Archive for October, 2010

08
Oct
10

Yemen Impressions: Shop ’til you drop… in an understated way

Yemeni are shopping… Oh you mean there are two upheavals going on!? Yemeni are also getting married, having babies, driving newer cars (bought in “dibei”), and if they have the mula attached to their household name then they are decorating…but in an understated way… Tariq Ali said there was wealth in Yemen but subtle in its use and careful in its presentation…

Says who!? Well the amount of department stores being built and used daily until the wee hours of the night, for one. Or better yet, the quality of the products being bought- take a stroll around “Turkish City” the Better Homes & Gardens Yemeni equivalent to Crate & Barrel, Bed-Bath-& Beyond, Macy’s, and Ikea rolled into one with a touch of Linens & Things, Sears, Spiegel and Home Depot/Loews… This store says “I know what I want and where it goes”…did I tell you that the female shoppers outweigh the male ones? In Yemen?! No!!! Yep…

So something is changing… I see it in the homes I visited in Sana’a – there is a distinction rising and its pretty interesting…

Guess its not all bazooka toting Houtis- by the way didn’t see one- the Houti nor the bazooka!

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07
Oct
10

Yemen Impressions: satellite dishes and hindi soaps

I got a chance to catch up on all my Hindi soaps- and as usual got the whole womenfolk of the household hooked! Never mind they couldn’t understand a word- the facial expressions and background music spoke volumes in any language. Those cliff hangers and “twists” are uniquely Indian! In addition, I was able to literally roll in unmitigated laughter, watching my mother-in-law duke it out with the villains of the movie Akkbar or screech with the unknown Bhool!

We drooled over the saris and the jewelry- always a favorite pastime of Arab women- gold!!!

And best of all we tried out some of the recipes from the cooking masters- I believe they have programmed in the up-coming Indian Master Chef challenge- no translation necessary…my brother-in-laws are more than happy with that last bit… Food is a good paver…

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06
Oct
10

Yemen Impressions: Saudi Airlines- a fiasco if Yemen is your destination

The odyssey of travel via Saudi Arabian airlines has certain demands

Pack light,
Be ready to change flights like you change your underwear,
Fight for your flights- [rights];
Take a whoppie cushion- your butt cheeks will thank you;
Be aware that its pilots can’t always land in Yemen- rain or shine;
Don’t travel with them during Ramadhan- you’ll think strategic planning wasn’t part of universal business lore;
Give your office, patients, clients a two week window for your return- when I wrote this note (it was Friday the 13th- they’re not superstitious right?) our flight had been cancelled twice in four days; eating up our one-week window down to nothing- a formal letter of apology from them was requested since we wouldn’t get home in time.

For an airline that had been known for its shining stars, even Yemania Airlines could teach them a thing or two- because them stars are a tad beyond tarnished.

Its back to flying via Emirates or its sister company- or anything -but not Saudi.

Oh and if you happen to be flying INTO Yemen via Saudi Airlines- cover your eye, nose, and mouth- they fumigate you like a pack of roaches… Darndest thing ever!

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05
Oct
10

Yemen Impressions: a man’s world and lopsided outcomes…

It’s a Man’s World… The song doesn’t do justice to what you see in some countries in the Middle East… Yemen where I spent all summer is by no means an exception- but it is an interesting location to see men interacting when and where they (sometimes) honestly believe women don’t exist, shouldn’t exist, do but should be ignored… And the interesting outcomes when they believe themselves the only gender:
Clothes from the rolled up pile
Dirty clothes unaccustomed to laundry detergent…what language is that!
Shoes unfit for the garbage (using Bostonian here- “gabage”)
Hair in need of a closer relationship with a pair of scissors
Skinny, not on a poor diet just eating poorly
Unfinished, uncoordinated everything, whatever for?!- finish, that is…

It’s a Man’s World… you can bleat that one to death- but only men who recognize their women look good when they step out into the street!

I am woman! Hear me roar!

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