Driving in Yemen

Yemen village through windshield

The more time I spend with A, the more I learn that Yemen is just a crazy place. It’s *noisy*! Honking and shouting all the time. A says chaos is just part of the culture. It’s surprisingly true. I mean, all the Yemenis I know in UAE (all two of them, right?) are so mild. But here, the Yemenis are really different. Kids shout to me on the streeets, they come to A’s windows and shout; one kid today even climbed on my door and hitched a ride a few metres. At the traffic lights (which they obey with surprising integrity) vendors come up to the window and try to sell you water or tissues or tapes. Yesterday we were stopped at a light and Amal asked the guy for a certain tape. He pulled out three and A was loooking at them when the light turned green. Honk! from behind.

Khalas! She said, hurriedly returning his tapes and stepping on the gas.
I asked her it takes to get a drivers license in Yemen. She says, Nothing.

Nothing??

She said, Nothing. I went to the place and he said can you drive? I said Duh, why else would I be here? Okay, said the man. And gave her a license.

If you can drive in Yemen, you can drive anywhere, she told me. Driving in Yemen is as chaotic as you’d expect, but I think it’s worse in Beirut and Egypt. A’s favorite place on the road is smack dab in the center. I said A! Just pick a lane!

No! She insisted. It’s all mine! And she laughed.

It’s a good thing they can’t go very fast here. She put on the brakes tonight and I discovered that the seatbelt wasn’t so great. I remarked that I’m probably the only one in the country even wearing a seatbelt. She thought for a second and said, u’re probably right.

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