The Bedouin Way

Trip Start May 22, 2009
Trip End Feb 16, 2010

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Flag of Jordan  ,
Wednesday, January 13, 2010

Rising before the sun and the horizon starts to lighten, I climb the jebel behind the camp.  I am not along though.  Others have gathered for the show.  The best time of day for me - waiting for the sun to rise.  Soon the sky brightens in a concentrated area, surrounding hills emerge from the shadows, and rose light kisses the tops of the mountains in the west.  And the sky is perfectly clear!

After a breakfast of hard bread and za-atar (a mixture of local herbs that grows wild in the desert mountains, we set off into the desert.  The camel has been replaced by 4WD vehicles.  Faster, but less reliable.  But today we had less passengers and no touring and pit stops, so we went much much faster!  In the sand, the ‘seina’ handles much like it would in the snow - slipping and spinning with every rise and turn it made.  The smell of gasoline ever present in the cabin as we swerved through the sandy desert. 

First stop - Jebel Al-Hash - one of the many mountains of the desert.  ‘Jebel’ means ‘mountain’ and ‘hash’ is ‘sand’.  All of the rocks here are made of a loose sandstone that easily erodes, creating interesting shopes to crawl over.  At the top, we were rewarded with some incredible views of the Mountains in Saudi Arabia and the areas where red and white sands mix. 

Too windy at the top, we trekked back today and gathered a few little scraps of wood to made a desert fire to make some sweet Bedouin tea and warm bread for lunch.  But we weren’t the only ones to enjoy some refreshment.  The truck got a good litre and a half of water, and we were told that ‘sometimes he drinks tea…without sugar’.

Refreshed, Sienna was able to take us over to a canyon to walk through, and then it was back to camp to prepare for supper.  One of the best parts of staying at a camp out in the desert is that you get a glimpse into the traditional way of life of the Bedouin.  They cook in what is called a ‘zarp’.  Basically, it’s a 40 gallon grum which has been burried into the sand.  To heat up, you simply light a fire inside and let it burn down to coals.  Once ready, there is a 3 tiered rack which is loaded up with meat and potatoes and lowered into the zarp.  Covered and burried, it’s left to cook for several hours. 

So there was lots of time for another walk.  I just wanted to head out into the desert.  Walking along the sand dunes watching the shadows stretch longer and longer  as the sun retreated from the mountains was so peaceful. 

A fitting end to the day giving perfect symmetry to the nature that surrounds us.  

But the desert isn’t finished with it’s beauty.  So far removed from modern civilization and electricity, the stars are bright and beautiful.  So I sit and wait, as more stars that I could possibly hope to count in 3 lifetimes light up the sky.  One, by one, by one…
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