24 February 2010

Al Mukalla in Yemen

Approaching the coast we see large sand dunes: the end of the desert. Closing in you see small white buildings with open windows, this is the beginning of Al Mukalla, a medium sized town halfway the south coast of Yemen. In the small harbour the American yacht 'Bingo' and us are directed to the once yellow Q(uaranteen) buoy. An agent is waiting to organize the customs and immigration formalities (very friendly and easy). From immigration we get a shore pass to visit town. It takes a short taxi ride and first thing that attracts attention are the women that are dressed up completely in black: a large burka inclusive gloves so that only the eyes are visible. The men wear nicely woven sarongs and light coloured shirts, we also see several turbans. Making pictures of people is 'not done', so we restrict ourselves to some impressions taken from the taxi and walking along the boulevard. In the supermarket there is an ample choice of foods and outside the building is a stall with fresh fruit and vegetables.

In the harbour you find all sorts of small and bigger boats and specially in the morning it's a busy and lively spectacle. In the harbour mouth there is always a patrol boat with machine gun, checking incoming and outgoing traffic. But the water is not very clean in the harbour, it smells and we don't like the bird's droppings on our deck. So our next anchorage is 15 nm further on the coast in an bay in a beautiful piece of desert. Some women are chasing a small herd of goats and we see people walking on the beach, they turn out to be bedouins.

Slideshow Mukalla