We thought Yemen might turn out to
be a bit of a challenge, certainly if our correspondence with the local
travel agent was anything to go by. Amongst the items on the very
detailed invoice was one for "military escort"! I had been warned that
Yemen is full of drug-crazed, heavily armed, but very hospitable people.
That is something of an exaggeration; they only get high in the afternoon,
they do not carry their AK47's openly on the streets of Sana'a (only outside
the capital), but they are very friendly, welcoming and hospitable.
Unfortunately, even before we
left the UK the security situation deteriorated to the extent that we
were prevented from driving across the interior, forcing us to fly instead;
it meant we visited places we would otherwise not have had time for.
It subsequently transpired that the "security situation" was Ramadan and, as
a consequence, the police in that region were all on holiday.
Meanwhile in Sana'a, the capital, there was a multiple car bomb attack on the
US embassy the day we arrived, just to make us feel at home and to convince
us that the obsessive security was all worthwhile.
Still, it has some of the most fascinating
architecture in the world plus "oldest continually inhabited city"
(which we couldn't visit) and Shibam, Manhattan of the desert...quite
spectacular and well worth the effort.
We will be back, though not