Yemen Stories and Tips

"As You Like"

Village On Top of a Rock - Wadi Do'an Photo, Yemen, Middle East

For the Yemeni people who can speak English, there is one term you will come to hate: "As you like." Yemenis use this all the time, and in most cases it does not really mean what it is supposed to mean. A few examples:

When hiking in the Haraz Mountains, if you ask a guide how much he/she charges for their services, they will often say, "As you like." You and I will interpret this as meaning we could give them whatever amount we want to give them, whatever amount they deserve. However, what it really means is they have a set rate of $20 per day, and you can give them anything in addition to that...as you like.

Another example, when hiking, is when the guide asks where you would like to hike, or which type of terrain you want to hike on. They will say, "We can hike over the mountain, or on the flat roads around the mountain...as you like." No matter what you say, though, they will go the way they want to go...which is usually over the mountain or exactly opposite of what you say.

When bartering with a souvenir salesman, they will often say, "I will sell this to you for your price, as you like. Tell me your price." No matter what price you tell them, they will not sell it to you for that price. So, the price is not as we like.

At restaurants, your guide may tell you that you can have anything you want.....as you like. So, in my case I asked for fruit, which apparently they did not have. So, instead I ordered some beans. They waiter brought me beans, AND fruit...and charged me for both.

So, what I learned from all this is to be firm and insist to get what you want.

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