Didn’t get much sleep last night. There is a wedding taking place practically next to my building. They started around 10pm last night and went until 3am. Singing, dancing, chanting, etc. Then they started lighting firecrackers… A guy I met in school today mentioned that at a wedding near his place they were firing ak-47s in the air… Don’t worry, my room faces a narrow alley, they would have to be 25 feet in the air in order to get something through my windows… Anyway, they eventually let up and I drifted off to sleep. About 4 or 5 hours later I was awoken to BLARING MUSIC. It was so loud I had to cover my ears in my room… Turns out that they have erected a bullhorn type of speaker facing my building’s corner. My housemate is taking the full brunt, but I’m getting an earful too. I’m not kidding, I think that at the side of the building, it is probably around 105db loud. Not as loud as a jet engine (around 115db), but pretty effing loud. Too loud to sleep or study, that’s for damn sure. Yemini weddings are supposed to last 3 days and nights…shudder. I told my teacher that in the US, the cops would be called and they would put an end to the nuisance. He said that here, if I called the police they might take me someplace quiet.. Not sure if he was joking about that or not… Yes, it is a different culture, and yes, a wedding is a joyous time, but why do they have to inflict it on the entire neighborhood? We can’t be the only ones that are trying to sleep at 2 in the morning! I’ve already told my teacher that if I have another night like last night I won’t come to class. I was barely functional today, there’s no use in wasting our time if I can’t think straight…
Pictures of the president are everywhere… Normally I would only expect this in a totalitarian regime, but people really seem to like the guy. His picture is not only in all of the government related buildings, but in people’s houses, in their cars, on the walls of their houses, in their wallet, he’s everywhere… It’s really kind of odd.
What else… I went to the travel agent to pick up my ticket to Malta only to find out that his system had been down all day… Things (and people) don’t always work here in Yemen. Learned my lesson though, it’s about a mile and a half each way to the travel agent. Tonight I call first. In Sha’Allah I will be able to pick them up tonight.
Found a Yemen bakery right around the corner from the internet cafe that I like to use. This is bad, very bad… The food is very good, and cheap. I got two cookies that were very much like kolochkies (sp?) except with a lighter, flakier cookie part and a big piece of a lightweight type of baklava for about 50 cents. This could definately lead to some extra pounds being put on by yours truely… I’ll stop by there tonight if I go to the travel agent.
Luca’s wife Naleg (I think that’s right, it’s a gaelic name) came back today. She’s Irish and he’s Italian. Not to invest too much into stereotypes, but I’m not sure if I’d like to be around when they get to fighting. LOL. She’s really nice, she brought back an enormous chocolate bar with nuts in it for me, and she’d never met me before! As you can imagine, women giving me chocolate rank very high on my favorite lists. So it will take something pretty terrible for me to see her in anything but a positive light. Yes, chocolate means that much to me:-) It’s also nice having another accent in the house. Hers is a delightful addition, plus it’s a natural one. An American from Minnisota came over and he thought I was British(?!). I’m chalking that up to the Britishisms I’ve been falling into from talking to my housmates. Still, that was a little odd. He had gone local, wearing a thobe and chewing Qat nonstop. He told me that chewing Qat was a great way to meet people. My first thought was that yeah, so was smoking, drinking, or doing cocaine…
The more I see qat, the further I think I will stay away from it. In addition to the side effects I knew about (insomnia, constipation) I have also learned about the increased risk of mouth cancer, impotence, and painful ejaculations(!). Heroin sound less problematic… SO my clean living continues, with the exception of my sweet tooth.
If I don’t go to class tomorrow, I will get some sleep in the middle of the day, In shal’Allah, and I will try to go out and take more pictures. The old city is very picturesque and it is wildly interesting. Hope to have more to post soon!