July 3, 2008

The Portal.

It could very well be that I read too many adventure books as a child. I was a voracious reader and still am. I had all the Famous Five books by Enid Blyton that would take me on fabulous adventures but there were many other books that offered me a chance to live in another world for a little while. I remember "The Little White Horse" by Elizabeth Goudge so well because I reread it many times and it was magical every time.

As an adult my travel allows me to escape to mysterious worlds that always amaze and fascinate me.

The door in the picture can hardly be called anything but a portal, an entry-way into Yemen.

In our ramshackle Landcruiser we made our way from Sana'a by way of the Temple of the Moon and the Bilqish Palace to the desert. If the names in our itinerary do not transport you and want you to crack your whip like Indiana Jones then a beach resort vacation is your best bet. To each his own.

Of course there is much to be said for comfort, so a beach resort isn't such a bad idea, especially when you are sleeping on the floor of a house that has no shower or bath. There were many nights that we had a communal room and we all just rolled out our sleeping bags on the floor and went to bed unwashed or washed at a tap outside, just cleaning hands, feet and face. These houses are the hotels in the rural areas. It wasn't as if we had much choice and even the hotels in the cities were very basic.

When I left the U.S. I had no idea that I would be going on a rough trip so I hadn't brought anything in the way of gear. Days before my departure for Yemen I bought a thick sleeping bag which served me well. I had a double layer of down under me so that I didn't have to touch the grimy carpets on which we slept. Although we didn't complain (much) we would of course have preferred a clean bed with crisp white linen sheets but then it wouldn't have been quite the same.

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