I had a restful night perched on a hill overlooking the large lake behind the King Talal Dam. I had an awesome view and enjoyed watching the sun set behind the mountains.
Hiking is getting – how can I say it? – repetitive. More ups and downs, green hillsides, and – surprise, surprise – more olive groves. Shepherds meandered the hillsides while their sheep grazed on the abundant green grass. Something tells me the grass will soon be gone when the rain stops and the blazing sun seers what grass the sheep leave behind.
People are always out tending to the olive groves: modifying the irrigation canals, trimming the trees, or tilling the soil. They are always quick with a smile and a “Salaam alaikum.”
It was late afternoon when I walked into Rmeimeem. I was pretty hungry so the first thing I did was stop at one of the two restaurants in the village. It turned out that Jamal, the restaurant owner, spoke English very well, so we started talking. He asked me where I’d be spending the night and I told him I’d head up the trail a few kilometers in find a place to set up my tent.
“No, no. You can’t do that, it’s too dangerous. You will sleep at my brother’s house tonight. His name is Muhammad and he speaks English just as well as I do.”
I thought to myself, “Why not, the wind is howling and it looks like it will rain.”
Muhammad is quite a guy. He is a very devout Muslim who likes to read to keep up with what is going on in the world. We stayed up until 2 a.m.chatting. His views on Islam were very moderate and it was interesting to hear his thoughts on world events. They were surprisingly enlightened seeing as how Muhammad lives in a small village in the middle of the mountains.
I felt a bit overwhelmed at his warm Jordanian hospitality; he spent over two hours fixing a special dish for me. Judging by his dilapidated house and his bare minimum furnishings, he didn’t have a lot of money; the dish he prepared must have set him back a fair bit. I asked his brother if it would be an insult if I offered him money in return for his hospitality. His answer was a resounding YES! Yet I knew it would be an even greater insult if I refused his hospitality.
I didn’t sleep very well because the bed had kind of fallen apart numerous times and was patched back together which left it on a slant and very bumpy. The mosquitoes also buzzed around me all night long. I couldn’t have gotten more than 3 hours of sleep.
The call to prayers woke us up at 5 a.m. Muhammad got up to pray while I packed my gear.
When I left, Muhammad was fast asleep. I left a long letter for him and some money. I explained that I couldn’t go and buy him a gift so I left him the money so he could buy himself a gift to remember me by. If he didn’t want to do that I told him to donate it to the mosque. Maybe they could use it to purchase a more powerful amplifier so the call to prayers would actually shake the foundation of Muhammad’s house.
All of my journal entries from the Jordan Trail can be found here: Jordan Trail