Weekend trip with new friends

Sana'a Travel Blog

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That's Kawkaban at the top ... we climbed up. Well, we tried looking for a taxi to take us round the back but no luck.

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It is Thursday, first day of the weekend.  What else do you do in Yemen apart from walking and climbing to remote fortified mountain villages?

We climbed steps carved into a 500m cliff from Shibam to Kawkaban (top of cliff). Beautiful Blonde Becky ('BBB') started in her abayah (black robe and headscarf) but it was all too much in the midday heat and the layers came off until she was in her T-shirt and jeans. She did restore her full decency just before we reached the village at the top.

At another village, we were offered USD1000 plus two shops in exchange for BBB.

Up at Kawkaban.
Some of the men thought she was Syrian or Lebanese as she spoke fluent Arabic with a different accent.

The most impressive village so far was the fortified hilltop village of Al Hajjarah ... Picture 1 and Picture 2.

My new friends

The hostel has a good mix of people from the USA, UK, Western and Eastern Europe. Numbers wise, Americans dominate ... which is really suprising as I've seldom encountered them in previous Middle Eastern trips (but we are talking about Syria and Iran).

Most are fluent in Arabic. Some are doing a circuit of courses through different countries to supplement their degree (language or political science usually) ... a few have studied in Syria, are now in Yemen and plan to continue in Morocco.

While I'm often the linguist when travelling with Kim, I feel like a complete dumbo now. And its not just language-wise. Some of them have adapted so well:

  • They wear the local moa or sarong. They can even tuck their cellphone (and money) in the 'knot' of the sarong ... and even retrieve it when it rings ... without unravelling the sarong or having it fall around their ankles.
  • Some wear the traditional dagger or jambiya every day.
  • They don't use toilet paper but water (and left hand).
  • They can tear chicken off the bone with a piece of bread in their right hand (without even raising their left or unclean hand).


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Thats Kawkaban at the top ... we …
That's Kawkaban at the top ... we…
Up at Kawkaban.
Up at Kawkaban.
View of Shibam from the Kawkaban.
View of Shibam from the Kawkaban.
Children wanting photos taken at t…
Children wanting photos taken at …
The cistern at Hababah.
The cistern at Hababah.
photo by: alexchan