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Photographer's Note

Now branching out from Sana'a, I did a 3-day trek around the Haraz Mountains. I started from Manakhah (about 2 hours east of Sana'a). The Haraz Mountains are simply incredible. Trekking around the mountain villages perched vicariously on cliffs was definitely one of my highlights.

Unfortunately it was so hazy being in the summer, so my photos aren't as good as I would have hoped. I hired a local guide to take me around to the villages, and did he ever. We started at 2250 m (Manakhah) and declined through a few villages down to 1500 m. Then, setting back uphill finished at our final destination, a village at 3000 m. Trekking for 12 hours, I was exhausted. But the sights I saw were unforgettable.

This is a village (unfortunately I forget the name, as I saw 8 villages a day) that I passed through on the way down, and eventually walked past again.

As for my title...well, these villages are so unique. Very untouched, where electricity is a premium, and wells are sometimes still used for water. From afar, they are absolutely stunning...but walking through them, past all the garbage piling up, and buildings crumbling you can feel the impending doom. How long can these villages truly stay untouched, away from the eyes of foreign tourists, greedy for a "new" experience. Yet, I am one of these tourists...and I almost hestitate to post photos of Yemen, introducing it to the world which has so far left it alone. I try to be different, traveling locally...staying with locals, trying to speak to them in Arabic. I'm not in a huge tour group, who will be leashed along like the several I saw in Sana'a. But regardless, my presence affects them just as a big tour group does.

For me these birds (Vultures makes a better title doesn't it... :P) are the western influence, waiting for the village to crumble so they can pilfer it. Or waiting for the way of life here to change, to disappear forever. You can tell things will change there, it's unavoidable.

Sorry for my tirade against western tourists...haha, I can only do it because I am one!

Looking forward to some comments.

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Additional Photos by David Grant (ViktorVaughn) Gold Star Critiquer/Gold Star Workshop Editor/Gold Note Writer [C: 367 W: 57 N: 348] (1525)
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