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Monday, December 26, 2005

More about 'Qat'

Yemen is said to be the most traditional country in the Middle East. It is not the most conservative although it may come close. The culture is very, very interesting. I can not describe it simply. The visible culture is for men. In the bazaar, there are lots of women shopping, but there are more men shopping. There are men everywhere; hanging out in the tea houses, on the street, lounging here and there. The strangest sight is to see men lounging on the median on the major roads. Many, many men chew qat - a leaf that is a mild stimulant. Every afternoon there are hundreds, thousands of men chewing qat. They make themselves comfortable on the sidewalks, at the bus stops anywhere and everywhere. It is just plain strange. They stuff the leaves into one side of their mouths and by the end of the afternoon, their cheeks are huge. Some men look as though they have a tennis ball in their mouths. There are men who have a more moderate approach - like the men in the small grocery store where I shop. Leah and I always tease them about the qat. Qat chewing is a Yemen phenomenon; it is not a habit in the rest of the Middle East.


Blogger Moh'd Aldubaei said...

I've been reading your journal on Yemen. I'm very happy that you like Aden. My parents were born and raised there. I left when I was very young and don't remember much. Family and friends that have recently visited Aden tell me it's a city where time has stood still. Houses, cars, streets, etc. haven't changed since the 60's. It's as if one goes back in time. Most importantly, everyone says that the Adenese people are very warm and welcoming. I hope you enjoy Aden. The scenary and natural landscape I hear are beautiful.

5:24 PM  
Blogger Mike said...

nice blog! I've been looking over it now for awhile and have lost track of time. I have recently become interested in studying Arabic in Yemen, so I find your writings really interesting. Keep up the good work :)

2:21 AM  
Blogger janet adams said...

Thank you, Mohammed and Mike for your comments. I do not regularly check my blog now so don't know when you left your comments. Yes, the people are lovely and the landscape is bizarre and beautiful. And it is true about the cars and houses also. That is one reason why I love Yemen. I hope to save a little money over the next year or two and 'retire' to teach in Yemen. The Yemen American Language Institute (YALI) is Sana'a is a good place to study Arabic. Sana'a is more conservative than Aden, and it has retained even more of the traditional culture.

1:57 PM  

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