Experiencing Yemen [Archives:2006/915/Letters to the Editor]

January 26 2006

Rashid A.Abdu, M.D.
[email protected]

Four years ago, I arrived at Sana'a Airport–a chaotic, dirty, smoke filled, noisy facility, with people pushing, shoving, and shouting. As I left the airport toward the city, I was greeted by the odor of raw sewage, and later found the city like a garbage dump, with trash and plastic bags filling the streets of otherwise beautiful Sana'a. I became depressed and embarrassed that visitors from other countries will see all that filth.

On the 12th of November, 2005, I arrived in the same airport and hardly recognized the place.

No one was smoking, shouting, shoving, or pushing. Orderly lines formed and moved quietly toward the officers at the end of each line, who greeted each passenger with a smile, stamped the passport and wished them well. It was a wonderful experience.

Leaving the airport, I smelled the fresh air during the smooth ride to the city, that looked clean, with medians planted with a variety of shrubs and flowers. It was a beautiful site!

During my month stay in my native country, I noticed this wonderful changes everywhere I went. Beautiful hotels, beaches, modern shopping centers, and the usual friendly, helpful, and hospitable people. I felt so proud and happy and wanted to shout to the world to join me in this beautiful country, and to witness these great strides into the future.

I believe that with improved security and proper planning, Yemen will be a tourists' paradise.

With its high mountains, plateaus, and sea-shores, not to mention its historic treasures, it satisfies the tastes and meets the needs of any tourist.It is a beautiful country.

If the changes over the last four year are any indication of the future, Yemen should surpass and overtake many of the countries it is now trailing. Its wealth lies not in its oil, but in its people, who, as a European tourist and a world traveler described to me, as our plane took off from Sana'a Airport, as “the finest people in the world””. They are industrious and anxious to have Yemen regain its old name–“”Arabia Felix””.

I know