Katmandu living

the van de Wiel/Schou Hansen family blog

I am now back in the hotel after a hectic day of shopping. We now finally got a fridge, a stove and a washing machine, but it has also taken me 6 hours of shopping and waiting. I really have to get used to the different speed here in Yemen. In the beginning everything seemed to go smoothly. After checking around at a couple of shops I found the deal that I fought would be the best for buying the combination of things that we needed. When we came to discussing delivery they asked if I wanted the things delivered in half an hour or one hour. Not being used to Yemen I took it for granted that this was a choice between two equally good options, so neither Jamal (my taxi driver) nor I asked them about the difference between these two options. However, when the things arrived to the house it turned out that the both the fridge and the stow was the demo models from the shop and therefore also were very scratched. When we returned to the shop they of course told us that the difference between the one hour and the half hour solution was if we wanted to new stuff or the semi used stuff. All of a sudden it would however take an additional one and a half hour before they could deliver from the warehouse, so I got much time to talk to Jamal and through him get some insights into the Yemeni society so the time by no mean wasted. He for example told me that the bridal price for his wife had been 300,000 Rial or approximately 1500 dollars, out of which he had borrowed the 120,000 from his uncle. I also learned that Yemeni men are able to see their wife before marrying her – this is a question that has been on my mind ever since we arrived here as I do not really understand how the whole dating scene can happen when you never see a woman. It however happen under more civil circumstances than the western dating as the woman and the man are introduced when the two families meet and that the man is after that able to see the woman’s face in a room under the supervision of a member of the woman’s family. When we saw a shop for bridal dresses, I asked Jamal what they were used for as there were no covers for the faces. He told me that they were used for the weddings and when I looked a bit puzzled he said that the weddings were of course strictly divided between men and women, and that there was wherefore no risk of any men seeing the woman’s face.

Both Joop and Liva has now started in the international school. I have been joining them the last two days as everything is still pretty new and judging by these first two days I will have be there for a good while yet. Liva has been crying so much when I have not been around that Joop has had to join Liva’s class the first two days. The school is however a paradise for kids – they have anything they could ask for and is much more sophisticated than their old school in Mexico. Every 30 minutes the kids move to a new room where they do something different and Liva really seem to enjoy herself as long as I am around. I just look forward to the time when I will not be needed.

Tomorrow I will continue the shopping and go with Jamal to the ring-road to buy some mattresses and a carpet so we can finally move into our new house. Still no news about the arrival of our shipment. Maybe we will get news tomorrow – Enchala, as they say here, which means something like “if god will”.


  1. Anonymous  

    Very interesting stories. Good luck with moving to your new attractive house! P.

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