On Thursday the College organized a hiking trip to the city of Mahwit, which is about three hours north west of Sana’a. We arrived and embarked on what ended up being a 3-4 hours hike that wound along the side of a mountain (or maybe two, I couldn’t tell). At various spots along the way we were able to look down into the valleys, where we saw little villages precariously situated on rock outcroppings, or the sides of the mountains. From the looks of it the houses had been there for awhile. Apparently, most the people living there are farmers who grow corn and I assume qat also.
We stopped for a picnic lunch on top of a cliff about a third of the way through the hike. Right before getting to the stopping place, another student had asked a Yemeni girl if he could buy a goat from her (I think he was being sarcastic?). As requested, she showed up part way through the meal with a four day old black goat. She said that her dad wouldn’t let her sell it, but we shared our lunch with her for the effort. The top picture is of the girl holding her goat.
After lunch we “explored” a cave that required us to climb pretty much directly up the side of a mountain. The middle picture is a shot looking down into the valley while during the climb. The cave reeked of bat guano, to the point that I gagged and spit out the qat that I had been chewing. A few people braver than I went deeper into the cave to try to get pictures of the bats.
When we left the cave we continued up the side of the mountain toward our bus, which was at the top. The bottom picture is of a the Yemeni men that we met a little ways past the cave. As you can see, they are all sporting a cheek full of qat. Once we reached the top our adventure was pretty much over, except for the puppies that we found right before we drove away. There are pictures of them in Picasa picture album. Also in the album is set of pictures of Yemeni kids we found in one of the small villages along the way. It’s pretty obvious that they loved having their picture taken.
There is a trip planned to Kamaran next weekend, but I still haven’t decided whether I’m going or not. If it is as interesting as this trip, I definitely don’t want to miss out.