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An Introduction to Yemen

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Tough Guy
Tough Guy
Sahl-Sahl Al Hassine's buddy and his favorite waterfall.
Trusty No. 11 and Jambir
Trusty No. 11 and jambia
Well armed, but for no apparent reason than looks. When Ali told me that it's simply a tradition to have a gun around in rural areas, I told him it was just about the same in the US, it's just the guns look a little different. This one is called the No. 11, from Russia.
Sahl Sahl Al-Hassine Fires No. 11
Sahl Sahl Al-Hassine Fires No. 11
It's also typical that, on special occasions, you take a few shots. Mr. Al-Hassine had first honors
Ali and No. 11
Ali and No. 11
Ali had the next shot...
Huge Boulders and Caverns
Huge Boulders and Caverns
The creek made it's way between massive boulders where it formed interesting pools ... this one looked like an indoor bathtub, hidden from the heat of the afternoon sun.
Weird Eye
Weird Eye
The water had carved out some intereresting shapes, including this eye-like slit, where the person in front of me because the pupil.
Azure Pools
Azure Pools
We followed the streambed back down the valley from the waterfall, where it formed interesting pools with water-carved rock all around.
Coffee Under Shade Trees
Coffee Under Shade Trees
Along the base of the valley was coffee, planted on every bit of arable land, with shade trees above. You can see this on the right here.
Yemen Mokha Shibriqi
Yemen Mokha Shibriqi
Here we found a distinct type of the Mokha seedstock, Shibriqi, with it's brown tips (new leaves).
Green Shibriqi
Green Shibriqi
Here are unripe green Shibriqi coffee cherries
Rounded Shape of Shibriqi Mokha
Rounded Shape of Shibriqi Mokha
Shibriqi coffee cherry is smaller than Tufahi, and has a very rounded shape
Tight Squeeze
Tight Squeeze
We came to a place where you had 2 rather unattractive options; to traverse across a narrow path on all fours, with a 50' drop below you, or to make your way between 2 boulders down to the stremabed, and jump the last 6 feet. I chose the former, Duane chose the later (he's in black).
Ali down below
Ali down below
Ali poses atop a rock down below.
More Shibriqi trees
More Shibriqi trees
In a shaded part of the canyon, the coffee looked fairly good
Yellowing cherries
Yellowing cherries
Here we found coffee cherry that was turning yellow, but it is not a yellow cultivar (ie. turns yellow when it ripens). This appeared to be a nutritional problem, or lack of water. It looked to me as if there was very little composting, and the soil around the coffee appeared too fine, too heavy, too silty, without organic material.
Stressed Coffee Trees
Stressed Coffee Trees
Out in the full sun, the trees looked depleted, a combination of needs for both water and nutrients
Checking out the Coffee Cherry
Checking out the Coffee Cherry
We came across a guy resting after picking some coffee (not the guy in the image - that's me.) In Central America you see pickers with huge amounts of cherry, but with such low production in Yemen, with so little coffee in the trees, this was a miniscule bag in comparison.
Odd Mix
Odd Mix
The cherry here was a combination of ripe, under-ripe, and these odd yellowish cherries I mentioned before. This is not a great example of ripe coffee harvesting.
Portrait with Coffee Cherry
Portrait with Coffee Cherry
Of course, they wanted a picture with the tiny bag of coffee cherry. Saih valley, Yemen.
Friendly Yemeni Lizard
Friendly Yemeni Lizard
This is the only one that would stay still for a photo.
Tufahi Mokha Coffee Cherry
Tufahi Mokha Coffee Cherry
Tufahi Mokha Coffee Cherry on the tree. This is probably the most production I saw on any tree in Yemen, which is not much compared to other origins
Tufahi Mokha Coffee Cherry
Tufahi Mokha Coffee Cherry
The larger, apple-shaped coffee tree with the slightly conical cherry form. This is one of the most cherry-laden branches I saw on the whole trip! Saih Valley, Yemen.
Moo
Moo
Yemeni cow and calf drinking up the cool water in the Saih Wadi.
No Wonder
No Wonder
There is a reason that the town's look a little desolate; they are! In many of the coffee areas, over 80% of the rural population has moved to Sana'a, where jobs are more plentiful. Then they send money back to the coffee areas to help their extended famlies
Saih Valley Coffee Family
Saih Valley Coffee Family
He wanted a picture with his little boys and girls...
Mule Power
Mule Power
Much of the hauling is still donw by mule. Since the road ends at the town, everything past there, including access to all the coffee, is by mule (or human) hauling.
Townies
Townies
I had a lively soccer match with these guys, and suddenly school was out and it was like 20 on 1! I played goalie and they all took shots.
Hidden Puppy Power
Hidden Puppy Power
This little guy was rooting around for food, and hid in the rocks when I tried to take a picture of him.
Qat, the edible part
Qat, the edible part
Qat is very mild really, but is a stimulant. (If it was something, like alcohol, that could lead to unconciousness, it would be forbidden under Islam). You eat the very fine leaves and stems from the tips and outer branches.
Chat Time.
Chat Time.
Well, it's chat in Ethiopia and Qat in Yemen. After an incredible meal, we had some more quality qat time which always includes a lively discussion. chewing these shrubs makes you feel more like a wandering goat than anything.
Qat residue
Qat residue
With much flourish, they toss the inedible, undesireable parts into a big pile on the floor.
The Southwest
The Southwest
In places, the terrain is so much like the United States Southwest.
Arizona or Yemen?
Arizona or Yemen?
You can forget exactly where you are.
Sunset in Saih Valley, Yemen
Sunset in Saih Valley, Yemen
Sunset in Saih Valley, Yemen
Time to head home...
Time to head home...
We stopped a few times on our way back to Sana'a that day for pictures ...
Checkpoint
Checkpoint
There are a lot of military checkpoints in Yemen, and they definitely were extra interested in our car, since we had 2 Americans in there.

Along the Road: Here's a collection of random photographs along the way between growing regions. Basically, the major coffee areas are all on near Sana'a, to the West. The exceptions are Raimi and Dhamari to the south, both whicha re at lower altitudes and produce less interesting coffees. We stopped in small roadside towns to eat, to check out the qat markets, and (for me) to gawk a bit. This place is just so fantastic.


Typical Roadside View in Yemen
Typical Roadside View in Yemen
Passing through small towns, taking pictures from the car, like a coward.
Typical Roadside View in Yemen
Typical Roadside View in Yemen
Lively discussion over vegetables.
Typical Roadside View in Yemen
Typical Roadside View in Yemen
Lotsa nice old Toyota Land Cruisers here.
Typical Roadside View in Yemen
Typical Roadside View in Yemen
Arguing with friends
Typical Roadside View in Yemen
Typical Roadside View in Yemen
Shooting off some fireworks...
Typical Roadside View in Yemen
Typical Roadside View in Yemen
You don't see this often, a destitute person.
Typical Roadside View in Yemen
Typical Roadside View in Yemen
Probably covering themselves due to dust on the road, more than anything. Wish I had one ... the dust was killing me.
Typical Roadside View in Yemen
Typical Roadside View in Yemen
Qat in the foreground, town, and terraces for agriculture.
Typical Roadside View in Yemen
Typical Roadside View in Yemen
Oops ... with the way driving is in Yemen, I was surprised not to see more of this.
Typical Roadside View in Yemen
Typical Roadside View in Yemen
They seemed to have walked off and just left the car like this
Typical Roadside View in Yemen
Typical Roadside View in Yemen
New Mexico, or Yemen? The rocks weren't telling.
Toyota Art
Toyota Art
Again, great bright painting on the Toyotas


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