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Thursday, March 09, 2006

Safety

I want talk about another issue in the Islamic world that some of you have commented upon and that is the violence that has shaken other Islamic countries over the Danish cartoons. Yemen has not suffered any violence because of this. All the stores across the street have stopped selling Danish products—most of the cheese and all of the butter was Danish. There is a sign in the window of my primary shop that announces, in Arabic and English, that they are boycotting Danish products. I do not anticipate any trouble. Aden has a very, very small foreign population and the Yemenis here are very kind and gracious. The only troubles foreigners have here are getting kidnapped and those are usually a few people who are part of a large tour group visiting some of the archaeological sites in central Yemen.

I have not had a single moment here when I felt in any danger—except in
the taxi ride from Sana’a to Aden last month. That was a harrowing experience—the driver and his friend were chewing qat, smoking, drinking water (necessary when one chews qat), changing the cassettes and talking…and driving very fast. I sincerely had to give my life up to God because it was not safe in the hands of those guys.

14 Comments:

Blogger hani said...

Hi,

I was browsing your blog, which I believe is one of very few and definitely interesting blogs about Yemen. I constantly had a question I felt must be asked, did you visit Northern Yemen (i.e. Sana'a)? Did you find any difference between the attitudes of the Northerners and the Southerners? I also had to ask, is your teaching in Yemen something that you'd like to do for long?

11:24 PM  
Blogger Sergei said...

That almost sounds like fun (the taxi ride), well at least from the comfort of my seat here in front of a computer.

-Serge
www.sergekozak.com

8:54 PM  
Blogger janet adams said...

Hi, Sergei,

Have fun in Yemen. Is your question only rhetorical? I would be careful taking photos. Never take a photo of a woman without her permission, and ask the men too. Sometimes it is easier to sit in an outdoor cafe and unobtrusively take photos, but again, not of women. Many of the men with the AK 47s are military and you definitely do not take photos of them.

8:55 AM  
Blogger this too will pass said...

just passing by; very interesting

2:07 PM  
Blogger janet adams said...

Hi, Nabil, I don't know if you will see this response but thank you for your comment. No, unfortunately I will not be in Yemen in December. I am currently working in Cairo. I hope you have a great return to your homeland.

11:15 AM  
Blogger janet adams said...

Hi, Hani, I don't recall responding to your comment. Thank you for the compliment on the blog. I loved Yemen so it was easy to write about being there. I did visit Sana'a but not the north of Yemen, Sada'a where there is a lot of tribal violence. And yes, there are great differences between Aden and Sana'a. Aden is a port city and has been influenced by many cultures. It is not as conservative as Sana'a. In Aden, although women wear the abiya and hijab, and most cover their faces, they also drive. But both cities are very conservative, and traditions are strong.

11:19 AM  
Blogger Jamal Nassar said...

Janet,


I like your writing, I hope you are somewhere where you like to be.

Wish you a happy and blessed new year.

Best,

Jamal Nassar

8:33 PM  
Blogger Emilio said...

http://deciloquequierass.blogspot.com/

Good Bloog my friend!! Congratulations!!

good luck!! See you!

3:26 AM  
Blogger Letsgopeace said...

This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.

10:24 PM  
Blogger Fadhilah. MPA said...

your blog is good. visit my blog too

10:04 PM  
Blogger David O'Connor said...

You offer an interesting take on things. Perhaps you know something that I don't. I got the impression from the news that Yemen is undergoing a great deal of violence. Perhaps they've overemphasized such things. Hopefully that's the case.

11:28 PM  
Blogger Freddie Langford said...

Really interesting - thanks! Can you say how much time people in Yemen seem to spend chewing qat? There is an article on this blog: http://thearabianplights.blogspot.com which was published back in April, but the first half of it gives a thorough analysis of the economic and social impact of qat. Worth reading.

Are there anymore blogs about Yemen? The country really fascinates me!

Thanks

8:41 AM  
Blogger Janet Adams said...

Hi, Freddie,

I am not sure if this is the way to respond to a comment. Men, and quite a few women, in Yemen spend a lot of time chewing qat. Like countries where people take siestas, the Yemenis spend three or four hours of the afternoons chewing qat. It is a social custom, but people also chew alone, or while they are in their shops, or at work if they can not leave work (that is, IF they have jobs). It involves a trip to the qat market because qat remains fresh for only 2 days at the most, dickering over prices etc. People chew in their homes or on the street. I tried qat twice, but could not get into the intense GREEN taste. It is more social custom than anything narcotic...

5:36 AM  
Blogger Janet Adams said...

From Janet to Abu. No, Aden is not a dull city. I love Aden. I had a great year there. I loved the medina and going downtown to the restaurants. I loved going to the ocean to swim. We often took a taxi to Abian and then walked for about an hour to get to a beautiful each. The people are lovely. But I was there before the recent troubles. It makes me very sad to know that the city I loved has suffered from violence again. I hope it is peaceful now.

2:12 PM  

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