Today was a cold, blustery day hiking through ho hum countryside. It wasn’t a particularly hard day, but the scenery of barren mountains and sweeping vistas is getting very common. I just enjoyed walking alone in the nearly deserted hills meeting a shepherd here and there. Today I kind of changed gears from being stimulated by new sights and learning about new cultures to just walking for the sake of enjoyment.
Towards the end of the day as I was nearing my destination of Tur Taboun, I came across a shepherd heading home with his two sons and flock of sheep. In his broken English, he insisted I spend the night at his house. Since the wind was blowing and I might not have been able to find a place to camp for the night I finally reluctantly agreed.
Khaled had a modest house he shared with his wife, two sons, and daughter. It was late afternoon so we sat around talking, sipping tea, and watching television. At dinner time I couldn’t believe the lavish meal that was prepared by his wife and daughter: chicken stew, tahina, salad with a special dressing, yogurt, and the usual unleavened bread. It was really good.
I felt a little guilty that someone with such modest means would go to such lengths to please me.
“It’s Bedouin hospitality,” Khaled would say, “Our tradition is one of being very hospitable to strangers.”
After dinner Khaled and I talked while sipping tea.
“My wife no good,” he said, “Woman no good, I don’t like them much.”
I was surprised to hear this since his wife was obviously a good mother and devoted wife nevermind a great cook. But I kind of just shrugged it off.
When it was time to go to sleep Khaled said he and I would sleep in the tent next to the sheep.
“Why?” I asked since there was plenty of extra room in the house.
“I must guard the sheep from dogs and wild animals,” he replied. “They eat the little lambs.”
“Whatever,” I thought as I really couldn’t argue with him.
The tent was somewhat comfortable but it had the kind of goat smell I’ve come to loath and know so well. Nevertheless it didn’t take long for me to fall off into a deep sleep.
You can find all my journal entries from hiking the Jordan Trail here: Jordan Trail