Yansoon and Pepsi

Yansoon and Pepsi are my best friends.

At times, being a Mormon in the Middle East means offending people. It’s not that any of our major doctrines are especially offensive to Arabs, or even that they come up in casual conversation.

The problem is that we don’t drink coffee or tea. And what is the first question asked when you make a new acquaintance? An offer for coffee or tea.

That’s why yansoon and Pepsi are my best friends. By the time I’ve turned down coffee and tea, those are basically the only two remaining alternatives. I don’t even bother mentioning that in America, as a rule, I don’t drink caffeinated beverages . Among coffee, tea, and Pepsi, the latter is the lesser of all evils.

Yansoon is another acceptable beverage. In Damascus, its functional equivalent was zuhurat. It’s a simple herbal (?) tea that tastes vaguely like licorice.

Today, I turned down an offer of coffee or tea from different neighbors four times, had two cups of yansoon, and almost had a third. I guess it’s a good thing I like it.

Locked in

My Adventures in Syria: Welcome (back) to Sham