Ms Possum Goes to Saudi Arabia
VIP Treatment at Riyadh Airport
Ms Possum receives many customised orders, but this one was a bit more unusual than most. The elegant Ms L, a Kiwi ex-pat resident of Saudi Arabia for 29 years, came back Downunder for a holiday and requested a possum fur-lined Furwah (pronounced Farawah), an Arabian kaftan type garment for a colleague of hers. (See the story here.) Little did Ms Possum suspect it was for a Prince belonging to the line of Al-Saud, who discovered so much oil in the desert decades earlier and were catapulted from being Bedouin herdsmen to the ruling elite.
So when, much later on, the Prince wanted to know more about possums from New Zealand, he asked the obliging Ms L, to arrange Ms Possum’s all expenses paid visit on his behalf.
Ms Possum was honored to be invited but also a tad apprehensive. Ms Possum, intrepid traveller, relieved that the terrorist bombings were not at Riyadh where she was going; swotted up on Islamic culture and history and armed herself with a few words of Arabic. Off she went hoping that any driver she might have in her travels would not pass out in the 50 degree heat causing Ms Possum to take the wheel and end up getting herself in a spot of trouble!
Ms Possum was a little stunned to be on a flight with umpteen rows of work weary Filipino men who were doing another stint of construction labour in this oil rich land. She donned her own elegant jet black Abayah (obligatory female cloak covering the entire body but not the head) with matching neck scarf just in time for touchdown and wondered what adventures would befall her.
The VIP treatment started right at Riyadh Airport where she was greeted by the Prince’s assistant as soon as she got off the plane and ushered into a Private Security Clearance room with a whole team of Border Control men with nothing to do but to put Ms Possum’s little piece of hand luggage through her own dedicated X-ray machine and stamp her passport. Then through the extensive Room for Women (full of couches, prayer mats and bathroom) to freshen up and out to a waiting limo with suitcase collected for her.
You won’t believe what happens next when Ms Possum meets the Prince. Tune in next week!