What a day!
I was out shopping today at noon with maid. We were wandering up and down a shopping street here in the San Jose area. We were just walking about when suddenly we were being pelted with hail!
The weather has been stormy, wet, blustery, and cool, but this was incredible. Very quickly it looked like a snowstorm had blown through, except everything was marble sized hail stones.
I may now report that three layers of latex DOES protect one well from hail. Maid was only wearing the black burqa (must get her one of her own soon) and no hood underneath it. She could defnitely feel the little stones as they pelted down on us. By the time we reached the shelter of a store we were both laughing. Two women in bulky flowing robes barely able to see, running and dodging hailstones. We caught our fair share of looks of course, but the lady behind the counter n the store said it best. She was very friendly and ushered us in to the store. "Come in, dears, get our of the hail."
We thanked her and she then proceeded to offer us tea while we waited for the hailstorm to pass. We accepted and for 30 minutes we sat and had a wonderful conversation with a very nice woman named Mrs. Marshall, about 70 years old, who runs an antique oriental furniture store in the South Bay.
She was not the least put off when she offered to take our burqas and we politely declined. "I understand. I lived in Yemen and Saudi Arabia 40 years ago with my husband, God rest him, and the women there never took their's off either." Apparently he had worked for Aramco.
She didn't comment at all about the material being latex except to say it looked like it would keep out the rain. I suspect she thought we had simply dressed for the possibility of rain which has become so common here (we are alreayd 50% above our ANNUAL rainfall this year in San Jose).
We chatted for a while and the hail stopped. I acquired a lovely Malaysian teapot and maid and I went on our way. Mrs. marshall invited us back. I think just having someone to talk with for half an hour filled her day and it certainly pleased us. I shall definitely return
I have mentioned in comments that some people have a bit of trouble talking with me when I am so fully covered. They seem to be searching for my eyes beneath the mesh panel. Once they can focus on them, seen dimly through the mesh of latex, they seem more at ease.
I noticed that this woman had no such hesitancy and we actually discussed it a bit more. she said that she had when she first lived on the Saudi peninsula, but had rapidy got over it. "I learned to look at their hands. The hands told me what they were saying." I think I understand.
Maid and I have also noticed that two women in cover are more readily accepted or approached than one. It's as if we are less intimidating by being a group, albeit a small group.