Wednesday, 30 July 2008

Day 33: Hamya

Sing to the tune of This is the song that doesn't end:

This is the blog that never ends
And it goes on and on my friends
Some people started reading it, not knowing what it was
And they'll continue reading it forever just because

Well, not really, but sometimes it feels that way :)

So today was another exhausting day in another city, and here I was thinking we'd have so much free time I would be able to catch up on my memorization of surat yaseen. But now I can barely keep my eyes open.

I did end up going to the beach this morning, only it turned out to be the exact same beach we went to a couple of days ago. It was a lot more crowded than it was at night, and windy, but on the plus side we could actually see the beach. And another good thing is that once the men realized that there was a big group of women approaching, they kept their distance, and didn't automatically gravitate towards the women.

We built a Tarimi mud house on the beach (pretty easy—just a big lump of sand) and a lot of us decided to actually swim which meant the bus driver wasn't really happy with us. We were supposed to have breakfast on the beach, which I was really looking forward to, but we couldn't because, and I quote: "there are too many men on the beach and it would be awkward for you to eat [with niqab]." I'm guessing he didn't realize everyone took their niqab off the second we got off the bus. Oops.

So we got back around 9am and were told to only have a quick shower because the bus was leaving at 10am. But of course we were running on AST (Arab Standard Time) and for some reason the men didn't show up before noon. And I'm the kind of person who can never sleep in public/ on a bus/ if it's noisy/ and (until I got here) if it's light so I was really exhausted.

We got to 'Hamya an hour and a half later, which is another city also by the coast. Its name is derived from the hot springs that fill the city.

Our first stop was at another school, named Batool (the one who worships a lot) after the Prophet's daughter Fatma al-Zahraa, who was also known as al-batool. We were all exhausted so we all kind of lay down for an hour or so, before lunching on (as is the norm) chicken and rice. But at least this chicken was more Moroccan-y, with spices. The best thing though was that dessert (which is usually bananas). The desser was…drum roll please…icecream!

We then made our way to the hot springs, which the Yemenis believe has shifa' (healing) properties—it's always hot and never dries up. The springs are located in one of the palm tree-filled valleys, so we finally got to visit one of them. And this one was especially unique because it was located directly on the beach; I felt like I was in a scene from Lost. The water was boiling hot (it literally scalded my hands) and smelled kind of eggy.

After that we went to a ribat (combination library and mosque) to attend a lecture by Habib Umar. Unfortunately we were all so tired that at least half of us fell asleep. which I guess was ok since there was no translation which almost everyone needed.

After the lecture was over (just before maghrib) we got on the bus to make our way over to the mawlid that was being held back in Makkala, but the majority of us were so tired the bus just took us back to our hotel.

Everyone was so tired and exhausted, but I'm guessing after relaxing in the air conditioned rooms and lying on the beds for a bit we felt better, because suddenly (and I can't believe this) everyone started prank calling each other.

Then we started getting hungry and ordered room service: spaghetti and chicken escalope and humus and tabbouleh and burgers and fries :) Because even though our usual breakfast/ sometimes dinner menu (rooti (artsian) bread, chocolate spread, white cheese, jam) is good, it does get very repetitive, especially if you have it twice a day). And somehow, without planning it, we ended up having a mini party in our room.

And just as we were about to split up into our respective rooms, we got news that we would have a trip to a Yemeni souk (market) at around 10pm, after the brothers got home from a walima (feast) at a wedding (yeah, they got invited and we didn't. Figures).

So we wait around for a couple of hours, and then we were told that unfortunately the trip was cancelled because the men were late back.

So I'm ending today's post by moaning about how much better the men have it. They got to chill in the pool this morning playing waterpolo while we had to swim in abayas and hijab on the beach; they have a sheikh with them so they can utilize their free time listening to lectures while we're stuck in a school doing nothing for a couple of hours; we get home and wait for a couple of hours for them to come back from a wedding feast; and our outing to the souk gets cancelled because of them. Elhamdulela.

Today's Quote: "God gives the dunya (world) to who He loves and doesn't love, but only gives the deen (religion) to those He loves" Habib Umar


Anonymous said...

may ALLAH bless the man in tarim
and make them guidence to their family.
Insha ALLAH with your oatient youwill get reward and thsi time alone can help you alot in reflecting or being with ALLAH.
ALLAH knwo best.alhamdulilah

sistahmimo said...

lol, I haven't read this entire page yet but your song was exactly what I was feeling!! lol, mashaAllah you write beautifully, but I have been sitting here all day w/ the exception for prayer times and to prepare snacks for the kids, thinking okay I will almost be done..and now inshaAllah I peeked, I'll be done before the adhan of maghrib..may Allah reward you for sharing your experiences and for writing honestly. I have been wanting to go to Tarim since 2001, and now that I am married and w/ kids..i'm thinking wouldn't it be nice to go at age 40, the kids will be more independant, so I could go and benefit, w/out distractions from inshaAllah, Allahu Kareem.