Published: May 3rd 2006May 3rd 2006
Left for the airport monday morning the flight was meant to leave at 8am ofcourse it didnt but the 5 hour delay was not so bad because I met Japanese lad named Taka who I have been travelling with since.
The service on the plane consisted of a mint and two glasses of water (flash back to Kyrgiz Air in 2004), so I didnt end up eating for 11 hours, strangely the plane flew over Sayun went all the way to a place called Al Gayda near the Omani border (see map below) dropped half the people off then picked up more and then flew to Sayun (Sayoon). Ended up being a long annoying flight, however as soon as the plane decended over Wadi Hadramawt the incredible scenery blew away any annoyance in second.
The wadi is about 165km long and 12km wide at the widest piont, and can be best described as a canyon surrounded by cliffs, the plateau above is dead looking desert stretching as far as the eye can see. Inside the wadi its green there is water and a smattering of villages and farms.
Sayun is the capital of the region and has a
few mostly Islamic sights (Al-Habshi Tomb, Al-Haddad Mosque) which took all of an hour to see and that includes the small museum in the Sultan's Palace. Sayun is not what I came here to see although the facilities are good.
I am here to see the Wadi, Tarim and Shiban (I know another one), so bright and early Tuesday morning Taka and I negotiated a taxi to Tarim which is about 40 km north up the wadi. The drive there was great took some excellent photos of camels (Yamels in Arabic), castles and tombs along the way.
Tarim is an attractive town although not as attractive as Thilla and we walked around for an hour or so be for climbing up the canyon wall to get some shots from above. After slipping and sliding back down we visited the Al-Ahgaf Manuscript Library in the souk pretty dull that, but the strong sweet tea with the Arab men made up for it as did the attractive Al-Muhdar Mosque.
We stopped to take a few shots one of the Tomb of Ahmed Bin Eisa the Emigrant on the way back which was good because the drivers here floor it
Islamic sites in Sayun
Al-Habshi Tomb and Al-Haddad Mosque
everywhere they go and it is hard to focus.
It was then time for a siesta before our taxi driver returned to take us to Shibam the real attraction of Wadi Hadramawt. Old Shibam there is a new one too (that makes three Shibam's, four if you include the cartoon LOL) is an incredible town of 500 year old skyscrapers that cover roughly 300 x 300 metres and looks like one big block. We wandered around inside the city for a good two hours before climbing the hillside to take some photos late in the afternoon.
Old Shibam is a living breathing town and has more goats wandering the streets than people, it was actually a bit squalid and smelly in the town itself but the buildings are outstanding. Before we exited Shibam we stumbled on about 50 men playing dominos, the atmosphere was electric with yelling and screaming men throwing dominos all over the place, it was pretty cool.
Been going to bed around 8 each night as there is little else to do, this results in rising at the crack of dawn every morning, I wonder how long that will last when I get home.
Its wednesday morning I had an orange and two banana's for breakfast, Haka is trying to get a seat on the flight to Sana a this afternoon, I am already on it so will head to the airport around 1pm.
The flight was short and I had a window so I got a few good shots I am particularly happy with the Marib Damn because I didnt even know we were going over Marib until the male air hostess told me, funny bloke, he then showed me the bootleg whiskey he was smuggling into the country.
When I get to Sana a I will check into a hotel and then go load the latest photos to the blog. I have two full days left in Yemen and plan to make the most of it.
There are more photos below