Wadi Rum and Petra
If you have been following this blog regularly (ha!), you will have noticed that I haven’t updated for quite a while. I spent this weekend (Friday-Saturday, that is) in Petra and Wadi Rum, and I’ve been avoiding having to write this entry because it’s so hard to describe what it’s like there to someone who hasn’t been.
So, instead of trying to narrate the whole thing, which would inevitably take forever and probably bore everyone, let me recount my favorite moments:
1. Arriving at the Wadi Rum visitor’s center and seeing the Seven Pillars of Wisdom, of T.E. Lawrence fame.
2. Fretting about the scarf I used to cover my head/neck (for skin health purposes, not for modesty) being too dark and causing me to have heat stroke, only to have a Bedouin man show me how to tie it like a Bedouin woman. I felt much cooler after that, in both senses of the word.
3. Climbing to the top of this huge ass natural arch. Last year my sandal had broken (and also I was TERRIFIED) and I didn’t get to do it, but this year! There was no way I wasn’t going to do it, in spite of my SHEER TERROR. Even though our Bedouin driver had to basically hold my hand through large parts of it because I was, did I mention, TERRIFIED. He’s my new bffl. The view was amazing.
4. Dancing the dabke at the Bedouin camp (which was REALLY TOURISTY but still sort of pleasant).
5. Wandering through Wadi Rum trying to find the best place to stargaze. It was kind of annoying that our camp was so near to the village/other camps that you couldn’t see a lot of the stars, but it was still many, many more than I’d see at home (let alone in Amman).
6. Listening to Aziz give three of us a lecture on the history of Sufi mysticism in Yemen. Whoah.
7. Wandering through the Siq. Even more magical the second time, because you’re not just impatient to get to the Treasury, so you really get to appreciate the natural beauty of the place.
8. The Treasury. It is really beautiful.
9. Climbing 850 steps to the Monastery. So many thanks to the people who stopped periodically to wait for my out-of-shape and terrified-of-falling-down-the-eroded-stairway self. (THOSE STEPS WERE BUILT TWO MILLENNIA AGO AND WERE COVERED WITH SAND AND DONKEY SHIT, IF YOU’RE NOT CAREFUL YOU COULD FALL TO YOUR DEATH OKAY.) [For contrast, last year’s climg was 600 steps.]
10. The little boy saying, “Just one minute away!” when we were around the corner from the Monastery.
11. The view from the top of the world. Oh my. Possibly the best part was meeting these two Harvard guys at the viewing point, mocking them for having gone to Harvard, and then having two of the other people on top of the mountain also come out as Harvard grads. WTF?! There were about a dozen people up there and all but one of them had went to Harvard or Yale. THE WORLD (OF THE PRIVILEGED) IS SO SMALL.
12. Riding a horse back from the Siq to the visitor’s center. It was just fun. We asked if the horses could go faster, and the guide said, “No, pregnant!” so I was like OH MY GOD, NEVER MIND.
So, on Sunday I was sore as hell, and the sand will never completely exit my shoes, but it was worth it. Even for a second trip. There were some ways in which my first trip was better, and some ways in which this trip was better, but I wouldn’t give up either of them for the world. Damn, my life is awesome.