Qat Chew

On Thursday the school organized a Qat chewing session for students, teachers, etc. The session was fairly well attended, with about 6 or 7 employees and 10 students showing up. I briefly considered titling this post “Qat Orgy” because at the end of it there was Qat strewn all over the Mafraj and non-native english speaker said “it looks like there was an orgy in here”. That’s a sign of a successful Qat chew, right? Maybe something got lost in translation, but regardless I decided to go with a less suggestive title.

Below is a video of the Qat Chew and the sunset afterwards. I had to take out the audio from the sunset when I edited the clips:

The pre-Qat activities included a trip to a well-known Salta joint (traditional Yemeni food) for lunch followed by a trip to the Qat market. The Salta was delicious as always, and the trip to the Qat market was predictably hectic. The Yemenis were particularly intrigued by a new student named Betsy. She is from Atlanta, and has red hair, so you can imagine the attention that attracts. Luckily I go relatively unnoticed because they all think that I am a Yemenni from Taiz (another city in Yemen). There are tons of pictures of both lunch and the market floating around and I’ll be sure to post them when I find them. In the meantime check the Picasa Web for a few pictures.

We got back to the Markez (name of the dorm) and started chewing at around three or four in the afternoon. It was my third time chewing Qat and my longest session by far (I didn’t spit out my Qat until around 9 pm). It is amazing how Qat gave me tons of energy, and yet I still felt like doing nothing. This was the first time I had really felt any effect from chewing. Unfortunately this energy lasted well into the night, and I didn’t get to sleep until early morning. The next day our professor told us that this is common, and that he actually stayed up until four in the morning walking the street of Sana’a. Of course that didn’t stop him for participating in the Friday afternoon Qat session.

For more info on Qat try these links:
http://www1.american.edu/ted/qat.htm
http://www.al-bab.com/yemen/soc/qat.htm
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Khat

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