street bottles, Hadibo, Socotra
friendly neighbourhood flight controller, Socotra
Yemenia flight loads for Aden (without me)
my $20 hotel room, Wadi Hadramout Tourist Hotel, Sanaa, Yemen
a CLEAN bathroom, Wadi Hadramout Tourist Hotel, Sanaa, Yemen
me in my $20 hotel room, Wadi Hadramout Tourist Hotel, Sanaa, Yemen
restaurant where I drink coffee, Sanaa, Yemen
KFC Amusement Park, shared with Pizza Hut, Sanaa, Yemen
big mosque, Sanaa, Yemen
same big mosque, Sanaa, Yemen
same old big mosque, Sanaa, Yemen
the end of the Bridal Gown District, Sanaa, Yemen
400 Yr lunch!
outside my window is the Old City of Sanaa
walkin down this street in Sanaa
walkin down this street in Sanaa
kids run down the street in Sanaa
Old City, Sanaa
Babel Yemen tower, Sanaa

February 19th, 2009

So anyway I had an interesting time at the airport. Got there early for my flight, and had to hange out for a while. About 20 Indian women came into the departure area, and I can’t even begin to tell you how happy that made me. Here in Yemen, almost every woman is dressed head to toe in black, faces covered. Though black is elegant, and occasionaly someone wears sequins around her wrists, and occasionaly you might see blue jeans beneath the hijab, woman here, as I said before are almost invisible. But this crowd of women were dressed in their best saris were all the colors of the rainbow, saffron and orange to crimson, scarlet, violet, blue, sea foam green and white silk.

I began to look forward to Mumbai. Only thing is, after I got my boarding pass, the guy who gave it to me called me back from the departure lounge, and told me I couldn’t fly to India without a Visa. I was a little taken aback as everywhere I’ve been so far, I could get a visa at the airport. So they went and took my bag off the airplane and after I got it, the bag zipper was open, and my computer was missing! I couldn’t believe it!

Things just weren’t going my way! My video camera is broken (I think it’s a loose wire on the CCD’s but I couldn’t seem to open up the part where the CCD’s are. Then my new difital started giving my trouble. It wouldn’t open all the way, and kept shutting down. To make matters worse, yesterday some guy on the street offered to sell me a REALLY NICE digital camera for $100 Said he got it from Ali Baba. It was probably worth somewhere in the $1000 range, but I have a theory if people don’t buy stolen goods, then maybe less stuff would get stolen. Not to mention the bad karma. He even dropped the price to $50. He was really persistent. But I finally convinced him I wasn’t gonna buy it. Part of me thinks I shoulda bought it tho. So lossing my computer was kind of a big BIG blow. I di have all my new stuff and pictures backed up onto my memory stick, but I was hoping to get some writing done with that computer.

So the airport security guys called the cops and we phoned my hotel just in case I had somehow left it behind, but I was pretty sure I packed it. So we’re all sitting around and they began checking security cameras and stuff, and I went through my bag and found my computer in the big part of my bag! So, I had to tell the cops I’d found it. The Yemenia guys said it would take a day to get my Visa, so I rebooked my flight for the 19th and took a cab back to Hotel Wadi Hadramat.

I went to the internet café and downloaded a visa application form and got the address of the Indian Embassy, had a cup of coffee, stopped at a store at bought Lee a belt with his name on it. I might keep it for a while cause mine looks like its gonna snap soon. The rivets that hold the snaps for the belt buckle have eaten through the leather. Maybe I’ll just but another Lee belt and wear that. Maybe not.

Next day:

February 18th, 2009

I got up early and went to a photo place on Tahrir square and got my wallet size picture taken. It cost me 400 Yr ($2) for 8 pictures. I had an interesting egg salad sandwhich and shai bi halib, ten took a cab to the Indian Embassy. Turns out it takes 5 days to get a Visa and they wanted to keep my passport. So I left it here and walked to a really big mosque nearby, took some pics and then realized it was on the same road that runs past my hotel, so I decided to walk back to the hotel. I ended up walking theough the infamous “Wedding Gown” district until I got to a place I recognized, then turned down a street where I was told on my first day in Sanaa Yemenia head office was located. I finally found it and passed by an Egyptian Air office. So after I changed my ticket to Mumbai to the 26th. The 24th was 5 days from today, but I figured I’d better leave a couple days clear of that. I had a gret lunch nearby Yemenia, roasted chicken, cucumber salad, rice and flatbread and a couple of Canada Dry colas for 400Yr. Way cheaper (and quite a bit better) than I’ve had here. Too bad it’s such a long walk from my hotel. I decided to stop at Egypt Air to get a printout of my return ticket from Cairo to London as I’d lost the Internet printout of the flight. Took a while to find cause I wasn’t sure of the date or anything. Got that done. Felt good about getting all that stuff done before noon.

I stopped on the way back at the Internet café and chatted online with Matthew, then went for a coffee. I guess this is a good place to retract my calim that Yemeni coffee is the greatest in the world. Turns out I was mistaken. On Socotra, nobody made any coffee that didn’t taste remarkably like Buckley’s cough syrup, and the coffee everywhere else in Yemen is usually made from Nescafe. Though it’s sometimes good, most often it’s really bad. So, best coffee so far goes to Ethiopia. The Brazilian guy claims Brazilian coffee is the best, but I hated the coffee in Brazil, so I wouldn’t count it being the best. Bar Italia might actually have the best cappucino in the world though.

Where was I?

Oh yeah, Yemen. I stopped for kafwa bi halib, and there was an Italian couple there WITH MAPS! Not just any maps, but MAPS PHOTOCOPIED FROM LONELY PLANET ONLY BIGGER! Not only that, but they gave me a map of the Old City of Sanaa. And guess what? My hotel is right next to the old city. In fact, I can see it from my hotel room window! That was a pretty exciting discovery.

Not so happy was the fact I lost the airplane ticket from Egyptian Airlines. Then I founf out I’ve lost my memory stick. I SEARCHED EVERYWHERE FOR BOTH THINGS. Gone! I went back to the grocery store cause I thought I mighta lost the ticket there. When I tried to explain I had lost my ariline ticket with gestures, I ended up with a piece of halva the size of an airplane ticket, and a kilo of dates. Time to watch TV…

So back to today…

February 19th, 2009

I stayed in for most of the day reading and writing, then went out for a walk into the edges of the old city. There was some really spooky chanting going on. Kind of in harmony, but they the voices kinda combined into a minor key, so it was kinda edgy. Kinda Spooky. Stopped at the Internet café and the guy that works there bought some lunch and shared it with me and two other customers. Turned out, through Trans Dimensional Shift, my airline ticket had materialized on their desk. I had supper and then bought some soap powder so I could wash my clothes.

I ran into the Italian couple who gave me the map of Sanaa in the lobby of the hotel, and said hi or rather "Ciao, ragazzi!" They were busy with a tour guide, so I didn't stop to chat. Back in the hotel, I’m blogging and watching “Daddy Daycare.” I should mention here that the BBC World News channel, as boring as it can be, does have Winnipeg on it's North American portion of its world weather report map. They don't mention it in the report, but it's there beside the weatherperson's head. I keep forgetting it's still in the -10 to -15 degree Celsius range back home (30 to 40 degrees colder than here). For some reason, the CNN channel is mostly London-based, and as boring as the BBC World News, so if I feel like watching the news, I usually watch Al Jazeera. There was a lot about Gaza when I was in Ethiopia, and for a while, that was all that was on, but not so much now and they have way more interesting documentary news than the other two.

In another miracle of Trans Dimensional Shift, my memory stick materialized in my jacket pocket. Just about that time, I realized that there must be a vortex near here that is accelerating the effects of Trans Dimensional Shift. Could be the chanting…