Calendar   Home
Previous Day

March 21, 2002

Next Day
We drive Northwest out of Sana'a, through Yemeni highlands, on a road that will take us to the Red Sea. The Yemen roads between villages have two lanes and smooth tarmac. We listen to our guide, Ahmed, a liberal Muslim, argue about theology with our driver, Muhammad, a fundamentalist. Ahmed calls Mohammad a silly Bedouin. Mohammad wants Shari'a law to be more strictly enforced. He prays constantly under his breath. He won't touch alcohol. Ahmed wears Western clothing and is willing to take a drink or two. They both have a good sense of humor. It's interesting to listen to two people talk with opposite views about Islam. Ahmed teases Mohammad; he argues for women judges, qat chewing, bars with alcohol. Mohammad becomes quiet and drives faster when he gets upset. Meanwhile, we pass many mountain villages. Most notable is Manakha, a stone village in the middle of terraced hillsides. Each village displays different architecture from its neighbors. The people decorate their houses in subtley different ways - round, angular, even arrow shaped windows built in houses of mud or whitewashed stone with various archways, doorways, and cupolas. The landscape gradually flattens. At last we pass through a steep sided canyon and reach the humid coastal zone, Tihama, on the Red Sea. We stop for the night in the port city of Al Hudayda.
Al Hoteib, another beautiful Yemeni village. This one is famous for having Indian pilgrims.
Al Huydayda's fish market. What's a girl like you doing in a place like this? (Women don't come to the fishmarket)
Yemeni builders love fancy windows.