Travels With Nate #10: Amman, Jordan
Salaam friends. I am now kicking it in Amman!
So what been going on? A lot! If I remember correctly I had just gotten lost in the mountains after following some directions from a Bedouin guy. Well, a few things have happened since then.
Monday and Tuesday were pretty relaxed and consisted mainly of wondering around Petra and fending off people selling all sorts of crazy stuff. On Wednesday things got very interesting indeed. Fee and Lyndon had decided to make the hike to Harrans’ tomb (Moses’ bro, who was buried on top of this big mountain).
The trip was supposed to take 5-6 hours return, and I reluctantly (hehehe) had to decline to accompany them, as Nate was feeling a little haggard after the last couple of weeks. Happily enough they left bright and early in the morning to make the top by lunch time. Nate and I snoozed a while longer and floated down to the lobby to see what was going on. Just as I was sitting down a really nice couple from NZ showed up, and we began to talk about plans for the day. (Fee knows the couple and hadn’t seen them for well over a year when they showed up at our hotel in Petra! Figure that odds of that!)
We discussed a plan to take camels up the mountain and surprise Fee and Lyndon. (Now Nate had a problem with the idea of taking camels up a mountain, but we soon convinced him to tag along. With plans to follow in the footsteps of Laurence of Arabia, we made out way to Petra. It took all of about 10 seconds for us to be surrounded by camels and potential guides. I think they must have super-human hearing or something, since all you have to say is “How much?” and 5 more guides with camels strapped to them appear and begin to shout out prices.
Well, we decided to let the guides yell and scream at each other for a while and finally accepted three camels and two guides for JD10 each (about US$14.50). Good deal! I really thing I could have easily have walked, since the trail was well-marked and very flat indeed. Actually we didn’t climb the mountain with the camels at all. Just as the climb was getting tough and I was beginning to appreciate hiring a camel, we stopped and were informed that we needed to walk since camels don’t do mountains all that well. Hmmm… guess Nate was right! (I better start to listen to the little chap more often!)
That last part of the clime took about an hour, and our guides said they would wait for us while we looked around the tomb. The view was wonderful, and we had a pretty good time sneaking up on Fee and Lyndon. It was a little bizarre because we could see and hear bombs going off in Israel as we all chatted and admired the mountain range.
Time was getting on though, and it was going to take some time getting back and we all wanted out of Petra before dusk. So we headed down and met up with our guides. Sure enough they had met some friends, and before we knew what was happening we were drinking more tea and smoking sheesha with the guides, their buddies, and some bored-looking policemen. Time seemed to fly by, and we all had a good time passing around the police guns and posing for lots of pics.
We decided to leave (it was now 3pm, and the sun sets at 5pm! Ack!) and went down some more of the mountain. Our guides informed us that they had decided that we had special camels, and we were going back a much faster route. Really what they meant was that they had blown all day messing about with their mates and we had to hoof it to get anywhere close to Petra before the sun came down. So my relaxing camel ride up turned into EXTREME CAMEL OFF-ROADING! I have never been so scared in my life. We were full-on rock climbing on camels. I tell you, camels are no good on rock steps and flat smooth surfaces. The camels were getting very pissy and began to slip, fall, and bite each other! ACK!
The other drawback to being on a camel, cantering down a mountain with legs going everywhere, is it is very hard to stay on the camel and protect the family jewels. On more than one occasion we were all forced to stop so the guys could fix battered body parts and regain a little feeling. Very embarrassing stuff! The girls seemed to think it was all good and kept getting the guides to make OUR camels go faster. (Girls grumble grumble grumble!) Anyways we made it back and got to stumble out of Petra in the pitch black. Me, I went to bed very sore and very concerned that I was never going to have children! (Nate, he slept very well.)
Well, yesterday was pretty bland. I was sore in very uncomfortable spots and had to endure a shared taxi (as many people that can pile into a van as possible) to Amman. Very bad bad stuff, I tell you. Once good thing was that Lyndon and I went out for a beer, and the next thing you know we had gotten ourselves drunk. Oh well, shit happens huh? Hehehe. The plan now is to get Fee the same way! Maybe Saturday or something.
Today we are going to Jerash. Its a cool Roman town that they are still putting together. I have heard great things about it, so with me luck!
Hey I love you all, and will be talking to you from Syria next!
PS: If you have any questions about places I’ve been or am going feel free to e-mail me at firstname.lastname@example.org