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Notes on the Geography of Yemen: Aden

Back in the days when Europeans went by sea to India and points beyond, Aden was busy. Not today, although the airport receives a surprising amount of traffic not only domestically but from Amman and Dubai, Cairo, Nairobi, Djibouti, and Mogadishu.

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The coast still sees lots of small boats to and from the Emirates.

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Small-boat harbor.

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The same corner from farther back. The building in the distance is--so much for the exotic--a shopping center.

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Aden has two parts separated by a volcano. Within the volcano is the old part of town appropriately called Crater. This, on the other hand, is the newer part of town, the location of the modern harbor--and where the U.S.S. Cole came to anchor.

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Looking from this newer part of town over toward the mountain within which lies Crater, of which more soon.

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Nobody's idea of scenic, but not as run down as you might expect.

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Well, what did every Victorian town need, first and foremost?

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It needed a park, too. Can you make out that object in the trees on the left? It's a dark mass atop a light-colored base.

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Ever she sits, apple in hand.

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If you really hanker for Empire, you have to head this way.

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It's close to the old passenger dock.

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Last decorated in 1950-something.

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Playing by the clocktower.

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The patch of grass is a surprising touch, but we're going to jump over the mountain to see something even more startling--probably the most exotic thing in the city.

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Here's an explanatory note.

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And here's the approach path.

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Looks like a tomb of some sort, but it isn't.

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Behind the arch, a stepped tank to capture runoff from the occasional storm--increasingly occasional these days.

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The water is held up by a series of weirs.

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Follow them upstream and you arrive at impassible ravines.

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It's like a water park. Just without water for the last several years.

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Some of the tanks are deep.

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The interconnections seem like something by Escher.

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Water must once have splashed over these sills.

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And down several pathways.

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The sultan's palace, now the archaeological museum.

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The Al-Aidrus mosque and tombs.

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In case you thought that the city's Victorian buildings had bitten the dust: not a chance.

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Verandas for a hint of breeze.

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Deco, late in the colonial day.

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Another example.

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Post-colonial progress: the same shopping center seen from a distance in the first photo in this folder.

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