MP on tour, or not

Sana’a, pearl of the Middle East

or so my tour guide tells me. It is a pretty special city and I’m sitting here stuffing my face with mezza, samboush and an exquisitely marinated mixed grill of goat and chicken, while uploading today’s photos. Another lazy gallery

Contrary to expectations, internet here is fine so at least the beginning and end of my Yemen stay will see me well connected.

The people here are amazingly friendly, kids follow me around, drivers stop in the street to shake my hand and welcome me to Yemen. Oh God, there’s a minced meat kebab on my plate that I want to marry.

So here is awesome, getting here was a bit of a chore. It started well with me tagging along with a bunch of backpackers on their boat ride to Salima followed by a cushy minibus ride straight to the gates of the Korea Garden.

There I caught up with Grant, a friend of a friend who’s doing amazing things with Wiimax in Malawi. Have I mentioned that there’s fresh fish in the mixed grill as well?

A good night’s sleep later I was off to the airport to start the long haul in short hops back up Africa to Cairo. Happily Ahmed had sorted me a ride from the airport and I snored my way back to the lodge. I collapsed in my room about 3am. Had I known how good this baba ghanoush would be I would have been dreaming about it.

Later that morning I got up and set out to buy some more modest clothing for my trip to Yemen based on the guide book’s exhortations. Cairo’s Carrefour to the rescue and I picked up a couple of pairs of trousers and a long sleeved shirt that’s catching all the tabouleh I’m not managing to unhale.

Then last night it was back to the airport. Just three flights last night, Cairo to Doha, Doha to Dubai and Dubai to Sana’a, arriving at 9am this morning. After a lot of ‘Salaam Aleikum’ and ‘wa-aleikum Salaam’ I got out of the airport and into the clutches of Abdul, my Sana’a tour guide. Dinner’s gone now so the running food commentary is over, although they do make a mean glass of strong sweet tea with mint.

Abdul took me on a bit of a driving tour around Sana’a including a visit to the military museum which seemed to mostly consist of cars with bullet holes showing attempts to assassinate the current president, who unlike his three predecessors has managed to survive into ripe old age.

After that it was back to the hotel and a walking tour of the old city which is where all the photos you see here were taken. That finished a couple of hours ago and after a quick rest I was down here feasting away as described above.

All in all a very good first day in a new country and I have a very good feeling about getting out to the island tomorrow. I’ll be leaving the computer behind so there will definitely be no updates from the island, but I have secured a Yemeni sim card and will endeavour to stay in contact wherever possible, at least with Mum 😉

Once again, thanks for listening to my ravings, and I’ll be back again, hopefully from here uploading my Socotra pics while feasting once again. Later…

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