It’s Always Sunny in Sana’a

I like to sleep with the shades pulled shut, blocking out even the tiniest slivers of light. Every morning when I get up, I throw them open and yell “Top O’ the Morning to You, World!” with a big ol’ grin on my face. Ha, yeah right. That’s Mr.YemenEm , who is the in other room by the time I get up, playing the flute or tapdancing or whatever elfin ritual he cheerfully performs to welcome the new day. Our oh-so-adorable coordinating coffee mugs say it all. His is “Morning Bird” and mine is “Night Owl.”

Anyways, when I yank open the curtains, squinty-eyed due to bad vision and the general  scowly-faced way I approach the morning, I expect there to be, at least once, a drizzle coming from the gray sky. But no. It is ALWAYS SUNNY. We’re talking blue skies, not a drop of moisture in the air, and it’s 72-degrees. It’s the type of weather that most would consider pure perfection. Even better than California. I must say, to all those smug San Diego people who are always bragging on their perfect weather: I’ve been there. More than once. And it is overcast in the morning. That shit doesn’t burn off until afternoon. Here, it is clear and blue from the get-go.

Aside from the constant sunshine and perfect temperature, there is no humidity. I was worried when I came here that my skin would flake off like a rhino with eczema and my hair would turn to straw (especially after my stylist in DC told me her roommate did a three month deployment in Afghanistan and came back “Literally with one-third of the hair she left with.”) But really, the dryness can be combated with handfuls of body lotion, deep conditioner, and the occasional butter bath (1 part water/1 part melted butter. Ghee works too). When I first got here, I noticed my hair was starting to look like the useful end of broom (although, according to David Foster Wallace, both ends are equally useful depending on what it is you use a broom for) and I ordered some way expensive hair products on Sephora and I pretty much have awesome hair days on the regular now. And it’s sunny constantly. So sunshine + good hair = happy days.

But…the nice weather here in Sana’a almost feels like a waste, what with us being pretty much confined to either our hotelpartment or the embassy.  Don’t get me wrong, I do enjoy laying out at the hotel pool and eating lunch outside during work days. But a perfect sunny day is just not the same when you don’t have the freedom to be outside, doing what you please. When there was a gorgeous day in DC, I’d walk to Georgetown’s waterfront, stroll to some shops in Dupont, read in Meridian Hill Park, or if it was a really good day, I’d be hiking the wonderful Billy Goat Trail at Great Falls. Here, I acknowledge the perfection of the weather, go to work, and it’s generally dark when I leave. Being so close to the equator means it gets dark at 6pm, no matter the season. (Or is it proximity to the Prime Meridian that makes days shorter? If my Internet was running faster, I’d look that up. I’d also look up if Prime Meridian is a thing, because as I say that aloud it sounds more like a type of steak).

To sunny skies and lustrous locks,


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