Body LanguageBus route gestures: Bab Al-Yemen roundabout [Archives:2007/1014/Culture]
Driving a Yemeni bus and calling riders to get on is slightly problematic because buses have numerous routes, but often use the same departure point.
In order for riders to communicate with bus drivers, Yemenis created gestures and signs that easily refer to where buses are going. In the past, illiterate men dominated as bus drivers, so both drivers and riders needed a way to communicate with each other. Once citizens became more educated, the bus's direction was written on its front, as well as coloring certain routes red, yellow or green.
In this issue we will talk about the gestures of Bab Al-Yemen Street. There are numours gestures bus drivers and passengers use. Such gestures mostly depend on the direction the bus will take.
Bab Al-Yemen is the departure point for nine different buses heading different ways. The first is Bab Al-Yemen-Hail. It begins from Bab Al-Yemen and ends in Hail, “When going to Hail Street or coming back to Bab Al-Yemen, we have to pass through Al-Zubairi Street. In Al-Zubairi, whether we are going to Hail Street or Bab Al-Yemen we motion our forefinger forward,” said Anwar Hizam, a bus driver. Bab Al-Yemen-Shumaila district as well uses the same gestures, “Go straight we motion our forefinger forward,” said bus driver Ali Mohammed Al-Hazwara. Bab Al-Yemen-Al-Safya people are sticking out the thumb and pointing to the right side, “When we are at Taiz round, we point to the right side. It is like merry-go-round so that we always point out to the right direction,” Ahmed Al-Harazi, a bus driver.
Abdullah Ali Al-Hawsali, a representative and Hifthullah Al-Rabidi, a bus driver of Al-Hasaba- Bab Al-Yemen said they use no gestures when going to Al-Hasaba or Bab Al-Yemen. People who use buses of Bab Al-Yemen-Tahreer also use no gestures; they call the riders saying “Tahreer” or “Bab Al-Yemen.” The gestures of Bab Al-Yemen-Hail-Mathbah drivers and passengers is to motion the forefinger to the left side, “It is because we go straight and turn left,” said Ahmed Al-Yarimi, a bus driver.
“People motion using their both hands as if they drawing a door in the air to indicate the picture of Bab Al-Yemen. However, this gesture is mostly used by the passengers,” Al-Yarimi commented. Ali Al-Badawi, a bus driver added, “Buses of Bab Al-Yemen-Hadda drivers use this gesture when coming back to Bab Al-Yemen.”
Bus drivers of Bab Al-Yemen-Asr point to the right side when going to Asr, however, when coming back people use two hand gestures, “We motion our forefinger forward when going from Asr to Kentucky round, however, from Kentucky to Bab Al-Yemen we motion our forefinger forward,” Molatif Al-Ateela, a bus driver. For Bab Al-Yemen-Shamlan bus drivers move their forefinger in a circular manner until they reach the New University. When coming back; from Kentucky round to Bab Al-Yemen, people motion to the left side,” Mohammed Qazwan.
The color of the routs depend on the departure point, “If the rout is yellow means the departure point is Al-Hasaba, if it is red, the departure point is Tahreer and if it is green the departure point is Bab-Al-Yemen,” Al-Hawsali added.