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Yemen: Yemeni People

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Yemeni People | Yemen | Asia

[Visited: May-June 2004]

When I told my friends and family I was going to Yemen, many had doubts and thought it would not be a safe idea to travel in that country. Very soon after arrival, I discovered the true face of the Yemenis, and it took me by surprise. The Yemenis are genuinely friendly, welcoming to visitors, extremely hospitable and they give a special dimension to the country. It often happens that people in the street just stop to say "Welcome to Yemen", and then walk on. Or they have a small conversation with you, which never becomes disturbing; they are curious, want to know about you, and then go on.

Picture of Yemeni People (Yemen): Young girl with hat in Haraz mountains

It happened quite a lot of times that people paid small things for me. I asked for directions to a passer-by, and he just stopped a taxi, told me where I wanted to go, and paid the fare. On another occasion, I got out of a minivan, wanted to pay, when one of the passengers took me by the hand and told me that I shouldn't worry about paying. He then promptly invited me to lunch and it was one of the best meals I had in the country. And I had more of such situations. They moved me, because they always came from people with good hearts, and there were never hidden intentions.

Picture of Yemeni People (Yemen): Yemenis showing their traditional dress and jambiya

Even taxi drivers and sellers at markets, normally the keenest people to try to take advantage of foreigners, were helpful and never bothering at all. The only obstacle was the language barrier: often people would only speak Arabic and my knowledge is less than basic, even though I bought a conversation book which helped me out a few times. But I would have loved to be able to really communicate with the Yemenis, as I had a lot of questions for them. Of all the sights I have seen in Yemen, I must say that it was the people who impressed me most.

Picture of Yemeni People (Yemen): Veiled women near Shibam in Wadi Hadramawt
Picture of Yemeni People (Yemen): Yemeni men having a chat in Shibam
Picture of Yemeni People (Yemen): Yemeni men chatting under a tree in Wadi Dhahr
Picture of Yemeni People (Yemen): Children in San'a's streets
Picture of Yemeni People (Yemen): Resting in the shadow in San'a's suq
Picture of Yemeni People (Yemen): Father and son in the Bait al Faqih market
Picture of Yemeni People (Yemen): Small child in window in San'a
Picture of Yemeni People (Yemen): Girl posing for picture in Jibla
Picture of Yemeni People (Yemen): Woman in sandstorm near Marib
Picture of Yemeni People (Yemen): Veiled women in the streets of San'a

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