Poagao's Journal

Absolutely Not Your Monkey

Feb 19 2013

Middle East trip, part 5

2/17
I got up at 7 a.m. and walked out into the desert a bit to watch the sun rise. It had just done so when the call of nature had me back in the latrine, so I missed a bit of the drama. Still, what greeted me when I got back was impressive, the scrub shadows slowly pulling in and some semblance of warmth pouring in from the sun.

As much as I would like to have stayed, we had to head on. Nabil, who had gotten up at 6:30, overslept and had to be prodded into service at 9. I’d just discovered a nifty little path up into the rocks behind the camp, but there was no time to explore it, alas. Next time, perhaps.

We took a 4×4 back to the paved parts of the world, and piled into the van again. “To Aqaba?” I asked Nabil.

“To Aqaba!” he replied, smiling. Nabil is another Lawrence of Arabia fan and knew the film well. We chatted about it along the way, about what was accurate, and what wasn’t, etc.

Aqaba is a lovely seaside town, it turns out, trendy and modern, with better weather than Amman. We took a glass bottom boat tour with a guide who explained the coral formations and pointing out a sunken tank and the remains of a WWI ship in French-accented English, despite the fact that he doesn’t speak French. Bubbles kept getting in the way of the view out the bottom of the boat, but it was pleasant just tooling around the Red Sea, in view of the three countries of Jordan, Egypt and Israel. Saudi Arabia was just around the corner as well, our boatman pointed out.

After the tour, we walked up the street and had some rather terrible food. Now, this was the point where I should have remembered that the family of a friend of mine, Khaled, actually owns and operates a Taiwanese restaurant in Aqaba, but my head was still so full of the amazing desert scenes of Wadi Rum, and my stomach still full of something rather nasty, that I completely forgot until we were well on our way back to Amman. I felt terrible about that, and I really will have to make another trip to correct this oversight.

We drove for about four hours, stopping again for Nabil to pray just before sunset, and though I was exhausted when we arrived back in Amman, I still managed to go out again with Basem, Mohammad, and Fahed to walk up and down the trendy Rainbow Street area, where Mohammad gave a kid 15 dinar for cakes that cost 20 (meaning the kid got the money and Mohammad didn’t have to eat the cake). Later we drove past the Palestinian refugee neighborhood, and had a late midnight dinner at Hots.

posted by Poagao at 6:02 am  

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