So what's happening in Yemen these days..
Trip Start Oct 13, 2005
22Trip End Dec 22, 2006
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It's been a while I know, but I'm back and now in this swanky new blog formula. Things have been quiet this last month or so which explains my silence, but I thought I'd grace you all with a trivial update.
My Arabic is coming along nicely now. I have an extra hour each day just to practice my speaking and that's helped a lot in addition to my normal class in which I concentrate more on grammar. This past week I've been trying to build up my political vocabulary so that I'll be able to converse in greater depth with locals on one of their favourite topics: American/western foreign policy; the Iraq war; and the evil that is George Dubya. Their favourite topic of course is whether or not we westerners have discovered the wonders of qat
So anyway, I'm now armed with an assortment of relevant vocab ranging from the basic 'ra'ees' (president), to 'majliss al-amn' (Security Council) and of course 'irharb' (terrorism) right through to 'intiharee' (suicide bomber), 'qadeefa harwan' (anti-tank rocket launcher), and 'ghara' (air strike), and of course a plethora of more practical vocab in between. Anyway, I'm no fan of George Dubya by any stretch of the imagination; nor am I a fan of Israel's continued settlement-building. But I hope that once I've mastered all this political vocab I'll be able to put the locals in their place the next time they start their inevitable diatribes that put everything that is wrong with the world down to an American/Israeli conspiracy. Yemeni's for instance believe that Israeli planes spray pesticides over the qat crops in order to make men infertile - just ludicrous!
Anyhoo, enough politics already. I'd like to preface my next sentence by first saying that I love Sana'a and I'll happily keep coming back here. But seriously, with alcohol more or less off the entertainment menu, there's a lack of things to do of an evening
In other news, I've relinquished my membership to the nice club (with the big pool) in protest at this morbidly obese man whom I had the misfortune of encountering in the gym. He was just dripping buckets of sweat all over the machines and then not wiping up after himself. He also smelt like a wet dog, and I swear I nearly painted the bench-press with my vomit as he wobbled his corpulent load past me. Just the mere thought that he might at some stage in his life have been in the nice big pool for a post-gym, pre-shower cool-off has basically put paid to my fitness regime - I guess I'll just have to pick it back up when I get back home.
As for the obligatory weather paragraph, April is supposed to be a rainy month but it's basically been either cloudy or rainy almost everyday since got back, and besides which it's bloody well May now
I've been on a couple of trips since Marib: one short overnight trip to Aden (see next entry) and a day-trip to Kowkaban, Thula and Hababa. On the latter trip I was accompanied by American Tom, Evan (also American), Becky (British) and Alex (Malaysian). It was a nice day out, with the highlights being a hike up a mountain to the village of Kowkaban at its summit where we ate rather good salta. On the hike up we came across people living in the caves of the mountainside which was rather interesting. Then, in Thula, Evan and I negotiated with an over-zealous local for a suitable price for Becky whom he wished to purchase as his bride! We talked him up to $2000 plus both of his shops, but for some strange reason Becky was less than impressed by the whole idea! Anyway, some of the scenery was really beautiful, but as this entry is becoming tiresomely long as usual I shall let the accompanying pictures replace my words.
Anyway, that will do for now. Ma'a salaama,