15-Jan-2006 -- While on holidays, we thought we would attempt some confluence points. We were driving from Ṣan`ā' to Say'ūn via Ma'rib. Ma'rib is especially a sensitive area since Italian tourists were kidnapped in early January by mountain tribesmen, and following the Italians, a German couple was also taken hostage. Needless to say, we had tight army and police escorts for the entire drive to Say'ūn. The portion between Ṣan`ā' and Ma'rib was in a convoy of 6 cars with an army flat-bed truck with a machine gun mounted on the back, leading the way. After Ma'rib, we were alone with an armed soldier escorting us in the Land Cruiser and we were not able to attempt the Confluence on the way to Say'ūn but decided to attempt it on the return trip back to Ṣan`ā'. The entire route had 30 checkpoints along the way.
Fortunately for us, on the return trip an escort was not mandatory and we headed off the road into the desert, heading about 10 km south of the main road between Ma'rib and Say'ūn. `Abdullāh our driver and his daughter Yasmin were with us and seemed amused that we wanted to see all sifr's(zeroes) on our GPS. The terrain was flat with firm sand and patches of rocky areas.
We made it to the confluence point without any problems and while taking our photos, `Abdullāh removed a Kalashnikov from his car and went to stand on top of the car roof to watch over us! We quickly took our photos and headed back to the asphalt road.