Yemen is a peninsula on the other side of the landmass that includes the oil-rich U.A.E and Saudi Arabia. God seemed to have overlooked Yemen, however, when he gave out the black gold and so it continues to exist as a rather poor country in the shadow of its rich cousins.
Yemen maintains in parts an old Arabic feel, not a million miles away from 1001 Nights and is probably one of the friendliest places to hang out in the Arabic world. If you learn some Arabic, you can have a merry time here drinking coffee in the suq, walking along the coast and developing a healthy qat habit, the herb which makes you content with doing absolutely nothing.
Tourism to Yemen dropped off dramatically with kidnappings in the 90’s although hostages were apparently treated with great deference. As one Yemeni diplomat put it:
“I don’t see what all the fuss is about — didn’t the tourists come here to experience real Yemeni life and culture? And here they are getting it for free…”