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11 December, 2005

Yemen tribal hospitality

The Surveyor is over from the wild climes of lawless northern Yemen. This visit his smuggled treasure is an AK-47 bayonet destined for a gun-freak relative in the Antipodes. As well as the regular haul of duty-free and ancient flint arrowheads, the Surveyor has plenty of tales of kidnapping and other intrigue.

A Swiss couple who recently enjoyed some tribal hospitality were actually on the same flight to Dubai. Their English wasn't particuarly good, according to the Surveyor, but they seemed to have enjoyed their ordeal, perhaps thinking it a slightly more colourful section of their guided tour:

"The local guide and translator, Amer Al Deen Al Hawthi, who was also held along with the Yemeni driver, added that that their kidnappers had been “good and hospitable”, and had also treated them well. "

Another tale concerns a Chinese worker, recently kidnapped from an oil site in the north. Several weeks went past, but there was still no reaction from the Chinese embassy. Eventually the kidnappers got fed up with waiting, and rang the embassy to inform them that: "we've got one of your men here."

In a reply that has probably exponentially increased the future safety value of all people of Oriental appearance in Yemen, the reply came:

"Have you? We've got plenty more you can take."

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Blogger Unknown said...

LOL! That is Yemen for you.

11 December, 2005 08:36  
Blogger Jassim said...

Why do westerners go to Yemen? I am sure when you read in the holiday magazine for package tours too Yemen, the 'routine kidnapping' is listed as part of the price you pay.

11 December, 2005 09:18  
Blogger samuraisam said...

yemen is wonderful.
so is oman, any where without 30,000 cars, and 300,000 idiots who don't know how to drive.

i really love oman, it's so quiet and peaceful.
i'm sure that'll change one day, but i hope it doesn't

11 December, 2005 10:09  
Blogger CG said...

OHHHH to be in Yemen.

Sounds exciting, I wouldn't mind some good and hospitable kidnappers then. Sounds like a nice vacation and you can make everyone worry about you (and re-assess your value) for a few weeks, that is if your Embassy can be bothered to inform anyone of course.

11 December, 2005 11:26  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

cg... i'm sure you'll change your mind if you were just another addition to a chieftain's harem ! :)

11 December, 2005 12:31  
Blogger luckyfatima said...

it isn't PC to say "oriental," you meant to say East Asian! Hee hee :)

11 December, 2005 12:42  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

did anyone just have a complete interbet outage from shitisalat for 2 hours?

11 December, 2005 14:25  
Blogger waterboy said...

The Chinese are remarkably sanguine about so many things. I remember once reading an interview with some military figure whose geopolitical outlook was something along the lines of "well, we've been a civilisation for 2 millennia, so fifty years isn't much time at all, really".

It's a big part of the reason that non-Chinese find it so hard to know how to begin to negotiate with them. I mean, if you're a group seeking to exert leverage over the Chinese and their response to your kidnapping one of their citizens is "oh, that's nice for you," you're going to give up on that kind of strategy fairly soon, aren't you?

11 December, 2005 14:32  
Blogger Slagothor said...

Anon @ 14:25

Yes, we were down for about 2 hours here in the outskirts of AD.

11 December, 2005 15:38  
Blogger Unknown said...

Just thought about how cool it would be getting kidnapped in Yemen. Where else would you get to stay, eat AND be treated well without paying a dime?

11 December, 2005 15:48  
Blogger moryarti said...

Yemeni people are always extra laid back because of the QAT.. (Ganja - Yemeni Style)

"Ransom? No need for ransom.. Yallah finish your MANDI"

11 December, 2005 16:51  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

waterboy, you're quite correct that the Chinese take a much longer view of things than is typical in the West. In one famous exchange, a reporter once asked Zhou En-Lai what impact he thought the French Revolution had had. "It's too soon to tell," he responded.

11 December, 2005 23:09  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Lol! I could not believe that reply from the Chinese embassy.

12 December, 2005 21:46  

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