almost ten in the evening, coffee is good, friends are talking. Suddenly a COLD wind blows and it penetrates your whole being. Weather changed. You feel cold, you go home with the ” I am getting a cold” kind of feeling. You wake the next day, it is very hot. And then some days later it gets really pleasant! One word for the winds of Riyadh: Unpredictable. And that ” I am getting a cold” feeling is really the dust that is all over you and in you!
Headgear is vital here. Why do you think its part of the national dress? Why did human beings come with headgear to begin with? Head needs to be protected. Not from bumps and hits. But from tiny little particles that hit our heads, getting attached to our hair and covering the scalp.
No matter what weather it is here, there is dust in the air. No one can avoid it. It is all over. Don’t clean your house one day and the tables will get dusty. These tiny , unseen, dust particles in the air are all over you easily on a daily basis. Regular showering and proper covering is needed. Dust is not good for your skin nor your hair. It causes itching and dryness. And then when you rub cream, it mixes with that too. No other option BUT to cover properly.
I have always maintained that the ideal dress one should wear in any country is the dress its people wear. They wear it because of the variety of factors, environment and conditions of that region that they have been facing forever.
So, when in Riyadh.. wear a Shemagh, cap or anything that covers your head. You will see the difference. Cover your head when you go out.
The Shemagh is an amazing human achievement. It serves us well in all weathers. When it is summer, it can keep you cool. You just need to know how to manage it and how to use it as a small air conditioner for your head ( rub some water under it, the cloth will convert hot air into a cool breeze). In the winter, it warms you. And ,at all times, it protects you from dust. It has become part of fashion now, but it was a necessity at one time. It still is. A cap will cover your head ,but not your ears and neck. Shemagh does it all. Plus, it being a cloth helps because you can shape it and put it on you any way you like. Storm coming up? Wrap it around your nose and mouth. Pull a little to the front from the forehead and your eyes are covered. For the body , the thobe does its thing.
Be careful in Riyadh. There is that unseen enemy in the air.. the dust.
Get a Shemagh:D