Saudi Arabia: American Bedu’s First Gift from her Saudi Prince

Going back in time, American Bedu shares her memories of when she received her very first gift from Abdullah.  To set the background, this story takes place in Islamabad, Pakistan, a few short weeks after their very first meeting.  When Abdullah learned that American Bedu was a diplomat at the American Embassy he shared with her his desire to become a member of the “American Club.”  Foreign diplomats like Abdullah required the sponsorship of an official American in order to become a member.  American Bedu offered to sponsor him and they met up at the United Nations Club where American Bedu gave Abdullah an application for membership….

We left the United Nations Club going our separate ways after dinner.  Abdullah was going to contact me when he had the documents completed and requisite pictures taken so I could submit his application.  The next day I go as usual to the American embassy.  As I pull in with my Rav 4 to the security check point, the Pakistani security guards with broad smiles on their faces informed me, “Memsahib” (typical title used to address women in Pakistan) “you have gift from Saudi embassy today.” After they finished inspecting my vehicle, I go park in the embassy employees parking lot and enter into the embassy itself.  The next line of security sees me and smiles saying “Memsahib, you have gift from Saudi embassy in Security section waiting for you.” “Hmmmm”, I wonder.  “what’s up?”  I go to my office and sure enough, I’m notified by the section secretary that a gift in my name from the Saudi embassy was delivered and available in the security office.  By this time I think the entire embassy was aware I had received some kind of mysterious gift and were all eager to see what it was.  I guess it was not every day a gift was delivered by courier from the Saudi embassy to a mere female diplomat.  I make my way to the security department where another smiling Pakistani employed by the Embassy apologetically told me, “Memsahib Carol, I am sorry, but security regulations dictated I had to x-ray this package.”  After a brief pause he could not resist adding, “Memsahib, I am certain you will enjoy what is inside this package.”  “Thank you.” I responded, as I took the package in my arms and returned back to my office.  

There was no avoiding it.  There was too much curiosity and no one was going to give me privacy to open my gift.  As I tore off the outer wrapper, underneath was the lovely wrapping of the Saudi embassy with date tree and crossed swords which signifies growth, prosperity, power and valour.  As I opened this elegant box I found it enclosed a simple, traditional and breathtaking Saudi coffee pot.  The coffee pot was made of brass and eight inches high.  The slender elongated spout from which the coffee was poured extended out from the base of the post.  I was touched by this gift as the Saudi coffee pot is a traditional symbol of hospitality. There was a short note with the gift from Abdullah expressing his sincerity and thanks for my sponsoring him to the American Club.  So of course I had to call him, go through his protective secretary (for he was the Consular and had quite a responsible position) in order to thank him for the lovely gesture and thought.

“Office of the Saudi Consular.  How may I help you?” his protective secretary answered.

“Salam Alaikum.  This is Carol Fleming from the American Embassy.  I wish to speak with Abdullah Al-Ajroush, please.”  I knew if I did not identify myself upfront, she’d immediately ask who was calling. She requested I wait while she transferred me.

“Hello, How are you?” Abdullah came on the line speaking in a jubilant voice.  “Did you receive my gift?” he rushed on.

“Abdullah, what a lovely and thoughtful gesture. Your gift was a great surprise to me this morning.  Thank you very much.”  I gushed out.

“It was the least I could do.  You are the one who is kind enough to sponsor me at your Embassy’s club.”  He stated this in a formal manner yet I could hear the warmth in his voice.

“No, Abdullah.  It is the least I can do for you.  After all, I was the one who absconded with your French fries at the Canadian Club.” I cringed as the words exited my mouth for I still suffered embarrassment whenever I thought of my faux pas with his French fries.

“You were hungry and my French fries abated your hunger and allowed me to get to know you.  Now you are my sponsoring my membership to your club.  It is I who am indebted to you.  In fact, when my membership to your club is approved, you must be my first official guest as my thank you.”  He informs me.

“I look forward to seeing you at the American Club but there is no need to have me as your guest.  In fact, since it is the American Club, I should have you as my guest, although I have to tell you now the French fries at the American Club are not as flavorful as the ones at the Canadian club.” I said to him wanting to inject humor.

Abdullah chuckled but remained firm in his insistence that I would be his first official guest.


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