26.06.2007 23 °C
My five minute walk from the hotel to the Yemen Language Center includes passing by the street where the Yemeni Parliament is located. The last few days, the parliament has been in session, and oh has that been interesting. Every member of parliament comes in from their respective villages to attend sessions of parliament, and they bring their personal armed escorts with them. That means that the area around our school is suddenly filled with a lot of random guys carrying enough AK'47´s to outfit a small army. This includes the heavy machine gun I saw mounted on the back of a pick up truck, Somali technical style. Of course, this makes the area around our school probably the safest place in Sanaa since nobody would be stupid enough to start anything with that much heavy duty weaponry around, and it´s mostly for show. If any fighting started, I´d be pretty amazed if one out four guns actually worked. The other amusing part was that I saw really nice cars for the first time in this country. I had to do a double take as I was walking through a very poor neighborhood on the way to the hotel, and a Mercedes Kompressor drives by. I personally didn´t think there was enough wealth in this entire country for one person to amass enough to pay for and ship a Mercedes here. But, it was amusing in that this whole situation seemed to be the perfect caricature of Yemen, oddly dressed tribesmen armed to the teeth with Kalashnikov´s chewing qat and laying on the horn as the attempt to fit two cars through a lane only designed for one. It definitely made my week.