Archive for September, 2012

Part 3: Ms Possum has Dinner at the NZ Embassy

September 25, 2012

The NZ Embassy had heard Ms Possum was coming and arranged for her and the Prince to come to a formal Dinner. The Diplomatic Quarter houses many fine Embassies that are next door to each other and not unexpectedly, armed guard security into this exclusive enclave was par for the course. So it was an utter privilege for Ms Possum to attend and to meet the NZ and Australian Ambassadors along with other diplomats and ex pats for a night of degustatory delight! Ms Possum was well entertained in hearing everyone’s interesting stories and reciprocated with some of her own. In this amazing setting, diplomatic status meant that Western norms took precedence over the strict protocol of the Islamic world outside and Ms Possum pondered deeply at the huge juxtaposition between the two worlds.

Ms Possum's Embassy Dinner

But the Royal Wedding beats the cake! Yes, this ziggurat shaped tower of a cake reached up to the chandelier of a very high ceiling. Ms Possum had never seen such a big cake in all her life and was a wee bit worried when guests were digging into the mid section and wondering if the whole structure would be undermined! Very few outsiders are ever invited to such a prestigious affair and Ms Possum concluded it was about as difficult to go to Kate and Wills wedding as it was to be there. Needless to say, she was as excited as a possum in a pear tree could be to have scored an invite.

Find out next week what goes on at a Royal Saudi Wedding and more of Ms Possum’s adventure in the Magic Kingdom of Saudi Arabia.

And if you’d like to catch up on the story so far, click here.

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Part 2: Definitely Not Breakfast At Tiffany’s & Ms Possum Meets the Prince

September 19, 2012

So Ms Possum has arrived in Riyadh and chauffeur driven to the Al Khozama Hotel. The wonderful Ms L coincided briefly there and went through the action-packed itinerary that would see them through the next few days and then it was Pumpkin time; ie: time for all good possums to hit the hay.

The next morning, the Abayah clad Ms Possum was rearing to go and went down to breakfast – a sole female in a dining room awash with white-robed Arabian men with a few international businessmen to boot. A girl dreams of undivided male attention – but not this sort – the body language signalled “what on earth was an unaccompanied female doing breakfasting in our vicinity?”

Ms Possum was not to be phased and happily chatted away to the curious waiters as if this was the most natural thing in the world for her. The whole team of all male hotel staff got used to the irrepressible Ms Possum and came to expect a cheery Hello from her. They remembered how she liked her eggs; were surprised when she asked about their lives; totally intrigued how a lone girl had come to Saudi Arabia to do business and blown away when they realised which Prince had sponsored the visit. They became quite protective of Ms Possum in ensuring she got into the right car and was safe and the little posy of flowers as a farewell was a touching gesture.Ms Possum's breakfast

Armed with a suitcase full of possum samples and pressies, Ms Possum met the Prince at his Business HQ. Having been educated and employed in the UK a few moons ago, the Prince’s English was impeccable and his manner genial. The Prince is a Philanthropist and has many charities – one of which was to assist disadvantaged women into meaningful work. The brief: to design Bedouin inspired décor or clothing in possum fur in such a way so that local women could incorporate their own local craft into the equation. Ms Possum sooo approved of this noble cause and subsequently came up with a modular concept where designs can be mixed and matched in plated form to provide the basis for throws, rugs, garment linings, wall hangings, etc. Then local women could hand weave their own backings and attach Egyptian braids or plaits to embellish. (Click pictures to enlarge.)

Ms Possum's take on a classic Bedouin design ...then multiplied out a few times ...then tassels added Ms Possum's take on a Bedouin tent Design repeated as many times as required Ms Possum's inspiration was from a camel saddle Design multiplied out a few times ...or just as a luxurious tasselled cushion Arabian geometric design Multiplied out a few times ...or adding mixing and matching with another design ...or the whole gee-whizz shebang Ms Possum's take on Arabian herringbone Design multiplied out a few times Ms Possum's take on Arabian Houndstooth Multiplied out a few times Cushions, pillows, throws & rugs can all be made from these modular designs

The next instalment is all about Ms Possum’s delicious dinner with diplomats! (To follow the never-ending story click here.)

Ms Possum Goes to Saudi Arabia

September 13, 2012

Arabian Possum Fur Kaftan by Possum NZ

Part 1:
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.

nz to saudi mapMs 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.

ms possum wearing an abayahThe 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!