Blogs from Yemen, Middle East


Middle East » Yemen November 11th 2015

Geo: 12.1788, 44.308Last night we changed time zones for the second time. We are now eleven hours ahead of the time at home. This is the fourth of five sea days in a row. We had breakfast in the Colonnade then spent the morning in the suite reading, writing and relaxing. We passed through the Bab el Mandeb Strait at the bottom of the Red Sea this morning. Islands of Yemen were visible off the port side from our suite. When we went to breakfast, we sat on the starboard side and could see islands of Djibouti out that window. This morning we entered the internationally recognized transit zone of the Gulf of Aden which is protected (by a coalition of the European Union Naval Force Somalia) and will stay in it until tomorrow evening when ... read more
Islands off Yemen

Middle East » Yemen June 17th 2014

14/06/14 At sea. During the day we will continue our voyage on a South Westerly course towards the Gulf of Aden. Sometime during the day we will leave on our starboard side the coast of Oman. Oman is an Arab state in the southwest of Asia on the southwest coast of the Arabian Peninsula. It has a strategically important position at the mouth of the Persian Gulf. It is bordered by the United Arab Emirates, to the northwest, Saudi Arabia to the west, and Yemen to the southwest. It also shares marine borders with Iran and Pakistan. Last night we went and saw an English performer by the name of Paul Hughes who specialises in swing music in the style of Frank Sinatra, Bobby Darrin etc. He was phenomenal, he also did the Drifters, Michael Buble, ... read more

Middle East » Yemen October 14th 2012

Time flies and it was time to go towards Italy and catch the train back to Germany, WAIL!! From Barcelonnette to Cuneo in Italy was nothing as the crow flies, the thing is that crows don't get interested in making a little detour. I do, once over the border there was yet another Col, Col de Lombardie and who am I to fight my inner demons crave to see and drive over yet another place of fun. Anyway there was a lot of traffic going up and I followed suit, they all went to sunday church up there in the mountains and it being sunday there were a lot of sunday drivers about, aka slow going. I went up there with them and they got the word of the Lord and I got a nice view. ... read more
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Middle East » Yemen » Sana'a July 26th 2010

"Welcome to Yemen" Nous voila arrives au bout du premier vollet de ce voyage. Nos familles peuvent etre rassurees, nous sommes sains et saufs, et pour être honnnetes nous ne nous sommes jamais sentis en grand danger au Yemen... Pourtant, en venant d'Oman, nous avions a traverser une des zones reputees les plus dangereuses du pays, un immense desert qui serait le fief des hommes de Ben Laden. Ce que nous y avons decouvert ressemblait plus a un jardin d'eden qu'a un camps d'entrainement pour apprentis terroristes ! En depis de tous nous efforts pour passer inapercus (Pascal en djelaba !), les deux "fransawis" deviennent rapidement la principale curiosité du bus. "Welcome to Yemen", on nous donne a boire, a manger, a chiquer ... le douanier lui meme insiste pour nous offrir un cadeau de bienvenue ... read more
Petite halte spirituelle chez les soeurs de Mère Theresa
El Souk
Chewing Qat

Middle East » Yemen » Socotra July 17th 2010

For some reasons I end up always travelling across islands. I am not choosing them. They are choosing me. For some reasons they end up being always on my path, and I have no other choice than taking them! Not that I have other plans anyway. I am not obsessed with islands( and besides, even if I would be, would I be conscious of it? obsessions are so often unconscious gifts of our minds). I love travelling them, that’s for sure, and I love the way they call me through space. I think every island is different. Every islands is like a little piece of earth floating through time. It’s a world separated from the others, and yet so connected to the others. It’s so independent from main land, and yet so relative to them. An ... read more
Unexpected Socotra
Unexpected Socotra
Unexpected Socotra

Middle East » Yemen » Sana'a June 25th 2010

How did I end up here? Sitting in a mosque in Sana’a during evening prayer, I am the only non-Muslim amongst the 500 men who are standing, kneeling and praying in ordered lines. From my squatted position in the centre of the mosque, the men clothed in traditional Yemeni garments tower over me, as their gentle reverential and sonorous iterations fall upon my ears. This experience commenced a few hours earlier whilst wandering though the souqs in Sana’a, that cacophony of hawking and haggling where I was often accosted by different people. There was the man who informed me that Yemeni women made great wives, and he spoke with some authority since he had three of them. Then there was an elderly man who walked beside me as we weaved through the shopping frenzy and the ... read more
My guide, Dr Manea Al-Hazmi (left) and friend - Sana'a
Village of Atefer - Haraz Mountains, Yemen
Village of Wadi Dahar - Haraz Mountains, Yemen

Middle East » Yemen » Sana'a June 23rd 2010

Seeing the broken wreckage of a military helicopter near the runway of Sana’a International Airport as my flight landed confirmed most people’s impressions of Yemen - a dangerous and lawless land where there is an average of three guns for every man, woman and child the country. The other impression of a conservative and closeted country was apparent earlier on my flight, for if one turned their gaze from the landscape of burnt hills that arose from the pale desert, they would notice that every woman on the flight wore a niqab. Many people had warned me away from visiting here due to the security situation, but the lure of the Old City of Sana’a proved too strong. Yemen’s claim of being the poorest country on the Arabian peninsula became quickly apparent. Gone were the modern ... read more
Sunrise in the beautiful city of Sana'a, Yemen
Boy working in father's tailor store - Yemen, Sana'a
Market area within Sana'a, Yemen

Middle East » Yemen » Sana'a June 16th 2010

I fell in love with Yemen the moment I stepped out of the airport. I was tired. I had to wait for the visa at the airport for two hours after landing. That too after a long sleepless night in Dubai. The good thing about the whole ordeal was the experience of going through it. Surprisingly, it was. Under normal circumstances one will be worried at the airport without a visa especially when your passport has also been taken away by the authorities, you don’t know anyone in the country you are visiting and your phone is not working. The guy at the immigration counter told me that the visa was not there and I would have to wait. I was offered water to drink while I waited for the visa to arrive. The guy kept ... read more
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Middle East » Yemen » Sana'a May 7th 2010

From the previous post people will know I loved Yemen and had a great time in Sana'a and then in Aden. Travel was restricted by the government, mainly to protect foreigners from the attentions of the tribal folks who like to kidnap people to pressure the GOY to help them - and for money! So this was pretty frustrating, particularly when you are trying to work in the rural sector. Eventually we did get permission to go north from Sana'a City (the capital) to Amran City which lies a couple of hours drive north. Amran is rather unsafe because of its proximity to the area where the Houthi rebels are fighting the government and where there are large numbers of displaced person. But our trip was uneventful and fun. I went with a delightful colleague, Sara ... read more
Castle in Yemen
Displaced Persons

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