pain is the staff of life

Yemeni trip off.

Posted in Uncategorized by ruthanzo on January 18, 2008

More than a few years ago, a book about an expedition to the Arabian Peninsula in 1760 sponsored by the Danish Crown, was making the rounds in our family. The book was called Arabia Felix (Happy Arabia, oxymoron?) These royal european fact-finding trips to exotic places were all the rage then. This account starred three central figures hand-picked by the King each for his special talent, a Swedish botanist, a Friesian polymath and a big-talking low-yielding Dane, as it turned out, (just being Danish seemed to qualify him for the trip.) Their ship was a long time getting out of the channel above Denmark where the Atlantic currents meet the North Sea’s but on the third try they succeed and they are finally on their way. Before this happens though, the Dane, rather than forego his creature comforts, decides to travel overland through Europe to meet up with the rest of them in Italy I think. The book is full of descriptions of the people in the Middle-East and their customs at the time. I remembered that Sana on the Arabian Peninsula was described as being mosquito-infested (malaria claims some of the gang) and a place one would not want to visit, at least not in 1761. But about 5 years ago I was online looking for an exotic vacation and came across a site for a hotel in Sana that was only $29. a day U.S. It was cheaper to live there than here and I wondered what it would be like for me, a Canadian woman d’un certain âge, to take-up residence in a Yemeni city. There were probably less mosquitos now. Would I have to cover myself completely? This part I would not mind at all and besides it would be prudent to do so. We were post 9/11. I imagined myself shopping in open markets, cooking on a gas hotplate in my room like Big Edie Beale (she was bifnaked), watching the news on Al-Jazeera or the BBC all the while breathing in the pleasantly toxic fumes from the burning mosquito coils. Would a camel ride be in the offing? Could I drink wine, I wondered? Well wonder no more, the trip is off. Two Belgian tourists were shot to death yesterday (& 4 more wounded) in an Eastern part of Yemen and I don’t much feel like going anymore even if the price is right. I know the rest of Europe has a problem with Belgians but..



3 Responses

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  1. zbignose said, on January 18, 2008 at 12:58 pm

    I’m loathe to go too far out of my way to visit places where I am not welcome.

  2. Strunk & White said, on January 18, 2008 at 1:28 pm

    ‘Fewer’ not ‘Less’ mosquitoes. More later

  3. ruthanzo said, on January 18, 2008 at 1:52 pm

    there are no editors at PITSOL. there’s nothing between the blogger and the bloggee. i’ll say.

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