Day in Sana’a

After 21 hours, we easily avoiding whatever anti-Saleh protests might be going on here in the capital—and we accomplished what we wanted to do here in the process.  If you’ve ever heard us gush about how nice people were in Jordan, we have the same things to say here in Sana’a…

First mission was to head to the Felix Airways office to pay for some ticket reservations I made over Skype several weeks back.  The woman behind the desk quickly said: “are you Vinod?  I talked to you on the phone!”  She was incredibly efficient and nice, but then the mood soured when she suggested we be at the airport at 4am tomorrow.

Next we set off for our only planned tourist jaunt of the day—a stroll through the Souq al-Milh.  It’s a giant market with stall after stall selling everything from saffron to knockoff Arsenal jerseys to donkeys.  We weaved through the narrow alleys of the Souk to a constant yelling of ‘welcome to Yemen!’ from the shopkeepers and not an ounce of pressure to purchase something.

Then this guy randomly introduced himself to us asking us where we were from—his name is Mohammed:

What did we learn about Mohammed?  All you need to know is that we learned that he once studied in Tucson, Arizona and enjoyed eating chimichangas there.  We got some fresh lemon juice at this little juice shop in the souk with him:

I’m terribly uncomfortable taking pictures of people (especially with pricey photo gear in hand), so I sadly don’t have any other pictures of the Souq.  Which is really terrible because there were so many amazing sights (and smells) here.

But here at least is a high-noon photo taken from the top of the Burj Al Salam Hotel inside the Old City.  Killer photos could probably be had here with better light, but we were much too tired to drag ourselves back over again at sunset. 

Our day ended very oddly shortly ago at the “Broadway” restaurant in the Sheraton Sana’a.  I’ll try to paint the picture for you as it was too dark (and empty) to surreptitiously take photos in there.  Imagine a 70s looking lounge/bar.  Then hang up all kinds of random American stuff on the walls—New York Fire Department t-shirts, Boston Red Sox and Houston Texans signs, a Martin Luther King poster, etc.

Then it gets weirder when three Koreans start performing.  And we’re the only people dining.  (Amazingly, we have actually witnessed a Korean singing trio at the Sheraton in Kampala, Uganda as well!)  While there is no photographic proof, I did snag a minute of audio on my iPhone.  You might notice that between songs we forgot to clap.

I’ll probably post later some logistical practicalities about moving around the city, but otherwise that’s all there is to say about Sana’a for now.  Internet access will be severely limited at our next destination, so please check back in on Friday.

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