Sunday, March 19, 2006

Yemen Trivia

My sis in Yemen leads an interesting life, full of little incidents that would never happen here. For example, this episode, gleaned from our conversation yesterday:

11-year-old Derek has an interest in music and is taking guitar lessons (a story in itself of how this came about, since you can't exactly look up guitars and lessons in the yellow pages). A few days ago Derek had a lesson and then spent the night with his tutor's little brother. The next day they all met at some kind of fair at school, and Becky took Derek and his brothers home.

Except they got stuck in a traffic jam partway home. Five lanes of traffic crammed Yemeni-style, where if someone crunches into your fender you just wave and go on. A hot day. Traffic came to a complete stop. They sat there with the windows open, turned off the engine, and waited.

Next to them was a pickup truck. The bed of the truck was full of village men on their way to a wedding. They had their drums with them, and pretty soon they began to pass the time by beating on their drums.

Derek, sitting in the car beside them, got an idea. He got out his guitar and began to strum in time to the drumming. The men loved it, this little white American kid joining in their fun. They thumbs-upped him. He thumbs-upped them. Everyone around was entertained. He strummed and they drummed. It was great.

"Only in Yemen," says my sister.

She also told me another tidbit that tickled my proud-mom heart: recently they had two different men come to visit them, about a week apart. One was from the U.S.; the other I think was British. Both men were really, honestly, seriously scared. They called with lots of nervous questions, making sure every t was crossed and i dotted. Meanwhile, Becky chuckled to herself but did not tell them that a month ago her little teenage niece came to visit and sailed in like it was no more scary than going to the grocery store.

Quote of the Day:
Ben: Did you know there's a Belly-button Historical Society?
Me: There is?
Ben: Yeah, there's a picture here of the Naval Historical Center.
(Actually, he knows the difference between Naval and Navel)


  1. My husband works there. He's going to love this joke!

    I forget how I found your blog, but I love your style. I mean you're sincere without taking yourself too seriously. Hope you don't mind if I keep snooping here.

  2. Welcome! Snoop all you want.