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← Admitting you're an atheist while travelling in the Middle East

Jon McGill's Avatar Jump to comment 24 by Jon McGill

Wow, impressive, how big is your collection of Jambias, Gordon? I came home with two, but one of them broke... must have been made in China.

As a funny anecdote, I went to visit the great mosque (nicknamed the Saleh mosque) in Sana'a and had to go through a metal detector to get in... I was wearing my non-chinese Jambia, but when I started to take it off to go through the metal detector, I got waved through... it was like "no, we don't consider a sword to be a weapon"... imagine carrying a curved almost-sword through a metal detector in the UK/US ;-)

By the way, not all this discussion ought to be negative toward Yemen. On the plus side, now is a great time for shopping in the old souk/Baab al Yemen... you can find great deals since there are so few tourists. Another positive thing I should say about the Yemeni (and I guess Arab/Islamic culture) is the amount of social interaction that exists there... compared to Europe and US, Yemen seems like the Waltons as far as family bonds go... they really stuck together and know their neighbors, invite friends over and have wonderful hospitality.

However, I wouldn't count khat (qat) as one of the pros of their society. I mean, for one thing, it is responsible for probably the worst dental hygiene that I've ever seen anywhere. Secondly, the people do nothing all day other than pray and store khat in their cheeks... what kind of life is that? No ambitions... a sedate boring life. Thirdly, the qat crops are so vast that it's depleting the well water that is Yemen's sole source of drinking water, at alarming rates. Lastly, my own personal experience with it was that it gave me sores in my gums and intense nightmares.

By the way, I also heard that the last community of Yahoodi's in Yemen have fled to Israel.

Wed, 25 Apr 2012 20:40:17 UTC | #937327