15th February 2010
We are here and it is all good. In fact it is great and amazing. Met up with the group today and headed out to explore the old town of Saana. One of WF stalwarts, Gloria, is on the trip. I mee her in Botswana 5 years ago when she had her first attempt at camping and erecting tents amongst wildlife in the Okavango Delta. I expect her camping skills to be highly refined by now. Besides the odd European looking student of Arabic, embassy staff and various UN workers, the town is deserted of European presence. 80% of the staff at our hotels are from Ethiopia – much to my delight as I can practice my ever emerging Amharic. Since I studies at SOAS and got acquainted with the combined history of ancient Ethiopia and Yemen, it has been my dream to work in these two countries – and this is exactly what I am doing. It is by far the most fascinating part of our world today – from ancient times until present day, this is where things are happening.
We, however, had a relaxed and slowly paced day wandering throught the old city since the museum was closed for one reason or the other. We have an extra day in Saana due to flight cancellations to Socotra – a chance to visit some new areas in the surrounds and go shopping for a new camera (for me as I fell down a boulder and broke the lens on my large lump of digital SLR) and presents for the host communities on the trek. We also managed to be invited into a mosque which is something that does not happen frequently here. We just finished our dinner at the roof top terrace with views of the old city of Sanaa. It is getting late, and with the knowledge that I will be woken at 04.30am bed is calling!