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Location: Kansas, United States

Friday, October 07, 2005

Cooking and Ghat

Life here is interesting. People are interesting. Food is good. I have actually gained back a little weight because I eat a lot of carbohydrates. I am just not cooking because the kitchen is so hot. Just don't want to stew a chicken for two hours! Just making scrambled eggs and heating coffee water warms the kitchen so...I am eating a lot of fruit, pita bread with peanut butter. If I were outside more, I would eat less but going from airconditioned apartment to airconditioned classroom to airconditioned restaurant doesn't make a big dent in appetite. And sometimes I just get so tired of being in my little airconditioned environments, I get bored and eat too much. I think that when the weather moderates a bit, I will be out more. I am running about every other night but I am eating several times a day!

A habit that many men have here is chewing ghat--a leaf that contains a mild stimulant. Some people liken it to caffeine. Though it is supposedly a stimulant, the result of the habit seems to be a dulling of the senses---in the afternoon and evening you see groups of men leaning against buildings or settled into small rooms that open onto the street, and one of their cheeks is stuffed full of the green ghat leaves. Ghat is greet and when the men open their mouths to say something, bits of chewed leaves mottle their teeth. We have seen men with a cheek full of ghat, smoking a cigarette AND drinking a soda! Talk about multi-tasking! Men here in the south also chew betel nut leaves. We have seen a vendor with the betel leaves carefull lined up on his counter with a pile of other flavoring in the center because men like to flavor the betel with coconut or other seasonings. The cheeks of some of the men are a trumpet player...though only on one side. Not a pretty sight. There is a grocery store that Leah and I frequent and twice we saw one of the clerks with a cheek full of ghat. We clicked our tongues and shook our head and made fun of him!! For the last two nights, he has not had ghat in his mouth. We are modern Carrie Nations but with nothing to smash.

Outside the classroom and the grocery store, life is rather simple. Hiking, snorkeling and diving are big hobbies here and snorkeling attracts the few tourists who come. I mentioned the geology of Aden in my longer letter. It is really fascinating. There is lava (I can't remember the various names for lava after it is no longer running), sand and clear blue waters. I wish I had brought my Rocks and Minerals book but I didn't anticipate such interesting geology. Next time.


Blogger ainialyaman said...

I liked reading your diaries and observations.Keep it up!

4:27 AM  
Blogger Somre said...

I enjoyed so much reading your posts! Recently I found some photos of Yemen from one tourist trip in the Internet and was facinated by this country! It is soooo beautiful!

Good luck to you there!

PS here is this post with Yemen photos:

10:20 PM  
Blogger Jexebel said...

I love the blog. I'm going into EFL and am really interested in Yemen. Could you Email me at I'm hoping to pick you brain a bit

9:10 AM  

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