The Empty Quarter, Yemen, 2007 الربع الخالي

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e4577_jpg.jpg  Marib e4594_jpg.jpg  Shibam e4650_jpg.jpg  When we arrived at Shibam, there was a festival commemorating a local poet. e4662_jpg.jpg  When we arrived at Shibam, there was a festival commemorating a local poet. e0966_jpg.jpg  A bathroom break at a place so flat and so open means that you have to walk more than a mile to find privacy. e4683_raw_bc.jpg  A typical Bedouin camp. Most camels are still out grazing, only the young ones are kept in a pen during the day. e4726_raw_bc.jpg  Family members gather around the fireplace. e4710_raw_bc.jpg  e4713_raw_bc.jpg  e4730_raw.jpg  This is the famous well, according to our Bedouin friend, mentioned in Wilfred Thesiger's book "Arabian Sands," but I have no way of verifying that. e4750_jpg.jpg  e4759_jpg.jpg  e4809_jpg.jpg  Omar with his gun. e0982_jpg.jpg  Sarah tries out Omar's chrome AK47. e0983_jpg.jpg  My turn to try out Omar's super-duper gun, modified to give it a much stronger kick than a normal AK47. This gun reminds me of the TV show "Pimp My Ride." Photo courtesy of Sarah. e4768_jpg.jpg  e4773_jpg.jpg  e4785_jpg.jpg  Omar makes the camel trot in place to stimulate its bowel movement the day before the race. e4788_jpg.jpg  Omar makes the camel trot in place to stimulate its bowel movement the day before the race. e4792_jpg.jpg  Omar makes the camel trot in place to stimulate its bowel movement one day before the race. e4804_jpg.jpg  Omar makes the camel trot in place to stimulate its bowel movement one day before the race. e4816_jpg.jpg  Omar took us to visit his friend's camp. e4822_jpg.jpg  Omar, the host, and his 90-year-old blind mother soak in the sun and drink tea in front of the family tent. e4837_jpg.jpg  e4838_jpg.jpg  How many men does it take to tame a young mother camel that refuses to let anyone milk her? e4842_jpg.jpg  First try failed. Everyone takes a break. e4844_jpg.jpg  e4853_jpg.jpg  This time they put a barrel under her belly to prevent her from sitting down. e4855_jpg.jpg  e4859_jpg.jpg  e0991_jpg.jpg  Linda :"We should lift our veils." <br />Sarah:"Yeah, otherwise no one can tell who we are in the picture." e0992_jpg.jpg  Sarah and Linda. Photo courtesy of Sarah's camera. e0993_jpg.jpg  Photo courtesy of Sarah. e0995_jpg.jpg  Photo courtesy of Sarah. e4873_jpg.jpg  Prepare the camels for the mock race. e4876_jpg.jpg  As soon as the little boy was strapped onto the camel, it took off and ran. The boy had no control of the camel. e4881_jpg.jpg  e4900_jpg.jpg  e4909_jpg.jpg  e4904_jpg.jpg  Camels go home. e4928_jpg.jpg  The boy in the white robe is barely 14 and is already packing. e4929_jpg.jpg  e4939_jpg.jpg  e4970_jpg.jpg  Farewell party e4988_jpg.jpg  Farewell party e5006_jpg.jpg  The Empty Quarter e5019_jpg.jpg  Sarah with the soldiers e5020_jpg.jpg  Linda with the soldiers. e5083_raw.jpg  The Empty Quarter e5116_raw.jpg  Sarah sits on top of the sand dune. e5123_raw_bc.jpg  The Empty Quarter e5129_raw_bc.jpg  The most bizarre are barchan dunes with one giant dune in the center, and surrounding it tens and thousands of tiny dunes lined up in one direction like bobsleds marching in formation. e5137_raw.jpg  The Empty Quarter e5149_raw_bc.jpg  The surreal landscape beomes magical at sunset time when the yellow sand turned red and the dark shadows revealed the beauty of the intricate surface patterns. e5153_raw.jpg  The Empty Quarter e5292_raw_bc.jpg  Qat in hand, Muhammad is all smiles. e5297_raw_bc.jpg  The qat leaves are tied into little bunches, then wrapped  in fresh grass, then in several layers of hemp bags, a necessary procedure to preserve its freshness in the desert. e5321_raw_bc.jpg  A rare rainstorm, first one in ten years, turned the wadi into a lake. e5361_raw_bc.jpg  The shape of the lip indicates that the wind used to blow from left to right, then reversed its direction and now blows from right to left. e5409_raw_bc.jpg  We are in a sea of megabarchan dunes. e5427_raw_bc.jpg  The Empty Quarter e5432_raw_bc.jpg  The Empty Quarter e5453_raw_bc.jpg  Out of nowhere, came a family of camels looking for food and water. e5456_raw_bc.jpg  The Empty Quarter e5463_raw_bc.jpg  The Empty Quarter e5471_raw_bc_1.jpg  The Empty Quarter e5481_raw_bc_1.jpg  The camels watch intensively as Muhammad fills the gas tank. They probably smell the water in the other barrel. e5541_raw_bc.jpg  Muhammad enjoys listening to my mp3 player. e5549_raw_bc.jpg  Making coffee. e5562_raw_bc.jpg  Goats can be quite naughty and destructive sometimes. e5566_raw_bc.jpg  My new friend. e5582_raw_bc.jpg  She follows me around and nibbles on my robe and scarf. e5590_raw_bc.jpg  The Empty Quarter e5613_raw_bc.jpg  Grandma makes dinner for us.

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