Tuesday, December 29, 2009

A Slideshow

Hi everyone! Here is a link that Dan found to a slide show about a part of Yemen: click here!

Monday, December 28, 2009

Middle East News Resources

Following my last post, I thought I would direct those of you interested in Middle East information that was responsible and factual to a few sites you may find useful: The Arab Reform Bulletin - Carnegie Endowment for International Peace, The Council on Foreign Relations - the Middle East Region, The Middle East Institute, and the Center for Strategic & International Studies - Middle East Program. Happy reading!

You say Sana'a, I say Sad'ah

Many people have expressed their concerns about recent events in Yemen, specifically mentioning U.S. news stories that mention unrest in northern Sana'a, Yemen. The problem is that reporters are sometimes confusing names, as well as muddying the differences between cities and governorates (the Yemeni equivalent of "states"). The city of Sana'a is situated in the center of the Sana'a governorate. There has been some problems in the north of the governorate, but there have been no problems in the city. The northern part of the governorate, by the way, is hours away from the city. At the same time, the unrest in Yemen is located in the northern governorate of Sa'dah, which news reports sometimes get wrong as Sana'a. I've thrown a couple maps into this post to better clarify the topography of Yemen.
Best wishes for a Happy and Prosperous New Year!

Saturday, December 26, 2009

Education in Yemen

I thought you all might find this article on education in Yemen interesting.

Saturday, December 19, 2009

Happy Islamic New Year!

Today is the Islamic New Year. Stephanie and I decided to take another walk through the old city and try some new streets.
Above this store you can see a picture of Yemen's president, Abdullah Saleh: it's rare to see him in a photo where he's not wearing sunglasses... To get to the old city from our residence, you cross a highway that doubles as a river bed during the rainy season. The highway cuts through the center of the city, running north/south. As you can see, Sana'a is much like NYC. Most of the vehicles are taxis. The yellow and white ones don't have meters in the cab, while the yellow ones (which are pretty rare) do.
Stephanie on the bridge that crosses into Old Sana'a. We enter into the city from "Bab al-Sabah," or the "Morning Gate." The gate no longer exists as it and all other gates (except the Bab al-Yemen) were destroyed during the war against the Imamate in the 1960s as the gates personified Imamic rule.
More shots of the old city and the highway/riverbed.
Entering into the old city from the Bab al-Sabah entrance.
A mosque in the distance. Outside of about 1000 Yemeni Jews, the entire country is Muslim. It is contended that the Yemeni Jews are the oldest communty of Jews in the world.
One of many minarets in the old city.
An alleyway. The old city is full of character wherever you look.
A couple shots of the old city from the balcony of a hotel, the Dawood.
(visit them at http://www.dawoodhotel.com/)
A courtyard in the old city.
A few shots of Stephanie and I taking a break in the heart of the old city.
Classic old Sana'a architecture.
The main market street (the Suq) in old Sana'a.
An alleyway onto another street.
The women were out in numbers today!
Heading back to the house...
Walking past the Dawood....
Another domed mosque.
A neighborhood with hotels that cater to Westerners.
Stephanie caught these children playing soccer in the street.
We came out onto a square. It seems that kids are kicking soccer balls around wherever you look.
A fruit stall in the Bab al-Sabah quarter of the old town.
The convenience store across the street from our house. Children mostly run the shops on our street (the 26th of September Street).
Happy Islamic New Year from Sephanie and me!

Sunday, November 29, 2009

Saturday Stroll...

Stephanie and I decided to take a stroll through the city yesterday. We started close to home in Tahrir (Liberation) Square, where the military museum is located...
There are also government ministries.... My favourie of which is SNACC, the "Supreme National Authority for Combating Corruption." Quite a laugh!
From there, we took a walk down Gamal Abdel Nasser Street, named after the former president of Egypt, who engaged in a proxy war with Saudi Arabia over the fate of then North Yemen from 1962-1970: would the former north remain an Imamate (ruled by a religious leader, as Saudi Arabia would have had it), or would it become a republic (as Nasser wanted)?
It became, in word only, a republic.
Stephanie liked the following mural a lot...
Here we are coming up on a huge building filled with advertisements on Zubaireyh Street...
Cops directing (and not too well, I'll have you know) traffic.
The mosque near our house from which we hear the call to prayer 5 times a day. It can be quite beautiful AND quite annoying.
The Yemeni National Museum, which is close to our house. It costs 100 rials for a local to go in (50 cents), or 300 rials for a foreigner.A mini-bus stop across the street.
A tower attached to the National Museum.
Tahrir Square, with horse rides. They're doing the horse rides all-week-long as it is Eid al-Adha, but there are horse rides here every weekend. Stephanie plans to kidnap a horse and head off into the mountains!
It's 5:15 P.M. on a Sunday here. There was just a HUGE downpour, which pretty much soaked everyting we had drying out on the clothesline. Thank God it's vacation week as we can make another try with the laundry tomorrow!

Thursday, November 26, 2009

Thanksgiving Update

Happy Thanksgiving everybody! We thought we'd give you all a tour of "Bayt Sabri" (the House of Sabri) today. Our apartment is in the 6 story building, located on the mezzanine. Looking out our bedroom window, we can see our neighbors across the way (they have kids you can hear most days playing inside).
The apartment might be small by American standards, but is quite large by Yemeni standards...
We have a kitchenette where Stephanie plans to make meatballs and chili. I've already made macaroni and cheese and tuna casserole. Most times, we eat out. It's actually cheaper in Yemen to do this as opposed to going to grocery stores (where the well-to-do Yemenis shop and things are more expensive). The opposite of how things are in the US. That's Stephanie peeking around the corner.
You might call this a living room, but in Yemen it is know as a "mafraj," where family and friends get together and chew qat. We don't use this part of the apartment as much as we might.
Outside bayt Sabri is a garden area where we have breakfast and lunch during the week. Usually eggs, bread and cereal in the morning, and chicken or lamb with rice in the afternoon.
Some views from our courtyard...
More of the courtyard...
You can see the Parliament Building from our courtyard as well -- we really are in the center of Sana'a!
This is a closer shot of Parliament, Yemeni flags adorn the building.
That's it for the moment. We hope you've enjoyed the tour of our neighborhood. Stephanie and I wish our families and friends a great Thanksgiving. It's sunny and in the high 70s here!