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Location: Kansas, United States

Sunday, September 11, 2005

In Aden

I am finally in Aden, my teaching site. It is indeed HOT HOT HOT and HUMID HUMID HUMID. I just constantly am sweating. The city, except for the western hotel section, appears to be extremely poor. There are many African immigrants here along with people from other countries. There are a lot of women and children begging.

The food has been very good although not as good as the Azeri food. They use more peppers and hot spices here and I do like it. L. and I went out last night with two teachers to the suq--the market. I bought some hand towels and a jar of the famous Yemeni honey. The # 1 honey costs $35 for two pounds!!!. I bought one pound of the # 2.

In the capital city of Sana'a, many of the men chew a leaf called 'khat' which is a mild narcotic or stimulant--depending on the habit. It is really ugly to see because the men stuff it into one side of their cheeks and it is baseball size. Here in Aden, chewing betel leaves is more common. Khat is green and betel is bright red. My boss made a reference to Christmas but I prefer not to make that association.

Last night L. and I also went to the grocery store across the road. We bought mostly cleaning supplies but also a few groceries: milk, juice, oats, sugar and some disgusting yogurt. We had several bags and two of the grocery employees carried it back to the gate for us--about 2 blocks.

L. and I are both in the school compound. I am in the second floor apartment. There is a guard on duty 24 hours a day. And, last night there was a small black cat on duty, too.

I feel very safe. In fact, in the Embassy security briefing, the officer said you may get your pocket picked in the market but you are not going to be mugged. He said we just did not have to worry at all. There used to be occasional kidnappings but the government cracked down and there have not been any for two years. The victims were never hurt...the security officer said the victims were treated as guests for three or four days then released when the kidnapers received the money or their friends were released from jail. So, don't worry about me.

(Picture from CharlesFred's Flickr photostream)


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