Today was a continuation of hiking up Wadi Aheimar. As I continued up this awesome wadi the walls on either side came closer and closer together – sometimes only 6 feet apart. Not only that, according to my topo map, they towered straight up to heights of 600 feet. Never have I seen anything like this before.
When I reached the end of the wadi, it was a steep climb out to the small settlement of Abbasiya where the population couldn’t have been over 25 people. They were the first people I had seen in more than two and a half days, except for the one shepherd.
And guess what? The first one I saw invited me in for tea and a bit later lunch was served (bread, stewed tomatoes, and scrambled eggs). I’ll never forget the generous, friendly, hospitable Bedouins. Part of their culture is to help strangers and, yes, they do it for that reason but they genuinely enjoy doing it. I refuse to take their generosity for granted and sincerely thank them each time they invite me into their tent or house. I enjoyed two and a half days of solitude, but when I was in the home of this Bedouin I realized how much I enjoyed chatting with them over a cup of tea.
After I left Abbasiya I had to turn down several offers of tea and a place to sleep for the night. It’s hard for me to turn down this hospitality but I do it in the most polite way I can, and I think they understand.
I passed by the ruins of a Nabataean village built around 80 BC. No people or informational signs were around so I didn’t learn anything other than what I got out of the Lonely Planet book. All I could do was to wander around the ruins and guess what everything was.
For the last part of the day I was crossing 6 or 7 miles of flat desert where I made very good time. The more I walked the windier it got. After a while it was so windy I was getting blown sideways while sand and dust filled the air.
“Damn, why didn’t I take up the last Bedouin’s offer for a place to stay?!” I thought.
When I made it to New Humiema the winds were howling. A man driving a pickup stopped and asked me if I needed any help. When I asked him if there was a hotel nearby he told me to jump in his truck and he drove down the road a mile or so to a hotel. I was so elated since there was no way I could have slept in this wind, plus I haven’t bathed for 4 days and a shower was sounding pretty good.
Disappointment set in when they told me it was full. The manager must have known I had to find a place to sleep. I didn’t know it at the time but he was calling a friend to see if I could sleep over at his house for the night. Several minutes later Muhammad drove up and told me I was to sleep at his house.
He treated me to a traditional Bedouin dinner with his two sons and nephew. Apparently the women never eat with the men. Now as I sit here writing these words the wind is so strong the windows are rattling. Let it blow! I’m safe and secure due to the generous Bedouin hospitality. One of these nights I may be caught in a wind storm with nowhere to go and I’m not sure what I’ll do. Up until now I’ve been very lucky.
You can find all my journal entries from hiking the Jordan Trail here: Jordan Trail