Sunday, August 15, 2010

Seeking Yemeni Honey & an Explanation for Twin Beds

I used to consider CSB and me as quite daring, middle-aged scofflaws engaged in apian civil disobedience, tending our rooftop beehives while the NYC ban was still in effect. And I relished the fact, because the truth is that beekeeping does not have all that many opportunities for criminal behavior.
It seems I was wrong.
The other day I was reading about sugar and specifically the sugar trade and how it has impacted the course of history. None of this is news but I always find it interesting because of my epiphanies while perched on the perforated metal walkways of the infernal sugar mill at Taboga, watching tons of cane being fed into the maw of the crushing molinos. In an aside the author mentioned that, back in 2001, Osama bin Laden was laundering money through retail honey shops all over the Middle East.
Why honey stores? Honey is an important food in Islamic culture. The average Saudi Arabian family consumes 2 pounds of honey a month, which seems like a lot until you consider that the average Saudi Arabian family may include several wives and their offspring, all with sweet teeth.
Additionally, honey is sticky and messy and that makes it a perfect medium for shipping both weapons and drugs, because no one wants to inspect a shipment of honey very closely.
Al Qaeda has a strong foothold in Yemen. And Yemen is the epicenter of this honey-money laundering, because the purest and by far the most expensive honey in the Middle East comes from Yemen.
This tickled my fancy and I wasted the better part of an hour seeking Yemeni honey on line. I did not acquire any Yemeni honey, for several reasons. The websites were largely in Arabic, not my first tongue.Or else they were translated unintelligibly:
Yemeni Sidr honey is called to the proportion of trees known in Hadramout, which produces this honey bee, including, where blooms of the trees at the beginning of spring to the end of each calendar year.
Yemeni Sidr honey is the best honey varieties in Yemen and Upscale, which is characterized by pure and powerful scent and color of golden light, as distinguished from all other types of taste wonderful. Value of the purchase of liquid honey.
Yemen Sidr Honey is very expensive and is more expensive types of Yemeni honey , and Yemeni Sidr Honey To treat all diseases, Collection which is on the prairies and valleys.

The honey cost upwards of $100 for a small jar. They don’t ship honey directly to the United States anyway. Unless you care to order the opium steeped in honey, and then they will send it via UPS International. Yemen’s finest honey comes from the nectar of ‘ilb flowers, growing in the desert. Not only is it delicious, but also it is highly sought-after for its aphrodisiac powers.
I found the article about bin Laden’s honey connection through the New York Times search engine, which also led me to a 1903 article titled, “Hints for the Raiser of Bees, A More Profitable Occupation than Keeping Chickens”. This tugged at me since neither of those enterprises seem remotely profitable to CSB and me. The article’s writer claimed to know of a beekeeper who in one year earned more money than the President of the United States. It was in the New York Times, so I have to believe it was true.
Because it was hard to read on the computer screen, I printed up the article, but instead of being easier to read, it was much much harder and in fact required a magnifying glass because what the printer spat out was – of its own volition – a miniaturized copy of the entire newspaper page. And there at the bottom of the page was a small paragraph about beds: “ Twin Beds Growing in Favor”. Based of watching television in the fifties and sixties, I had always assumed that twin beds were a uniquely American phenomenon.
I was wrong. In 1903 twin beds were just beginning to invade the American consciousness. Twins are described as a custom brought over from Europe. Doctors started prescribing twin beds as a cure for nervousness. Mattress manufacturers rushed to fill the need. And thus, Ozzie and Harriet were made possible.
It seems to me that if you are going to the trouble and expense of ingesting the potent Yemeni honey, you are unlikely to want twin beds.

1 comment:

Rebecca Rice said...

When reading your blog, in which you so wittily link honey, Osama bin Laden, Yemen, and the history of twin beds, I can only think of this quote from Shakespeare:
"O wonderful, wonderful, and most wonderful wonderful!"

Thanks for lifting me up on this rainy Monday morning.