My typical day

My day usually consists of getting up, eating breakfast, studying, go to class, go to internet cafe, eat dinner, study and/or do something with the roommates, then go to bed. Pretty thrilling eh? Keep in mind that the Arabic classes and studying are pretty taxing. If I don’t have any food in the house, getting some usually requires a round trip walk of between 1 and 4 miles, depending on what it is I am in the mood for.

My breakfasts have generally consisted of bread (fresh), an apple or orange, maybe a fruit drink (once again fresh), and sometimes some cheese to go with the bread. If I’m out of food or I want something different, I can walk down to the souk and get one of those egg flatbread concoctions that cost me .25 cents. A fresh juice will run about 10 cents. The only reason I don’t do that every day is that it’s about a mile and a half round trip. I could take a taxi, but I usually walk it.

Dinner varies considerably. Sometimes I’ll go get a chicken (3 bucks, that’s the American price) and maybe some rice. Sometimes I’ll substitute some bread for the rice, that’s around 25 cents per piece. Sana’a supposedly has over 40 different types of bread availible in it’s markets. I’ve tried 3. One I only get with the egg thing, one is a muffin, maybe a date muffin? The other is flatish, round, and slightly sweet. It usually has some sesame seeds sprinkled on the top. Often times, I will eat the leftovers of the previous night’s dinner since an entire chicken is a bit much to consume in one sitting, especially when combined with other stuff.

Every once in a while we’ll go to a resturant. There are some very strange takes on foreign food at these places. One night I had to explain what fajitas actually were to a Kuwaiti woman that was eating with us. She got what looked like a cheesteak sub, but they used soy sauce to flavor it. I have discussed the hamburger I got before… The same meal, Luca got a “Fillet” sandwich. Turns out that it was a mistranslation of a “Philly” sandwich. It looked good enough, I was a bit jealous looking at his sandwich while “enjoying” my burger…

Eventually I will branch out with the food. My main problem is the language. Most places do not have menus, you just ask what they have. I haven’t tried the “national” dish of Yemen, a bean dish called “salta”. One of these days… I made the mistake of asking my bread man “Ma hath tha?” (what is it?). I was trying to figure out what kind of bread I was buying. Well, he told me, but due to the enormous wad of Qat he had in his mouth I couldn’t understand a thing he said. I just said “shukran” (thank you) and walked off. Still, it’s good brad and I’ll keep buying it:-)

Amin came down and cooked some vegtables for us the other night. There were some beans and a thing that looked like a cross between caulliflower and corn…trust me. The beans were pretty good, although you didn’t eat the casing they were in. We ate “Arab style”, ie with our hands. You squeezed the beans out of the casing and into your mouth. The other thing was a little too much like eating birdseed, couldn’t really get into it. He boiled them up in a really salty brine. I must have drank two bottles of water after that. Sure wish that I could remember what that stuff was called.

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