The day before we left Aden we were invited to another leaving do put on by Colonel Mohammed the Coast guard-cum-port police-cum-general bigwig. We also got to chat to a Yemeni woman, covered head to foot in black with just her eyes visible. Her English is excellent and makes for a great little interview.
The beauty of what we are doing is that you get to make friends in high places. Meet Colonel Mohammed, the big cheese of the Yemeni Coastguard. This happy chap hosted a reception for the Vasco da Gama rally, showed us his fleet of boats and eventually invited us back to his office. It was here that along with Fiona and Terry of Roam 2, Francesca and Marco of Easy and Free, we learned about the colonel’s sex life. His secret is the aphrodisiac-cum-opiate ‘gat’. It is chewed in the afternoon but its effect in the bedroom takes place after dark. Apparently. It’s all in this week’s podcast.
We learn more about gat, and how it is destroying Yemen, in next week’s podcast.
I am the first Englishman to dance with Yemeni fishermen. Actually I think the accolade I was awarded by the coastguard who gave me this video clip was that I was the first foreigner to lead a troupe of Yemeni fishermen in dance. Ever. Don’t worry I’m not being serious, even though the coast guard was. I was quite touched that one of the coastguard-policemen came looking for me to lead me up to Colonel Mohamed’s office to watch this clip. All ten policemen were huddled round a TV with a camera plugged in to it, watching this clip! The actual event was a leaving ceremony put on by Colonel Mohamed of Aden for the Vasco Da Gama rally and the fishermen were breaking out some traditional dance routines to a live band. I have to say they were excellent and the music was pretty cool too. Check out the video clip.
We return to Massawa and Liz, bless her, went down with the nasty fever that was spreading amongst the yotties. It was a shame because she missed ‘Fenkil’, which was the 20th anniversary of Eritrea’s independence. We had originally been told that all foreign yachts were to have left Massawa before the president came to do his speech but we later learned that actually the town would like us to stay and celebrate with them. What an honour.
This Christmas day the Vasco Da Gama rally participants and friends had a pontoon party in Hurghada Marina. Around 20 or so people took part in this ‘pot luck’ festive dinner. Liz and I were due to take part in the celebrations, and we did, but not without a hiccup (read a morning spent in the hospital A&E)!
The first night of the rally was pirate-themed, hence the eye-shadow. Somewhere in my tiny brain I thought perhaps I bore a vague resemblance to Johnny Depp in ‘Pirates…’, but then I do have to keep reminding myself that he’s not a fat ****, so I just ended up looking like a gay English lout.
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