Our new home and killing a sheep

Sanaa Travel Blog

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Marie had sent her feelers out for possible accommodation.  This morning we got a phone call from a Yemeni friend of hers (and her French husband) who had a place available.  Instead of settling into the nitty-gritty of the rental issue, we went out for lunch ... then went to the house where we settled into the 5th floor mafraj (lounge)  ... he chewed qat (a Class C drug in most countries but a tradition in Yemen) and chatted about nothing and everything.

A few hours later he popped the question (in French) ... “Do you think you could live here?”  As I hadn’t seen the place, Marie showed me around briefly and said “Yes”.  What I didn’t understand was that we could live there for free if Marie leaves behind her (limited) furnishing at the end of the stay.  I think the idea is that we iron out the problems with our brief stay (water, wiring, etc).

Here’s the layout of the place (without lifts):

  • Rooftop:  Typical flat roof with view of Old Sanaa.
  • Level 6:   Mafraj, lounge with view of Old Sanaa.
  • Level 5:  Rooms and a bathroom.
  • Level 4:  Our apartment with foyer, two rooms and a bathroom.
  • Level 3:  Apartment with foyer, two rooms and a bathroom.
  • Level 2:  Fodder room (or stable?) and access to communal kitchen in a separate building.  Kitchen comes with two barrel ovens (like tandoor)  for making the whole range of delicious Yemeni breads. 
  • Level 1:  Main Entry with some windowless rooms.  Also used as stable in old days?

Pictures available here

As part of moving into a "new" (refurbished) house, our landlords have to kill a sheep as sacrifice and give the meat to the poor in the neighbourhood.  "We'll do it in the garden, or in the bathroom .... " his wife said.  As it turned out later, he ran out of time due to a business trip and gave donations instead. 


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photo by: philippe84