Salmon Fishing In The Yemen

When I mentioned the movie Salmon Fishing in the Yemen at dinner last night, three people piped up that they had read the book by Paul Torday.

The premise of salmon fishing in the desert made everyone ask, “is this a true story?”

Almost any story about bringing water thus life to the desert seems to be preposterous.  But did you know in the Egyptian desert are whale fossils with legs?  Have you read there are signs that Sahel, a semi-desert zone along the Sahara, is becoming green?

Tim Mackintosh-Smith, the British writer and Yemen expert, wrote in his review that twenty years ago he came upon a man fishing with a pole and a string in a wadi.  Like this man, he said Torday’s book is about the belief in the impossible and belief itself.

The Arabian Peninsula is a land guided by faith.  Every year HRH King Abdullah, Keeper of the Holy Mosque, and his men perform their Islamic rain dance.

While growing up in Saudi Arabia, my step-father told us they were discussing the idea of towing an iceberg from Antarctica across the Indian Ocean into the Arabian Gulf.  Granted half of it would melt, but if the iceberg was large enough ….

There was also an idea for a kind of desert terrarium that people could live in.  The ideas never materialized but simply knowing these ideas existed made me believe the movie’s premise that desert sheikhs will try impossible things.

Actor Ewan McGregor plays the British fisheries-expert who is hired by the Yemeni-Sheikh to figure out how to populate the Yemen with British salmon.  As it turns out the very, very, VERY rich Sheikh loves fly fishing in which he finds many metaphysical lessons.

As soon as I saw McGregor I fell under the movie’s spell.  For I remembered him as the young Albert Finney in the movie Big Fish, the story of son who discovers the people in his father’s “tall-tale” life were real.  And whose father believed that all myths and legends stem from some truth.  How that truth is interpreted by future generations depends on the stories men craft around it.

If you would like to see a movie about possibilities that pokes fun at politics and has romance, I suggest Salmon Fishing in the Yemen.  In Bahrain, it is currently playing at City Center.



Tales by Chapter

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