01-Apr-2005 -- Story starts from 14N 44E.
This is the third visit to a Confluence on our tour in Yemen. This CP is located 24 km north of al-Ḥudayda city in the costal flatlands called Tihāma, which is famous for the unbearable hot climate.
We arrived to al-Ḥudayda by coach from `Adan and checked in a hotel. While Guang considered it as too hot to go for a confluence trip during the early afternoon, I wanted to give it a try. I started negotiations with the hotel manager to arrange a taxi that could take me about 24 km to the north. But he was too much of a businessman and knew how to deal with tourists (they tend pay any price offered). I rejected his offer (50 USD) and just stopped a taxi driving by. Since my Arabic consists of only a couple words, it was a challenge to explain where I wanted to go. But since both sides where willing, communication was better than I had expected.
So we started. After a while, I was wondering why we would drive through small alleys. But my taxi driver called `Abduh wanted to pick up his English speaking friend. So the three of us set out for the CP. His friend Maḥfūẓ was an English student in the second year, who had unfortunately never met an English speaker before. It turned out that I could better communicate with `Abduh using some Arabic and gesture.
First, we left al-Ḥudayda in the wrong direction, but with the help of GPS, I could navigate the taxi on the right way. After leaving the city, we reached the police control point, where I was asked where I want to go and why. But Maḥfūẓ was eager to forestall and explained that I was surveying something in the desert... That gave me a hard time to alter my status back to 'normal tourist' and terminate the police suspiciousness. Finally, the police let us continue, saying that `Abduh and Maḥfūẓ were now responsible for me until I was back in the hotel.
At a distance of 1.59 km from the CP, we left the highway. From there, I was ready to hike to the point, but `Abduh was eager to drive as close as he could. Well, it was sandy and thorny and the little bus not suited for off-road driving. But we came as close as 325 m to the point where we parked the car. Maḥfūẓ and I walked to the point, while `Abduh was waiting in his taxi.
After taking the photos at the Confluence, we drove back to the main road. But we didn't get any further, because we had a flat tyre (honestly, I wasn't really surprised). Of course, there was no spare tyre in the car. However, in the desert people are helpful to each other, so it was not a problem to get back to al-Ḥudayda, where the tyre could get fixed.
CP visit details:
- Time at CP: 4:20 p.m.
- Duration: 3 hours, 2:15-5:18 p.m. (until I was back to al-Ḥudayda)
- Distance of car parking: 350 m
- GPS height: 57 m
- Description: On the western flatlands (Tihāma) of Yemen. The Red See coast is 10 km to the west. Arid, totally flat non-cultivated land with thorny dry bushes in the sand. View: Scattered trees. No houses within at least one kilometre. A camel track is going right through the Confluence.
- Given Name: The Flat Tyre Confluence
Story continues at 15N 44E.