The handwriting said (the mister translated for me) that this honey was of bees kept next to Sidr trees, in the Do'an valley of Yemen. Oh. My. God. At 125 dollars a bottle though, I just couldn't justify the purchase. Oh the gloom of it all! Next to the bottle of liquid gold sat a modest lonely wee plastic container, same writing. He offered it, and for 12 bucks (5 omr), I said ohhhhh yeaahhh. Next he pulled out a round tin, taped shut with masking tape, a bit banged up and worse for wear (that simply made my heart beat more keenly) and opened it. He knew. He just knew by the way I whipped 5 rial from my purse that I wasn't quite finished. You know, I like the Omani sales people at the souk. They are low key, gracious. They just smile and kindly offer.
So what was in the tin? You probably guessed. A block of delicate honeycomb, also from Yemen. Fifty bucks? Yup..I was in. He had me at hello.
I do take a spoonful off that honeycomb every morning, just to feel the delicate walls of wax collapse in my mouth and to feel that Sidr honey ooze across my tongue. Sounds sublime doesn't it? While the wax collapses, I also think about Yemen. I've wanted to go to Yemen for years. It is old Arabia, poor and without resources. It's right here too, just a few hours drive through stunning mountains and coastal fishing villages. I have indeed gone as far as the border, and I did indeed try to get in. Just a bit. Just to see. It was impossible. And now my post takes a dark turn. Hey, I'm a dark woman.
You see, Saudi is bombing the shit out of Yemen. We Americans are also fond of droning possible Al Queda hideouts. And now everyday Yemenis are starving to death. The once beautiful city of Sanaa with it's utterly unique architecture, it's honeycomb high rises, is reduced to rubble as Yemenis flee to...well nowhere. They have nowhere to go. It isn't a high profile war like Syria. Nobody is posting pictures of sad, drowned Yemeni children who've washed up on beaches. It's almost as if the conflict is invisible, like that old Arab country itself.
It really pisses me off that over a million children are going to die of starvation, and sooner rather than later. I don't pretend to understand the conflict, and I don't really give a shit. My opinion counts for nothing in this world but it is this: get some food to Yemen. I don't give a damn who is currently zooming who in this epic confrontation of super players in the Muslim word. Children need food. Now. They need food NOW.
I may never get to Yemen. The world seems mired in a morass of ever deepening conflict. It breaks my heart. It really does. Meanwhile, as I take that spoonful of honey, I close my eyes and think about you, Yemen. I think about your dying children and I wish you Godspeed toward recovery. You are in my prayers Yemen, for what it's worth.