Friday, January 9, 2009

Yemen 2008 - Sana

The flight from Dubai to San'a may have been less than two hours; however, despite the fact that both cities are located within the Arabian Peninsula, the contrast between the two places could not have been greater. In both cities' national museums, they sport photos comparing how the cities look not, compared to the past. Dubai of course looks nothing like it did some 30 years ago. In Sana's national museum though, the photos show just how little things have changed since cameras were first invented. In fact, many of the structures located within the walled old city are now over 400 hundred years old, making Sana's sensationally preserved old city a UNESCO world heritage site.
My hotel, the Felix Arabia was centrally located within three traditional Yemeni houses overlooking a courtyard. Like in neighboring Saudi Arabia, alcohol is difficult to find in Yemen. However, this problem is alleviated greatly once one discovers the local's favorite vegetable, khat - a stimulant which is chewed daily by Yemenis and found all over Yemen. One can spend hours chewing on khat while exploring the labyrinth-like old city with its many striking houses and shopping in the many souks. Perhaps the most bustling of these souks is the Souk al-Milh, which runs from the old city's main entrance Bab al-Yaman.
For more photos from this trip, check here:

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