Arriving in Sana'a airport, the first hurdle was to go through passport control - even with a valid visa it took quite a long time whilst officials slowly checked every single page of the passports of each of the people waiting in line. I arrived at the Sheraton Sana'a Hotel, which since January 2013 has been taken over by the U.S. State Department to house it´s diplomats. The hotel was advertised as 5-star though, in reality, it was more like a 2-star hotel in Europe. In a way it reminded me of the T.V series Fawlty Towers. The rooms were very basic, we had a reception hosted by the Swiss manager of the hotel to welcome us, the entertainment was provided by a Bulgarian group and the food was...well, not what you would expect.
Sana'a is a city of contrasts, where you would see the newest model Mercedes trying to drive through a herd of sheep; a city where a lot of people walked around with a Kalashnikov assault rifle and all the men wore a dagger called jambia; and where all activity slowed down from around 1 PM when the men engaged in the ritual of chewing khat, a plant that contains an amphetamine-like stimulant. The architecture of the city is very particular with multi-story buildings that look like mini-skyscapers. The markets in the city, especially the one for spices, are unmissable.