Saturday, January 15, 2011

Wadi Rum

This past weekend, some friends and I took a trip to Wadi Rum to take advantage of Bedouin hospitality. We arrived in Rum village on Thursday night and hopped in the back of a truck which brought us the few miles to our camp. We arrived after dark to a warm fire, dinner on the stove, and tents ready for sleeping. (Many thanks to Francisco for some of the photos below.)

Breakfast on day two.

The cousins.

Wadi Rum Fox Camp - - where we stayed.

Evidence of wildlife - tiny footprints from a four-legged hopper.

The view from camp.

More evidence of wildlife - a lizard's trail.

The reward of a couple hours of incredible view. Across the valley, past the dry river, and beyond the first mountains in the distance is the Saudi border. I asked about would they know? Our guide Suleman told us that there are patrol stations every kilometer or so. And every morning, the desert gets raked and cleaned. New footprints are followed. It is impossible to get anywhere without leaving tracks.

Tiny Victoria requesting that Giant Francisco not eat her.

See me?

Riding in style.

After a night of rain, we woke up to big, puffy clouds which changed the look of everything.

Dune Olympics.

Saturday, January 8, 2011

Christmas in Jerusalem and Bethlehem

Many thanks to the Jews... You can't find amazing things like this in Jordan.

After crossing from Aqaba into Eilat, we had a few hours to explore. We came across a produce market / flea market where we bought some dried fruit for our trip.

Jerusalem was a surreal place to be. So much history, and so many questions. This mosaic was added to the Holy Sepulcher (the church on the site of Jesus' crucifixion and tomb) for a visit by the Pope.

Right before I entered the tomb of Jesus. Not sure if I should smile, or look somber, so that face is a cross between the two. You duck through two small doorways and then get about 25 seconds to kneel at the tomb before a clapping monk sends you on your way. "Enough praying for you!"

The Arab quarter of the Old City. The walls of the Old City surround an Arab quarter, a Christian quarter, and a Jewish quarter, as well as incredible sites like the Holy Sepulcher, the Western (Wailing) Wall, the Temple Mount, and the Dome of the Rock.

The Western Wall, and the Dome of the Rock in the background.

The Jewish cemetery on the Olive Mount. This is said to be where God will come at the end of days, so the Jews buried here wanted to be the first in line to join him.

View from a tear-shaped chapel on the Olive Mount.


Bethlehem on Christmas Eve.

Our hotel at the Jaffa Gate of the Old City. We were in the room on the second floor to the right (both big windows). The room had three beds on the first floor and two beds on the loft, as well as two bathrooms. Good deal for $30 a night.

Near the site of the Last Supper.

Inside the Church of the Dormition. This is where the Virgin Mary is said to have lived and ascended to heaven.

Overseeing Mary's tomb.

Sunday, January 2, 2011

Happy New Year!

Happy New Year from the Middle East! My resolution for the turning of time - 6 weeks of vegan awesomeness. I feel good about day two, and while I would definitely cheat if there were a Funfetti cake in front of me right now, I'm looking forward to the challenge.

I am also promising myself to try and remember to reassess daily from a good and positive place. Remember my own goals, smile at the little victories, and approach the world with kindness.

Oh, and start searching for a job / the next adventure.

Um, and read more. Less tv. Unless I decide the opposite is better.

Any other resolutions out there?