Menu
Share
 
Switch to Desktop Site

What do Yemenis want from the West? Whitening strips, for one thing.

(Read article summary)
Image

Hani Mohammed/AP

(Read caption) Pedestrians walk past Yemeni vendors trying to attract customers as they make their way at the entrance of the old city of Sanaa, Yemen Jan. 31, 2011.

About these ads

My life has taken a number of unexpected turns since I moved to Yemen last year, but I never expected it to lead me to a Brooks Brothers in downtown Washington, DC. But there I was two weeks ago, picking up an umbrella for one of my neighbors in Sanaa’s old city. 

For whatever reason, my neighbor Hussein, an area elder and former world-class ping-pong player, took an almost immediate liking to me. Within months of my arrival in the Yemeni capital, the 60-something father of 10 had me calling him uncle, rarely allowing me to pass by without summoning me by enthusiastically screaming “Texas” – an odd choice for a nickname, since I’ve never set foot in the state.

He also took a liking to my black and white-checkered Brooks Brothers umbrella. Whether due to the memory of the draconian laws of the long-overthrown Imamate, which restricted umbrella use to the upper echelons of Yemeni society, or a genuine admiration for classic American design, he developed an odd fixation with it. Having spent a few afternoons as a guest in his home, I couldn't refuse his request that I pick him up an umbrella like mine during my brief trip back to the United States last month.     

Next

Page:   1   |   2


Follow Stories Like This
Get the Monitor stories you care about delivered to your inbox.

Loading...