God sometimes gives us unexpected gifts. Our gift has been a grandson who enlivens our lives and makes retirement very different than the one we anticipated. He is a special joy. And that's "Casey." In 2006 we fulfilled our dream of living in Italy for a year. It was every bit as wonderful as anticipated. This blog begins in 2005 as we prepared for that experience. Since then we have explored many places together. That's the "Travel." And finally, I am a person of opinions--spiritually, politically, on just about anything and that's the "Other Stuff." Welcome to my blog.

Monday, March 12, 2012

Bedouins, Crusaders and Where Moses Stood

At the far end of Petra, guide/photgrapher Hamad Farajat, just happened to know the owner of the donkeys waiting up on the hillside. For a small sampling of Jordanian dinar, we could ride the donkeys to the top of the hill where we would then transfer to a truck to take us to Hamad's car so that he could drive us to a Bedouin camp--for another sampling of dinar. Why not? When would we have another opportunity like this? Never!


So we formed the donkey brigade. (aside: Hamad must have told the donkeys' owner of my horse escapade as he totally picked me up and lifted me on to the unsuspecting donkey--another embarrassing moment.) 

Happy Family Outing--in the Desert--on Donkeys

This really was another fun experience as we lurched up the hill. Below us was Petra in its splendor, surrounding us were desert hills below blue, blue skies, above us was a village built by the government when those living in ancestral caves of Petra were required to leave their cave homes.

I learned that donkey's truly are sure-footed as they step on crumbling limestone and shale. A couple of the paths were pretty uphill steep. A long the way we passed two quite pregnant camels which were the possession of our donkey owner; he had more elsewhere. As it turns out, he really appeared to be pretty wealthy by Jordanian desert standards. When we reached his village, we exchanged his donkeys for a 4 door, well-equiped truck which took us on a wild ride down the hills to Hamad's car. Obviously he had driven these paths before.

The Village above Petra

Hamad then took us on another bumpy, wild, really wild, ride in his car to two Bedouin family encampments. He offered us the opportunity to share a meal with the Bedouins which he assured us would be a memorable, fun experience; however, we who are normally quite intrepid travelers, turned him down. Once at the encampments, we knew we had made the wisest of decisions. It is very unlikely our constitutions could have handled the meal or that I would have been here to write about it.


Hamad parked the car a ways from the first family's tent so we walked over the desert rocks to get to it. There we were met by a young boy and two young women whom I think were his sisters. Casey, who loves, loves animals loved the adorable new born goats cavorting around a water pail--and the dogs. This is a short video of our tea time at the tent of our first visit.

Across the ravine we could see a larger family hillside complex with several camels, horses, a whole bunch of goats, some lambs and dogs and a nice white truck. Checking for and getting Hamad's OK, we walked over to meet the family who were very welcoming and seemed to enjoy showing us around. The wife showed us the inside of their tent, particularly how sturdy and weather proof the top of the tent was with heavily compacted matted animal hair--I have no doubt that it was quite rain proof. At one end were many neatly rolled rough but clearly heavy blankets which would be unrolled each night on the floor. This tent was quite large with a good size "living" area which doubled as the sleeping area at night. The far end where I suppose clothes and supplies were kept was blocked from sight by the tall pile of blankets.

Watching the sure-footed goats as they moved from one rock-cropping to another occupied us for a few minutes while the father of the camp had fun introducing Casey to a tethered camel. They immediately established a close friendship as you will see. The little girl taught me how to say thank you--but now I forget it.

Well, didn't get to the crusaders fortress or, more importantly, to Moses' last mountain. But..this is long enough for one read so will continue next time. I know it is taking a very long time to finish up this short 2 week trip. So..stay with me a little while longer.

Thanks for checking in. I appreciate my readers.

Oh, this is us relaxing after the heavy Petra, Bedouin day. The hotel general areas were really lovely.


B.J. Greenwald said...

Another great blog entry, Jane. They are so good that I feel I am there with you. Thanks for doing them.

sandrac said...

What adorable little goats (kids, I suppose!) What a wonderful experience; I'm deeply envious!