I went out to dinner tonight with a man I met on the airplane flying into Sana'a well over a week ago. He had given me his business card and we chatted through the night about his home country but also about England, where he and his family hold dual citizenship. He had assured me that I was in for the time of my life and tonight...I was able to laugh and share my experiences with him. All of what I am doing/hearing/seeing was anticipated by Khaled. He took me out to a wonderful restaurant with an outdoor courtyard and a huge fountain and we enjoyed chicken schwarma together. A good guy...and I am hoping I will have time to go to his home and meet his parents. His wife and two teens are living outside of London and he flies back and forth for work.
On girls' day out, I forgot to mention that Nabiha was a crazy female driver who had some Arabic female singer on the radio and the three women, with music cranked up on high, were laughing and singing aloud. We passed the police, men, beggars and all were laughing with us...I was reminded of this when Heidi and Kristin sent their travel video to me. Crazy women...beware of 'em.
When I went to the old Sana'a Heritage house, I saw a reenactment of a traditional wedding. Apparently, in the old days, the grooms wore a green head dress of vines/leaves which has been changed into a flower head dress which I posted the other day. Green was worn to keep away the evil...the evil eye is worn here like in other parts of the world. When we were in the jewelry store the other day, I saw a ring with the evil eye symbol on it. Throughout the world this is worn to ward away the evil.
My lady friends took me to see a celebration of a new birth. The woman who just gave birth was dressed all in gold, including a sharp looking hat; make up was perfect and she was covered on her elevated sofa by a gold throw. Below her on the floor with pillows were at least 100 women and girls and there were more in the next room. All of the women were dressed to the nines, had make up on, no veils, few scarves and most were chewing Qat. One never sees women chewing in the streets, in cars or in stores. Only men do this in public. It is verboten to take photos at these female celebrations...and I know why. The women were very seductively dressed, some with see through clothing or mesh at the midriff. It is a private woman's celebration. Never saw the baby...he was sleeping. We only stayed about an hour but the new mom, sat very still and no one talked with her...she was pretty. Everyone else was partying.
After the new birth party, we went on to the women's wedding celebration where the bride was gorgeously dressed in an elegant white off the shoulder dress, hair and make up perfect. Her family is part Ethiopian and part Yemeni so this party had older women teaching the younger how to dance with their shoulders, shimmy and the Yemeni elders were teaching Yemeni wedding dances. 300-400 women and girls were in this huge hall, again dressed spectacularly, in tight dress, high heels and chewing. Everyone was laughing, eating and chewing. NO photos. I wish I could describe the dresses these women wore...and as we left, we watched some young teens in dresses I would never have allowed my girls to wear, stop, pull on the long black dresses, wipe their faces with baby wipes and wrap a scarf over their hair so they could exit onto the street.
Just before ladies' day out, we had been discussing strategic and operational planning...my three friends laughingly said that I needed to help them write a strategic plan to find a husband.
Photos not uploading tonight...another day!