10 March, 2010

The Colors of Al Mukalla Market

Markets in Al Mukalla are very lively and colorful. Today early morning, this is what I saw in one of the many markets here:

Without camels, where would we be? Wherever you go in Hadhramout, there will be camels. Camels' body colors, blend very well with that of deserts and mountains here. Thick and matted, the hairs do not only protect the body of the animal against freezing and burning weather conditions, but also eliminates water loss of the body.
Hadhramout, and Yemen as a whole, has very few trees. But people, like they have done for hundreds of years here - still cut trees for fire. Some are cut when dry, but many are cut down and then dried. A bunch of about seven sticks of the above, costs the equivalent of about half US dollars.
Above: ovens. Locally made out of empty metal drums and clay. These tan'nars are used with the dried wood to bake truly delicious, irresistible bread and meat.
Above:  beehives made out of baked clay. China maybe the world's largest producer of honey. But, the best and most expensive honey comes from Hadhramout. Honey from Wady Do'an is renowned  for its high quality and is the most expensive. I do not know of any where else, where bees and honey have such a special meaning and are as highly regarded as here.
Above: dried grass used as animal fodder. As it is mostly dry here, these coarse grass are very useful for feeding animals, especially in urban areas. Many goats, sheep and a few camels, are still kept within Al Mukalla. Below: alfalfa. Highly digestible and loaded with protein, it is the main forage for goats and sheep here.
All the above, daily, are sold in open markets around Al Mukalla. Of these, I took longer in taking the photo of the camel hide. Still: camels, wood, the tan'nar, bee hives and animal fodder are all very much what Hadhramout is. And green and camel brown seem to be the dominant colors here.