Wednesday, January 20, 2010

Sunday, January 17, 2010

A Trip to Manakhah & Al-Hajjarh

This past Friday, Stephanie and I went with Beverly, a YALI teacher, and our boss--Sabri Saleem--to visit the town Sabri grew up in: Manakhah.
As you can see, we had a little trouble getting our car started after stopping by in a small village to have a breakfast of 'foul,' so Sabri decided to take the Mercedes...
From left to right is Beverly, Vincent and Sabri. You can see the door to the roadside restaurant behind the Toyota truck...
The following few shots are from the Highlands of Yemen, looking down into the valleys. We drove down to the base of the mountain range before again climbing back up.
Here we are approaching Sabri's hometown, Manakhah.
Pulling out of Manakhah to head towards Al-Hajjarh, the Mercedes broke down for what would be the first time. Sabri stayed with his car while the rest of us took the "Ottoman Trail." It was a wonderful one-hour walk through (and up) the mountains. (It's called the "Ottoman Trail" as it is the path built by the Ottomans to subjugate the Yemeni Highlanders more than a century ago.)
The preceeding photos (and the next) are of what was once a Jewish village. It was evacuated following Israel's independence in 1948.
Guess who?
Al-Hajjarh in the distance. It was the summer residence of Queen Arwa.
Stephanie getting up close and personal with a herd of goats. Our guide Mohammad is to the right.
Vincent and Beverly on the Ottoman Trail, passing a goatherdess.
A shepherd driving his flock. By far, Stephanie was the most agile in the mountain range apart from our guide.
Now that's a lot of Qat!
Stephanie hamming it up while Mohammed explains to Sabri that we took a short cut to Al-Hajjarh!
Vincent and Beverly bringing up the rear.
We're close now!
At the city limits...
The city of Al-Hajjarh.
The city overlooks a valley that is quite green in the summer.
The city's Jewish quarter. Also evacuated after 1948.
A couple young residents...
Stephanie's photos: a baby heymar (donkey).
Heading up another mountain to get some lunch. Only Mohammad's family lived on this particular mountain with his wife and four kids.
Three of Mohammad's four children.
"Bayt Mohammad."
An excavation site for the future summer home of Sabri Saleem.
Picturesque mountain scenes...
Bayt Mohammad.
One of his sons peeking from the doorway...
Political Party emblems. The one on top (sun) is for the Islah party, the other (horse) is for the ruling party, the GPC.
Broken down by the side of the road in the middle of nowhere. Most Yemenis stopped to help us, but we were determined to get Sabri's Mercedes back to Sana'a. A two-hour trip from the city, it took us more than four hours to return!
Twilight in the Yemeni Highlands!