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March 26, 2002

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From our base at Sey'un, we drive through Hadramawt towns of towering mud brick buildings. In the surrounding fields, women farm land under a relentless sun and wear witches hats made from straw. We cover our own heads as we pass through police checkpoints. Under veil and turban, pretending to be asleep in the backseat, we look like Yemenis. The police let us through without knowing we’re foreigners. We learned later that some of them came to our hotel looking for the two Americans, but our hotel thinks we're from Singapore, so they stopped looking for us there. We don’t want a large police escort attracting attention. We drive through Shibam, Al Qatn, Al Mashad, and Al Hajjarayn. Al Hajjarayn displays the most striking views; it grows outs of the valley's cliff walls and rocky slopes.
Yemeni couple along the road leaving Al Hajjarayn
Not scarecrows or witches, women farmers veiled in black.
Tough farmers. How they stand the sun under those clothes is a mystery to us.