Conversation: Omar from Yemen

Ride start: West Oakland BART station

Ride end: Trader Joe’s

Ride length: ~15 minutes

Rolling in: a red Toyota Camry

My driver: A native of Yemen, Omar was a middle aged guy that had been in the States
since 1990. He spent nearly a decade in SF middle_east98before moving to Michigan for a few years and then came back to the west coast

Memorable moment: When a Christmas song that started with a very deep, low volume hum came on the radio, I thought it was him singing. He must’ve thought that it was me singing because we both turned to face each other at the same time and burst into laughter. More accurately, I burst into giggles and he into the kind of controlled chuckles that can only come out of a serious Middle Eastern man.

We talked about: He asked me where I was from and when I shared that my mother is Iranian, he told me that he’s heard Iran is a rich country. I told him Iran might be, but we’re certainly not rich. Omar said he thinks Iran is rich because it has large oil reserves but he quickly added that the “oil money” is probably in the hands of the government. He said that’s the way it works back in his country, in Yemen. Everyone from his immediate family now lives in the States, but he has a sister who has chosen to remain there because her husband has a lucrative job working with the government. They live off of “government money”.

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