From a Margarita Cocktail to Burkas in Yemen
Not having received the permit to overfly the North of Sudan and land in Kharthoum, we were now flying towards Yemen and Saudi Ariabia to get to our destination in Egypt. We were not sure what to expect from Yemen. Normally it is not at all easy to get into Yemen and we were not even sure we would be able to get fuel. AVGAS would definitely not be available, but if the handler at Aden Airport in Yemen would help us get fuel from the fuel station was uncertain to us. We had decided not to ask ahead of time, with the risk of getting no for an answer, but to just fly out to Yemen and confront the handler there with our ‘fuel problem’.
After landing we were greeted by our handler and welcomed to Yemen. He was personally going to take care of us and would guarantee our stay to the local security police and officials. Our passports had to be handed in and we could not easily move without him on our side.
Close to the harbor we went looking for fuel jerrycans and ended up in the poor part of Aden. Have a look at the picture above. Do you recognize the feet of someone sleeping in the hut?
Eventually we bought 9 jerrycans and headed to the local fuel station to fill them up with gasoline.
Juba felt armed, but here in Yemen lots of people were carrying guns and the army was present everywhere on the streets.
After filling up our Piper with the fuel we bought in the harbour at the local fuel station, our guide took us around the city of Aden en finally took us out for diner in the centre.
Above is our guide posing on the beach somewhere just outside of Aden.
The restaurant was a local one and quite an experience. Only men were in the restaurant as the women were not allowed to join. Families have their own restaurants, but in all cases it was only the men that we were dealing with and the women were either under their burkas on the streets or at home.
In the end our guide even took us to his home for a tea. His wife had to go immediately to the kitchen and we never saw her. However, we did meet their 3 children.
Our handler drinking a Coca Cola with Arabic text on the bottle. No alcohol was served anywhere except in one hotel (not ours).
Even our hotel was highly secured. Entering the hotel compound was only allowed after the car of our handler was checked and after passing road blocks and fences and armed guards.
In each bedroom we had the Koran ready and available as well as a plaid to use for prayer.
The next morning we left Aden in Yemen for a direct flight to Jeddah in Saudi Arabia. Where we had in mind to fly over fast flat desserts, we actually had to climb and pass over the mountains. Have a good look at the mountains as you will note the houses there on the top and along the ridges.