March 3rd, 2020
A journey to Yemen is not the usual and everyday leisure trip. We were able to enter the country through it’s Northern border from Oman. This part is seeing daily life without civil war since it’s being supported and protected by the UAE which is paying most of the military, police and other government officials. It’s not easy on the eyes. The locals are very friendly but what one gets to see is a nation living at the very minimum of what life has to offer. Infrastructure is basic at best, roads in disarray dominated by garbage and debris.
The plan was to enter Yemen from the North which borders Oman. We booked a tour which was supposed to take us from Salalah in Oman across the border and eventually to the mountainous ancient town of Seiyun.
We were skeptical about the proposed itinerary and the travel time given road conditions. This fact would turn out to be only our minor problem of this trip. While we were stopped at numerous checkpoint,s we got stuck for a longer time at 7 pm in the evening. An error in the visa defined us as Dutch citizens even though our Swiss passports were filed and this created a huge turmoil. While we were released by the army just after midnight, the local police did not let us go to the hotel. So we spent that night in a reeking and dirty room at the police station in Al Mukalla. It took several more hours and help from many sides (including Swiss embassy officials) until we were released the following afternoon. At that point we kind of had enough and the biggest attractions were too far away for having enough time to be back in Salalah on time for the flight. So we decided to head straight back without time pressure, meaning still having to spend countless hours in the van while getting a glimpse of the country.