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Forget the Itinerary

Desert Nights

YEMEN | Wednesday, 7 May 2014 | Views [188] | Scholarship Entry

I was pushed by the noise and the sudden erratic movements around me out of the bus. Half a sleep and completely dizzy from the monotonous movement of the old vehicle, I followed the crowds towards a ramshackle coffee shop. Theoretically I was standing in the middle of a straight line connecting the Hadramout desert to the fertile highlands of Yemen, or half way between Mukalla and Ta’iz. The passengers who were either snoring loudly or just rocking in their seats a few minutes ago were jumping energetically in front of my tired eyes. The scene was getting clearer as I approached the hut showered by blue, green and white fluorescent lamps, where dozens of teenagers were quickly serving the sudden customers, stirring coffee and tea, selling cigarettes, biscuits and cooking spicy beans. All these noisy, after mid night activities scratched the beautiful silence of a balmy desert night. The quick short shouts characteristic of the Yemeni dialect echoed with a happy monorhythmic song against the anger of numerous kerosene generators. All these sounds danced with the pleasant aromas of coffee, tobacco, spices and the unavoidable lingering smell of burnt kerosene. Without any intension of eating or drinking I inspected the cheerful carnival happening around me, while trying to identify the bus driver within the crowds. My previous road trips taught me that asking about the departure time is utter naivety, so I surrendered to the fact that as our crawl was interrupted suddenly it will be suddenly resumed. I travel to kill that arrogant fussy touristy attitude, where an itinerary full of not-to-be missed highlights is worshiped. I reminded myself that I travel for moments and places exactly like these. A few steps away from the glow of the cold lamps were enough to spread a dark moonless sky studded by endless stars in front of me. I was washed by the blissful stars and the fresh breezes welcoming till the mythical serenity around me was interrupted by my own happy sighs. I returned back to my fellow passengers who were still whirling in their lively conversations. Healed from my tourist rush, I accepted the first invitation to join a group joking, quarrelling and reciting poetry at the same time. It took my a few seconds to dive in the chat, trying to answer their thirsty questions of why, how and where. We left sluggishly after repeated calls from other passengers, I moved towards the bus fare welling that magical spot that I do not even know its name.

Tags: 2014 Travel Writing Scholarship - Euro Roadtrip

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