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  • My wife, Kristin, wore the black ghost suit called hijab and the veil that is called niqab when she lived in Yemen. She wore it well. I thought it made her look beautiful.

    She had been living in Yemen for two months over the winter of 2008-2009. She used the name "Anna" because, especially in the Muslim world, people mistake her name for a religion "Kristi(a)n." And this is not her religion.

    Anna found her own place to live in Yemen. Anna studied Arabic before she left and continued in a school near her home in the old city of Sana'a. Her home was surrounded by khat vendors and crowds of men wearing swords called jambiya. She made friends with local women and when she went to their homes they all took their ghost suits off and revealed that they were wearing leopard print spandex, mesh, and neon.

    When I came to stay with her we went traveling.

    We had heard of a walled city called Shibam, which is also called the "Manhattan of the Desert." It is in an isolated part of Yemen called the Hadramut. It is not a safe place, but it is beautiful and that was good enough for us. The city has, what we were told, are the tallest mud buildings in the world, some of them over 30 meters (100ft) tall. This skyscraper design was used in order to protect residents from Bedouin attacks.

    At sunset Anna and I climbed a hill near the city. Her niqab caught the wind.

    That winter the Al-Qaeda military network in Yemen made numerous calls to its sympathizers to attack visitors in the Hadramut region.

    Two months later, on the spot overlooking the walled city, four Korean tourists and their local Yemeni guide were killed by an IED.

    Despite this incident I think you should go to Yemen.

    It is worth the risk.
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