Fly from Israel to Jordan...easy enough right? Upon arriving at the Tel-Aviv airport, we received the 20 question routine from security BEFORE getting our boarding passes, checking luggage or going through the checkpoint and immigration. Where are you coming from? How long were you here? Where are you headed? WHy were you here? So many Arab States you are visiting in a short period of time, why? And so many more. God is good. We were allowed to go get our boarding passes after our answers were accepted. Baggage checked and boarding passes in hand, we headed for the screening area. Now, we have been through 8 countries at this point, so we were carrying quite a bit to ensure our checked baggage met the weight limit. Fully loaded backpacks and bags. We were "THOSE PEOPLE" who had to unload every electronic device, every charger, every camera body, lens, flash, microphones and battery packs, as well as all our toiletries and odd souveniers. Now to explain why we have SO MUCH equipment as tourists. It was a little hairy for awhile there and our passports were taken from us, but kept in our view. Within 15 minutes, we had all our items back and the re-packing of our carry-ons began. WHEW!
Jordan is beautiful. It reminds me alot of Arizona. Vast sand dunes with rocky jagged mountains periodically popping up. Camels are a symbol of wealth here and are all the rage as pets. For that reason, we came upon many camels along the highway on properties, just like you would see horses in Texas. All adorned with traditional tribal decor (tassles and pom poms).
Not camels but horses are what Jenny and I rode for about 1 mile as we entered the path toward ancient Petra. No less than 20 men shouting at each other and us for they all wanted to be hired for a horse ride. After that one mile, we disembarked from our saddles and started the long trek to the hidden Treasury and colosseum.
With a slight decline to the path, we walked briskly past several panhandlers and vendors (mostly children) and even got offered a blunt from an 8 year old atop a camel. I think he was stoned. HAHA! So sad and so funny at the same time.
The Treasury was of course worth the long hike and we captured film footage and images for the project. We even were able able to speak to the local Bedouin tribesmen about what it is like to live there and receive tourists daily. Somewhere in there I was so enammered by the sites that i mis-stepped and "bit the dust" literally. My new Nikon D810 taking the plunge with me. Note to self, do not walk and capture portraits at the same time. The hike back was difficult. 3 hours after arrival and in the hottest part of the day with no water and no money to hire a camel, horse, donkey or rickshaw, we had a flashback to the movie Three Amigos where Chevy Chases character was indulging in his water and applying lip balm while his amigos were parched.
The hotel we stayed in was quite nice and offered several guest amenities. It was the woman I met who worked in the gift shop that I was particularly taken by. To this day I feel like I have known her forever and she will certainly remain a kindred spirit to me forevermore. A Syrian refugee, she and her family fled their home and city as their belongings were being burned. As she was telling me this story I was trying to remain as calm and collected as she, but I failed. She touched my hand and said, "Don't cry for me and my family, God is good. I am blessed." Inshallah or, "As God wills it" is her chosen way to regard the cards she has been dealt. Jordan is so expensive, and finding work as a Syrian is very difficult. The decorative mosaic box I purchased from the gift shop, she compared to a 1/2 months salary. $75 US dollars. And this is what she uses to ensure her family's needs are met. She longs to be back home. "I know every street, every neighborhood, every tree, it is my home and I want to return." Pray for blessings for she and her family. That they one day soon will be able to safely return home and be restored. Her very name in itself means peace, Salam. Salam, it was a pleasure to meet you and I hope to see you again one day. Inshallah.