Yemen, officially called the Republic of Yemen with Sana’a as its capital, borders Saudi Arabia at its north, the Gulf of Aden and Arabian Sea at its south, Oman at the east and the Red Sea at the west. It is the only republic in the Arabian Peninsula. Before 1962, the geographic location of Yemen made it impossible for any foreign influence in the country. After the 1962 revolution, Yemen became heavily dependent and closely associated to Egypt.
Yemen is mostly a desert with an extraordinarily hot climate, especially in the eastern part. It is also hot and humid in the west coast, and the temperate climate in the mountains is usually affected by the seasonal monsoon winds. That is why the weather could get chilly in high elevated areas. But in the narrow plains of Yemen, the climate is hot just like any harsh desert plains in the Arabian Peninsula.
Are you planning on going to Yemen? It can be done several ways. There are major airlines that fly from the European capitals, stopping by Cairo and finally to Yemen once to thrice in every week. Flying in from the nearby Arab regions is possible twice a week via the Air Arabia. Moreover, because it is connected to the Arabian Peninsula, Yemen is also accessible via the public buses. Although the trip, touring the entire country is slow with pit stops in every hour, it is a comfortable and wonderful way of seeing the beautiful sites with room for a long friendly conversation.
One of the things that are significant in Yemen is the curved dagger or what the locals call jambiya that is commonly worn by the local men. It could be purchased alone, with an accompanying sheath, or with silver pouches or handmade belts. If you are not into something like a jambiya, there are brooches and pendants that are replicas of the knife and sheath. Necklaces and other jewelries are the other souvenir items you will find in Yemen. Some are made with precious stones and others with semi-precious stones.
Yemen is a strict Muslim country. These rules should be sternly followed when going around Yemen:
- Be careful where you aim your camera. Don’t attempt to take pictures of anything that has historic or strategic importance in Yemen. You will know this if there is a policeman or a soldier guarding it. When taking pictures of people, do not ever take pictures of women, notwithstanding if you are a woman yourself. It is one of the great offenses in the region.
- Never go to an area that is bannered as off-limits. It is a warning for a good reason, and portraying the role of a fearless adventurer is never advised.
- Do not give money to the children. Donate instead to charities if you have money to spare.
- Perseverance always pays a price. Although it is not that simple to go around Yemen, the rewards are great for a persevering tourist. The open and friendly hosts will welcome you to this place at the tip of the Arab Peninsula.