Ancient City to YourselfYemen is really a mystical place and old Sana'a is the heart of it. It's a special place and you know it; you feel the pressure to be in the now. There really isn't anything like this city in the world. It's a sensory overload. A constant commotion of sights, sounds and smells that literally transport you to another time. 6 hours spent in this ancient city today and I never saw a westerner. The medieval souk is a discordance of shop owners calls, billowing silks, walls of olive soap, mountains of dates, overflowing bags of cardamom, burning frankincense, the list goes on. This is the real farmers market.
From the vaulted stone ceilings, shafts of filtered sunlight beam down onto the crowds. The smell of baking bread fills the air and the spices totally tickle the nose. The alleys twist and turn in every direction (some no wider than two people) to picturesque mosques, and murmuring madrassas (places of study) and tucked away khans. These were the merchants' quarters that, since the Middle Ages, offered shelter to traders on the journey along the Spice Road.
I made every attempt today to capture this city I love. I went as slow as possible. Went down the most narrow of pathways. Stuck my head in doors just to see what was inside. Had tea with total strangers. Played soccer with a dozen kids in a alley way just wide enough for two donkeys to pass. Made new friends. I stopped, sat and wrote. Something I rarely do. I looked for beautiful light and waited to capture it.