"Every one of those cars that came, I wondered, is this an Al Qaeda guy that they're going to come and basically hand us off and take us further into the abyss? So that was a big worry of mine," said Davis, a 54-year-old stock broker from Portland, Ore.
Yamalova, 35, spent her time writing in a journal, and meeting the women and girls of the village. They spoke no English, and were clearly stunned by her blond hair and light skin.
''I couldn't even use the term 'OK,''' she said.
The villagers warmed to the couple. Some disagreed with the decision to hold them hostage.
"On one hand I felt like a prisoner. On the other hand they treated us like guests," said Davis. He said the village killed a sheep in the couple's honor, and offered them Qat, a mild narcotic leaf chewed by a majority of Yemenis.
"They were upset that Luda and I didn't partake because it's apparently a sign of friendship," said Davis.
"They came to talk to us, asked if we needed anything, continued to try to reassure us that they didn't want to harm us. They had their own tribal agenda with the government that they wanted to resolve. And we were unfortunately in the middle."
On their second day in captivity they watched from a rooftop as SUVs snaked down the mountain road, and tribal leaders filed into a meeting. They were released after a provincial official, a member of a prominent local tribe, went with government backing to negotiate their release.
On Friday a Yemeni government official declined to comment on the substance of the negotiation, or what concessions were made to secure their release.
Now back in Dubai, Davis says the couple's relationship grew closer from the ordeal.
"I told her we've redefined intimacy as I hold a flashlight overhead while she uses a primitive toilet," he said. He added that Yamalova was prescient in packing toilet paper in her purse the morning they were abducted.
He said the pair would go back to visit Yemen, though they would look over their shoulders more cautiously.
"The factors that drew me to Yemen are still there," said Yamalova. "The country is beautiful and the people are wonderful."