We are officially at the gates of Hell and we haven't even hit Africa yet. It is so freakin' hot!!!!! It is currently 3:30pm and 92 degrees with 72% humidity. It is even, dare I say, too hot to drink beer!
We arrived at the town of Al Mukalla yesterday morning. What a difference 300 miles makes. The contrast between Oman and Yemen is just startling. The per capita income here is $600, where in Oman it's $7600, and it shows. The streets are littered with trash, dirty children, women beggars in full-on all black coverings (veil covering the face, gloves, not one inch of skin showing, and all in black). However the shocker was the dead goat floating by the dingy after dinner.
After we got checked in we hit the streets in search of local currency and internet. The internet cafe was a treat. As soon as we entered Rene and I were rushed off behind a curtain so as not to distract the men of course. Rene came out to get her glasses and was snapped at to get back behind the curtain. It was a really nice enternet (sic) - the spelling at the shop. It even had Skype and I was able to chat with Pat, my mom.
After an interesting dinner of pointing and hand gesturing since none of us speak Arabic and we were back out to the rolly anchorage for the night. Currently we are awaiting the return of our full fuel jugs and passports from the agent so we can make tracks for Aden, another 300 miles on.
While we patiently wait for our agent to return we noticed that are surrounded by many Mosques that erupted with calls to prayer throughout the day. Behind us is an enormous desert and a brown, boulder strewn mountain. All of the buildings in town have the same architecture, castle looking squares. It is a very Hollywood Arabic movie setting.
If we receive our jugs at a decent hour we may leave tonight. For now we just wait.
Amy and Tom
25 March 2008