27 February, 2006

One Day in Mukalla

I wake up in the morning. Very early morning. Wake up my two sons. They have to get ready for school. Their mom gets the breakfast ready. We all brush our teeth; take showers. And then we all have breakfast together. At such moments, I miss my older three daughters very much. I haven't seen them for long. Too long. Divorce! And the pain it creates. People should never divorce! At least I have my two sons to comfort me. They quickly finnish taking breakfast and are off to school. After playing for a while with the two cats we have.

Another morning in Mukalla. Another day in Mukalla. It is cool now; especially in the mornings. Very soon it will be humid and hot. And then: very humid and very hot. Even then, I still like and love Mukalla. Very much.

I have some shopping to do. First: some fish. I leave home walking. Outside is still quiet. Some children going to school. Some people here and there. I walk towards the main road to board one of the mini buses. On the way: some cats. Garbage. The collection of garbage isn't working. Piles of garbage every where. They have to do some thing about all this garbage. I reach the main road and wait. Not for long. I board a bus. An old one with torn up seats. It shouldn't be on the road. A few men inside. Some smoking. When will they ban smoking in public places?

On to the fish market. Traffic is heavy. Early morning traffic. Humanity on the move. My mind wanders: every where on this tiny rock we call Earth; every morning: humanity moves. In some places it is faster. Much faster. On we move. Slowly. Traffic rules and regulations have to be brought up to world standards here. If Mukalla has to be mordern. On the way: more garbage. Some plastic bags and bottles cover a side of a mountain. Blown by the wind. Dot the mountain side. Colored plastic bags. Blue. Pink. White. Black. From a distance, they look like flowers. Mukalla needs cleaning. Proper cleaning. Continuous. Maintained. Relief: the sea! Pure blue! Comforting! Can Mukalla be as clean as the sea?

The fish market. Crowded. Very noisy. Lots of fish. I just love fish. Clean and pure as the sea. No mad cow disease. No bird flu. Fish. I go for the snappers. Very tasty. I love tuna too. The whole family does. And shark meat. Dried and salted. People of Mukalla love shark meat. All Hadhramis do. It is the most popular fish. Dried and salted. I get the fish. And some vegetables and fruits. I love bananas. My wife loves mangoes and oranges. My sons love apples and pears. But we all love cantaloupes. I head back home. Board another mini bus. A clean one this time. No smokers. A different route too. Closer to the sea and Mukalla's artificial water-way: Khor'Al Mukalla. Along the Khor is much cleaner. Why not make all Mukalla as clean?

Traffic has reduced. I reach home. Take shower. Tea. Some pastry. Some women come to visit. I watch the news. Same news. Over and over. Over blown. Keep people watching. The business of news. Wars. Deaths. Chaos. The news feeds on that. The news on TV. That box! Like an idol. The TV. Every household has a TV. People spend more time glued on that box than on any thing else. So it seems to me. The women go. I spend some quiet time with my wife. We talk. She doesn't bother much about the news. My sons return. The cats too. They know lunch time. Lunch: rice, fish and vegetables. Then fruits. After: a short nap. After: a shower and tea. I love tea! And taking showers. After brushing my teeth. It is almost evening. More women come to visit. I listen to some music. Read. Watch the news. Sunset.

We all go out after sunset. The whole family. It is getting darker. Some weekends we go to the beach. But today: we go to the Khor. Spend some time walking along the water-way. There are many like us. Families with children. We have fish and chips in one of the many restaurants along the Khor. It is cool and already dark. The two boys play. This is one of their most favorite spots. And ours too. Hours later: we go home. The cats are waiting. They are hungry. They love fish too. They have fish and rice. I have some juice. Brush my teeth. And take a bath. And go to bed.

My day has been a normal one. I am on leave. A normal leave day. Calm, pleasing and peaceful. I never miss my prayers. The mosques are close by. I love it: the Family. The cats. Home. Mukalla is home.