Sana’a, Yemen “Don’t Worry. You Are in Yemen.”

The next time you’ve got a layover in Cairo airport, remember to go up. The gates are all on the first floor, which is smelly and ugly. The few available seats are occupied and everyone is yelling at each other.

One floor up, things are quieter. This is where all the VIP lounges are.

The top floor, inexplicably empty, features a sea of comfy couches courtesy of a 24 hour Starbucks and adjoining Cinnabon. It also has free wi-fi. The food options aren’t particularly cheaper downstairs and there are no gatekeepers to this upper oasis, but there’s a clear class distinction. My theory: a lot of folks just feel more comfortable down there.

It’s interesting how the Starbucks aesthetic has a way of casually warding some people off; a way of saying "This is not for you. You don’t belong here." I wonder if that’s deliberate.

Got into Yemen at 3am. My first impression was that the people are very shovey. But perhaps the immigration line isn’t the best place to draw conclusions.

When the doors opened up into passport control, everyone charged the counter like it was a wedding dress sale at Filene’s Basement. One guy tried to push me out of the doorway and squeeze past. I elbowed him in the gut. Lovely!

By the will of Allah, my bag managed to catch all my flights and arrive concurrently. It is a loyal and durable sidekick.

The buildings of Old Sana’a would be considered modest skyscrapers if they were built out of concrete and steel. As it happens, they are built out of mud, which makes them tremendously immodest.

The city is thousands of years old. Its structures are packed tightly to maximize shade in the winding alleys and corridors. Few cars dare to risk scraping through the place, so the sounds that can be heard have little to compete with. They bounce great distances to haunting effect.

Driving into the city, hours before dawn, all you can hear are those few scattered voices. My driver had no idea where the hotel was, so he woke every urchin we passed to ask directions.

I saw a lot of dead cats. That’s not particularly unusual, but the pools of fresh, trickling blood were unsettling.

Believe it or not, Sana’a is extremely high up; 2200 meters, well over a mile from sea level. I always had the sense that the Saudi peninsula was just endless, flat desert. Not so. The altitude keeps Sana’a relatively cool, but I lost my breath quickly on the stairs up to my room.

I slept miraculously well on the flights, so I was up and ready to go before lunch. I spent the rest of the day wandering through the city.

No street goes in the same direction for more than a few meters, so navigating was hopeless. I spent about an hour looking around, and four hours trying to find my way back.

At least half the people I passed said "hello" and "welcome." Lots of smiles. They’d ask me where I’m from and I’d tell them. Big thumbs up. "America! Very good!"

Motorcycle in sheep’s clothing.

This is one of the gates of Old Sana’a. Beyond it is the far less interesting New Sana’a, which looks like every other impoverished city in the world.

This is a very bad picture of a shop wall that has a portrait of Saddam Hussein hanging on it. It’s one of those things that, as an American, I really didn’t want to get caught snapping a photo of, so I was sneaky about it.

Pictures of Saddam Hussein aren’t at all unusual in Yemen. Lots of shops have them. I’m not sure what the significance is, but I imagine his image means something very different to Yemenis than it does to me. I’d speculate that he’s seen as a sort of Teddy Roosevelt figure; strong, willful, defiant. From a certain point of view, Saddam was a real Can-Do guy.

What I didn’t see was any photos of their hometown boy, the pride of Yemen, Osama "Sammy Bean" Bin Laden (his father was Yemeni). I’m guessing those are probably hanging under the counter.

Some guy stopped me and demanded I take a picture of this minaret.

He had a lot to say — all of it in Arabic. I think he asked if I was Spanish. He kept going and going and I kept shrugging and trying to walk away. An English speaker finally passed by.

"He wants you to take a picture of him."

Ah. Easy enough.

This did not make him happy. He wanted it close up on his face. Sure. No problem.

Nope. Too squinty. He turned me away from the sun.

Better, but he still seemed displeased.

Some other guy passed by and wanted in on the next one.

Praise be to Allah that pictures don’t cost anything these days.

The guy still wanted something more. I couldn’t figure out what. Probably money. This is where the language barrier comes in handy.

He reached out to shake my hand, and as I shook it I realized he was missing a couple fingers. That’s always fun.

I later learned that Arab handshakes are a little different than ours. It’s not just shake-and-be-done-with-it. You shake, you greet, you smile, you shake some more, more greetings, still shaking, rinse, repeat. It got to the point where we were actually walking down the street together, hand in hand, still shaking, still feeling fleshy stumps where fingers should be, still talking without either party having a clue what the other was saying.

This girl made me sad. When she saw me coming, she lit up and said "Sura!" I had no idea what that meant, assumed she wanted money, so I kept walking.

"Sura! Sura!"

She stood, somber and alone in the alley as I walked away.

"Sura?…"

I waved goodbye and turned the corner.

"…sura."

Sura means picture. That’s all she wanted.

I don’t know why there isn’t more talk about how much digital cameras have changed and enhanced international travel. Suddenly I have an infinite supply of something that’s easy to give and as fun for me as it is for those who request it. Images are disposable to us, but they really are profound things.

I don’t take my portable printer around much anymore. Small as it was, it still filled a good chunk of my luggage space. I often wish I had it.

Anyway, once I found out what it meant, I never missed another sura.

This is the main road through the old city. I’m fuzzy on this, but I think it actually used to be a river, and then when it dried up they just started letting cars through.

Water is a big problem in Yemen. The air is bone-dry and they’re having to dig further and further down to get it. Of the water they do have, a crazy amount of it goes into growing Qat. Qat is a chewable leaf that acts as a stimulant, like tobacco. It’s sold at a premium, so farmers abandon other crops in favor of it, but it also requires a whole lot of water to grow, hence the problem. They’re chewing themselves into a famine.

At least a few people are still growing real food, but it doesn’t taste as good as it looks. One of those apples in there is the second-worst I’ve ever tasted. The worst was in a decorative bowl at a fancy hotel, and that one was fake, so I don’t think it counts.

Yemen is predominantly Sunni. It isn’t the most radical Islamic country, but their spring breaks aren’t very impressive either. Full burkes are the norm, and for the most part women don’t speak to men outside the family. It feels very much like a world without women.

I was skittish about photographing people without their consent, but those usually make the best pictures, so I snuck a lot of quick shots that didn’t turn out. I also took a lot of pictures of people from the back.

At least with the women, you can’t really tell the difference between front and back. They’re all just kinda shadowy blobs.

In my last post I mentioned reading that it’s common to carry around assault rifles. Well, I didn’t see a single one on a civilian. Instead, the men in Yemen all wear ornate, jeweled daggers in their belts. These are called jambia (not sure of the spelling, but that’s how it sounds).

They’re part of the formal dress — kind of like neckties, except easier to kill people with.

Jambia are passed down through generations. Older ones, I’m told, are worth thousands.

I fumbled through some crude attempts at communicating with these kids. Dig the ammo belt with the live rounds.

The picture-taking attracted attention and soon I had a small crowd.

I pulled out the video camera and started shooting. The kids were hamming it up, and it was a smooth transition into setting up the tripod and getting them to dance with me.

I showed them the first take and they sort of got what I was doing. We moved back in position to shoot it again. This time, just as I started dancing, they all pulled out their daggers and waved them in my face. Everyone was still smiling and laughing, so I took it for granted that I wasn’t being robbed. I eventually cottoned on that it’s how they dance.

Okay, then.

They circled around me, thrusting and twirling their not-at-all-unsharp blades. One dagger slipped out of a kid’s hand and landed at my feet. I pretended not to be terrified and kept on dancing.

This batch of kids really wanted me to eat their cookies. I politely declined. That was deemed unacceptable.

I ate a cookie. It was fine. They immediately produced another one. Fine. Okay. I ate that too.

Out came a third cookie. What the hell kind of game is this? I let them know I was done eating cookies. So they took my backpack, opened the main pouch, and stuffed the entire bag of cookies inside.

I still don’t know what was going on there. I guess they just really wanted to get rid of those cookies.

I pulled out the video camera again. The second it went on, the kid in the hummer T-shirt broke into some crazed comedy routine. I think he was pretending to be a sportscaster or reporter. I took a step back to open up the frame a bit. He stepped forward right along with me. I kept moving back down the alley, and he and his friends stayed right in step. We ended up shooting a sort of impromptu Beastie Boys video. Does anyone have any idea what these kids are saying?

Anyone who’s ever spent the night in a Muslim country knows what I woke up to the next morning. At 4:30am, the city shakes to the sound of pre-recorded prayer sputtering out atop the minarets from old, scratchy bullhorns; a call to all good Muslims to get up, scoop water over their private parts and mask their odors so they are fit to praise Allah at sunrise.

A few minutes later, Melissa called from Seattle to make sure I was still alive with all my parts (private and public) attached. Turns out three mortars had just been fired at a compound in the city that houses US oil workers. Al-Qaeda took credit.

No one was hurt. That’s because al-Qaeda are a bunch of bozos. I think I can safely say that without offending anyone. Al-Qaeda and the Amish are pretty much my only risk-free punching bags, as they will never read this. Anyway, they are bumbling ignoramuses. Two weeks ago they tried the same thing on the US Embassy in Sana’a. Wanna know what happened? They missed and hit a girls’ school across the street.

But I suppose that doesn’t matter, right? They were, after all, only girls.

Bozos!

I’d planned to hire a driver and visit some nearby villages, but that plan seemed ambitious considering the circumstances. I spoke to Abdul, the hotel manager who’d arranged things for me, anticipating that he would dismiss my concerns.

"It is not for you that they are angry, Mr. Matt. You must not be afraid. These men, they are not from Yemen. They come from Egypt and other places and they make trouble, but Yemeni people will not harm you."

I stewed for a bit. I agreed with his point about not being afraid. You know, "the terrorists win" and all that.

Also, what had really changed? I already knew those guys were lurking. Like most humans, my caveman brain responds enthusiastically to sudden, visceral events like explosions (and is listless about gradual crises like climate change). That’s why terrorism works. But was the actual risk any greater than it was the day before?

There was no one around to discourage me, so I decided to go ahead with the plan. I met my driver, Mujahad, which, I must admit, sounded a bit more like mujahadeen than I would have liked it to.

Mujahad has been driving tourists around Yemen for 20 years. Mostly Europeans, he says. But, of course, "Americans are the best!"

He was curious about prices in America. He wanted a sense of the relative cost of goods, so he chose the most universal of purchases.

"How much for a chicken?"
"…Uh, cooked?"
"Yes."
"I don’t know. Maybe $20?"
"$20! Amazing. And how much without cook."
"Sorry?"
"How much for the whole chicken. Still alive."

I couldn’t think of ever having seen a live chicken for sale. You want the price on a can of Coke, a loaf of bread? No problem. But we don’t really do the live chicken thing. I’m not sure how I should feel about that. Embarassed? Ashamed? Relieved?

This guy accidentally drove his truck over a cliff when his brakes stopped working. He’d been waiting beside it all day. I suppose help is coming at some point.

We visited the villages of Thille, Kawkaban, Shibam, and Habebah (palindrome, yay!). It was all a big mish-mash and I came to the conclusion that Yemen is mostly rocks.

There’s no oil in Yemen. There’s hardly any mining. Just rocks.

…and people.

Some goats too.

Kids in Yemen spend a lot of time peering out of windows. I suppose I would’ve too if I hadn’t had a TV growing up. They would yell to me from way up high and I’d have to spend a minute or two tracking the echoes to pinpoint their location.

Look close. They’re in there.

This kid in the dark blazer is highly photogenic.

Take a couple hundred pictures and eventually you will accidentally snap a really really good one.

I hope, hope, hope these kids aren’t gathering drinking water. Mujahad insisted they weren’t. I think he said it’s for washing.

These kids were ferocious. They wanted money, pens, paper — anything I had on me.

Their mothers hid in a corner, watching me closely. I smiled and waved, then realized I had no idea what their expressions were. The veiled look comes across as just sort of superior and maybe a little bit sinister — an effect that definitely has its uses.

About25thcobracommande

I pulled out the video camera to shoot some dancing clips with the kids. At this, the moms were very excited, although I had to take care not to include any of them in the shot, lest their vanity should piss off God.

Once I finished, I felt obliged to give the kids something for participating. There were loads of them, so the coins ran out fast and only led to pushing and hitting. I realized I needed a whole lot of something.

Aha!

There are those that assume part of my job is to wander the planet handing out Stride.

I don’t.

But I do keep some in my bag all the time and it definitely helped out in this situation. Once the wrapper came off, though, the grabbing hands were all over me, going into my bag, in my pockets. It was a bad scene. I handed the gum off to one of the moms, figuring she’d do a better job of keeping them at bay.

She did not. And I felt really bad for redirecting the frenzy upon her. She resorted to breaking sticks into smaller and smaller pieces to keep up with demand. Meanwhile, I made my escape.

Mujahad and I stopped for lunch in Shibam. I attribute the sanitation woes of our dining establishment to chronic, acute maleness syndrome. It was like eating in a bathroom. Seriously guys, think about getting some women involved in this operation. They’ve really kinda got their heads on straighter than us in a lot of key ways. At the very least, your restaurant will smell way better.

Those issues aside, the arrangement was fun. It was in the traditional Arabic style. We got a couple huge pieces of khobz, which is a round flat bread kinda like a pizza but without anything on it, and then we had a couple plates of meat and vegetables. No utensils involved, just rip off some bread and use it to pick up clumps of the messy stuff.

The meat was pretty rough. You can kinda tell when the animal you’re eating lived on garbage scraps.

All the other men in the restaurant were pretty amused to see me in there. Lots of questions, all very friendly. What part of America am I from? How much does it cost to get there? How long does it take?

I was made to try the dishes at the surrounding tables, which was a bit dicey, but I got through it.

Today was my last day in Yemen. I was going to spend it wandering around Sana’a a bit more. Instead, I organized my mp3s. Not because of terrorists, mind you, but because I am very lazy.

27 Responses to Sana’a, Yemen “Don’t Worry. You Are in Yemen.”

  1. kalleboo

    That picture of Saddam is posted over a list of Danish brands (Arla, Ecco etc), which means it’s a list of products to boycott after the danes printed the Muhammed cartoons. It wouldn’t surprise me if the Saddam picture isn’t as good-natured as you think.

  2. “Take a couple hundred pictures and eventually you will accidentally snap a really really good one.”

    My photography friends and I say the way to become a better photographer is to take more pictures. Back when we actually used film, a 36 exposure roll would produce about 4 good pictures. One in ten is pretty lousy odds, but with digital it’s acceptable. And you’d think the more pictures you take the better your odds would get, but the problem, if you can call it a problem, is that your requirements for a good picture increase with your ability to produce them. So it stays about one in ten, but the good ones get better.

    I took over 1800 pictures on a three week US trip and only 139 of them made it to a Picasa Web Album. That’s all of one in thirteen.

    Yemen isn’t somewhere I had previously thought of as a destination. But like a lot of the places you’ve been, your pictures and your words make it interesting. They make it real and personal. And they make me want to go there someday.

    Keep enjoying your trip, and taking lots of pictures 😉 And don’t let the terrorists win!

    — Paul

  3. Jenni

    Matt – You’re stories are intriguing, I have enjoyed keeping up with you on your most recent journey. It makes me look forward to #3 even more. I really really honestly “LOL”ed watching your video of the kids, especially when the effects and music kicked in. That was some fun stuff right there. I’ll be asking some of my hubby’s family who speak Arabic what the kids are saying for you and let you know what I find out soon. Safe Journey!

    Jenni
    link to youtube.com

  4. Mat

    Hello Matt, the kid in that video is basically giving you a phony “news cast”. He’s greeting the viewers for his “Nasha’ News” and reporting that he’s on the streets of Sanaa, and then apologizes for the clothing they’re wearing. The rest of it, he’s just rambling about, and I couldn’t hear him very well when the music kicked in. Hope this helped.

  5. I absolutely LOVE your photojournalistic blog which allows me to enter a country through your eyes and experience the people and the culture without actually stepping foot in the countries. After reading, I’m sure that I will someday find myself there, but for now, thanks for sharing your humor and fotos:)

  6. Rich

    What a great entry. I was laughing my butt off during half of it.

    Sorry to be picky, but have you ever considered changing your HTML links so they open a new window with the links? :)

    Thanks again for the entry. It was really entertaining!

  7. Fares

    Well, I would say you have made Sanaa to look bad place to visit. I have been to Sanaa and I have been to nice places and taken good photos.

  8. Mary

    I loved seeing and hearing your stories about Yemen. My husband, sons and I lived in Saudi Arabia for 5 years. We traveled all over but were told NOT to go to Yeman….too dangerous blah blah blah….reading this makes me wish we had.

  9. Helms

    You are a rather entertaining travel writer, and I’ve enjoyed your updates. I’d suggest you be a little more appropriate when you make your funny comments in regards to Islam and Muslim traditions. And, yes, the name Mujahad does come from the same root meaning as jihad, meaning one who strives (for God, purity, etc).

  10. RZA

    Hey asshole why do you keep writing stupid things about muslims. Someone should read your blogs here and kick your ass when you’re down there.

  11. Ali Al-Yemeni

    Dear Matt,

    I assume that you are not going to read this post, but I hope you do. I’m Yemeni living in the states. I really felt insulted reading you blog about Yemen, but I don’t blame you because you haven’t been around much to describe. I would recommend you to read more about Yemen and have the will to discover it more, and next time you go there make sure to have good plans and good tourist tour to know more about Yemen, its history, people, and 260 different cultures and dialects. The blast that occured in Haddah complex that was caused by Al-Qaida really terrified me and the first response I did is calling my parents who live in that complex to check on them. Next time you plan on going to Yemen, e-mail me and I will make sure that you have the most out of your trip and have been to the most interesting colorful place in Arabia and astonishing natural beauties in the world. My e-mail is [email protected].
    Take care, and hope you have positive experiences from all over the world.
    -Ali

  12. Ali Al-Yemeni

    Dear Matt,

    I assume that you are not going to read this post, but I hope you do. I’m Yemeni living in the states. I really felt insulted reading you blog about Yemen, but I don’t blame you because you haven’t been around much to describe. I would recommend you to read more about Yemen and have the will to discover it more, and next time you go there make sure to have good plans and good tourist tour to know more about Yemen, its history, people, and 260 different cultures and dialects. The blast that occured in Haddah complex that was caused by Al-Qaida really terrified me and the first response I did is calling my parents who live in that complex to check on them. Next time you plan on going to Yemen, e-mail me and I will make sure that you have the most out of your trip and have been to the most interesting colorful place in Arabia and astonishing natural beauties in the world. My e-mail is [email protected].
    Take care, and hope you have positive experiences from all over the world.
    -Ali

  13. Ali Al-Yemeni

    Dear Matt,

    I assume that you are not going to read this post, but I hope you do. I’m Yemeni living in the states. I really felt insulted reading you blog about Yemen, but I don’t blame you because you haven’t been around much to describe. I would recommend you to read more about Yemen and have the will to discover it more, and next time you go there make sure to have good plans and good tourist tour to know more about Yemen, its history, people, and 260 different cultures and dialects. The blast that occured in Haddah complex that was caused by Al-Qaida really terrified me and the first response I did is calling my parents who live in that complex to check on them. Next time you plan on going to Yemen, e-mail me and I will make sure that you have the most out of your trip and have been to the most interesting colorful place in Arabia and astonishing natural beauties in the world. My e-mail is [email protected].
    Take care, and hope you have positive experiences from all over the world.
    -Ali

  14. Iyad Suedi

    Matt,

    As a Yemeni, I really felt insulted by your comments. Please, when you travel somewhere take the time to read about the country you are about to visit. Let me give you a quick incite in Yemeni culture and traditions: when those kids (who by the way possess almost nothing in life) give you their cookies, it is a form of respect and generosity towards a traveler. Take it as it is. It is certainly not because they want to get rid of them.

    And by the way, Sanaa has been inhabited for 2500 years and may well be with Damascus the oldest inhabited city-to date. It was declared a World Heritage City by the United Nations in 1986.

    Heard of the Queen of Sheba?

    The history of Yemen stretches back over 3,000 years. Ancient kingdoms flourished in southwestern Arabia (now Yemen), a crossroads of trade from the Orient and Africa to the Mediterranean. At the time of Christ, camel caravans carried as much as 3,000 tons of frankincense each year to Greece and Rome. The large and prosperous kingdom of Saba’ (Sheba), founded in the 10th century BC and ruled by Bilqis, the queen of Sheba, among others, was known for its efficient farming and extensive irrigation system built and engineered around a extremely complex and large dam constructed at Ma’rib.

    Heard of Coffee?

    The coffee which you drink was first discovered and produced in Yemen – Al Mukha (Mocca) is a city in Yemen. Yemen invented the drink in the 11th century. Because of their prominence and prosperity, the states and societies of ancient Yemen were collectively called Arabia Felix in Latin, meaning “Happy Arabia.” Prosperity was due mainly to the trade of frankincense and spices, all trade passed through Yemen. Mummies were also discovered proving that they were able to master those complex techniques only found in ancient Egypt before that and parts of South America.

    The city of Shibam is 2000 years old and the very first Skyskraper city – 11 story buildings – still inhabited. Shibam is often called “the oldest skyscraper-city in the world” or “Manhattan of the desert”, and is the earliest example of urban planning based on the principle of vertical construction. The city has the tallest mud buildings in the world, with some of them being over 100 feet (over 30 meters) high, thus being the first high-rise apartment buildings and tower blocks. Shibam is on UNESCOs programme to safeguard the human cultural heritage.

    The Port of Aden and trade linked to it stretches back over 3000 years. Marco Polo and Ibn Batuta visited it in the 11th and 12th Centuries. In the 1800’s, Aden grew as ship fuelling port, holding stocks of coal and water supplies for the early steamers. Port services expanded after the Suez Canal opened in 1869 as Aden grew to become one of the busiest ship bunkering and tax-free-shopping and trading ports in the world by the 1950’s. Arthur Rimbaud made his residency in Aden and his house has become a museum.

    British occupation of south Yemen in 1839 divided the country into 2 countries and Yemeni unification took place on May 22, 1990.

    As for your pictures, please just google Yemen photos and you´ll see what Yemen really looks like and that there is more to just rocks.

    There is a lot more for your knowledge, Matt, so take a break between your “musical gesticulations” and READ ! If not for yourself, do it at least for those who read your comments.

    This goes for ALL the countries you visit, because right now you are giving a distorted image, far from reality and which shows only one thing:
    Your lack of knowledge and culture (weird for someone who travel so much).

  15. Ali

    Thank you Iyad. People must have knowledge before anything else, and I appreciate your historical overview about Yemen. It is importance to realize the historical background of the country you are visiting Matt and if not, you are only wasting your time specially of spreading the so called “Peace”.

  16. Stephanie

    Hey Matt,

    I was so excited to see that you’d included Yemen in your travels. I was there all last summer (probably known as “the summer when too many Americans came” because there were tons of us) and I was struck by many of the same things you were.

    It’s such an amazing place, though certainly scary at times (we were told never to walk behind soldiers with guns, because sometimes they fire them by accident). I really enjoyed your whole video, and generally completely covet your life. Thanks for the hilarious postings and good attitude!

    Stephanie

  17. elyse

    I’m going to have to disagree that Matt was intending to insult.
    Of course I can’t speak for Matt but I read his blog very differently.
    I enjoy the honesty of his “ignorance” and its fun to hear a point of view of someone who is experiencing a new place, not speaking the language, and trying to make their way and understand what’s going on around him.
    Every place has a history. Every place has a story to tell.
    First of all I don’t agree that someone HAS to study all the history and customs of a city before visiting it. Why can’t they just pop in and see how it goes?
    Secondly, Matt did not give a “distorted image” of Yemen. He talked about his personal experience.
    Matt is not teaching the history of the world here. He is sharing his travels.
    I really enjoy the funny way he tells his personal story. If I want to know the history of a country or city, I can take a class or get an encyclopedia.
    Lastly, it is pretty clear that Matt was being lightly sarcastic when he said that the children were trying to “get rid of the cookies.” I thought that was hysterical and am I’m sorry that the reader saw it as a serious comment.
    Thanks for listening.

  18. Adam

    Love your videos, but I agree with some folks here that it seems you somehow felt pressured to appease the stereotype that is in western culture, and mocked Islam and Arabs accordingly in some ways throughout the article. I’m not a Muslim nor an Arab but I’ve travelled to many Muslim nations and I have to say that some of the comments you made come across as the ‘Arrogant American’ in ways, which is surprising considering how much you have travelled. Overall the article was ok, but man I could see you conforming to the kind of attitude that is prevelant in parts of our societys nowadays. Not always, but it does show up in there.

  19. laura Caito

    getting ready to go to Yemen- still scared about safety- does anyone have words of wisdom to make me feel better and more safe.

    thanks, laura

  20. Vanessa Martin

    If you wanted a live chicken, you can visit just about any county fair and find them for sale for anywhere from $5.00 for a rooster up to $20.00 for a young laying hen. Baby chicks are available over the internet as well as in local feed stores each spring for about $2.00 each, but then you have to raise it to maturity. Most communities have people who raise chickens in their back yard, and some are willing to sell them for food. Most, however, are either raising them for eggs or breeding them for show purposes (blue ribbons and the such). When looking for chickens, type in “poultry” rather than “chicken” so you get live birds as opposed to recipes and addresses for restaurants. There are tons of people who have chickens in the U.S., but you don’t usually see them or talk to them if you’re a city dweller. Get out to your local county fair this fall and check out the chickens! (Especially the Polish ones — they’re a HOOT.)

  21. Yaser

    good job and i hopp u stay in yemen for more longir that u can see all citys and discover pople thay r somuch friendly thay like to give more thin take
    thnx
    Yaser Sana’a

  22. Yaser
  23. A.R

    man matt,you really disappointed me. watching your “Dancing 2008” video and being directed to your blog I was under the impression that with all your travels you would be more worldly. But instead what I find myself reading is a travel diary of an ignoramus

  24. Lan Tran

    I love this city. The structure is just amazing to me. This post is about Yemen under your eyes, an American and I hope one day I will have my own post about Yemen under Vietnamese’s eyes. Ths again.

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