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Casablanca

Every developing country that has security problems always has one of THOSE hotels. The hotel where everyone always knows what going on all over the city, with the really odd mix of foreiginers and locals, with everyone on some seemingly shady business. Well, it would appear that the Hilltown Hotel is THAT hotel here in Sana'a. It has a very Casablanca in WWII feel. One day, the lobby will be filled with tribesmen in from the Hawdramaut, meeting to discuss their plans for the next session of parliament, dressed in sports coats over top of their dishdashas, with jambiyas shover in the belt. The next day, the elevator will open on the way down to the lobby and a Yemeni officer in full dress uniform, toting an AK-47 (which apparently do not need to be checked at the hotel desk), will get in. Or two Yemeni businessmen will be chain smoking in the lobby, while chewing qat, discussing the latest in Sana'ani real estate. And of course, the erstwhile hotel managers at the desk will always be smiling, and can hook you up with qat, and probably some substances or services otherwise illegal in this strict Muslim state. Then, not to mention, there is the two floors of Americans, not just us State Department kids, but assorted American scholars researching 10th century Zaydi munscripts and Arabian oud music. All of the Americans are suspect, because they think we are either CIA spies, or all the blond haired, blue eyed girls that are running around without covering are, umm, available, so to speak. The only thing really missing is a couple of crazy journalists trying to get to Sada to interview the leaders of the Zaydi rebellion and find out if they are, in fact, being supported by the Iranians like everyone here thinks. With it's slightly ramshackle appearance, and location right near the parliament, defense ministry compound, and Tahrir Square, the Hilltown is definitely the place to be. All the tourists and governmental delegations might crowd (well not really crowd since this IS Yemen after all), but the Hilltown has the real pulse of Sana'a

Posted by mc327503 00:29

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