130 hours in Jordan
The first thing that you feel in Jordan once you land is, goose bumps. Not just the tiny ones on your arm because of the cold air whistling through your nostrils, ears and other orifices but the type that makes your senses go bump with awe as you look out on to the gentle contours of the sand coloured landscape. Please note that when I say gentle it doesn’t denote flatness or plain-ness. What it means is that there is a calm exterior that hides within itself years of holy wars, events of biblical consequences, aggressive conversations between warring tribes when metal met metal and rivers of blood flowed through the canyons etched out of the surrounding granite hills. Driving towards our hotel with the calmness wrapped around me I could feel also feel the ebb and flow of history all around. Civilizations had left their mark in this country of a few million.
Amman is a chatter-box of a city. Constantly hustling, selling, talking, eating, drinking, arguing, laughing, shouting out in excitement, joking… its myriad moods give it an infectious joie de vivre. So we took the easy road, we laughed along with them. The chill in the air (it was December when we were there) brought out the sheeshas in the cafes and a certain thrill of being alive and happy. It’s an ambiance that automatically puts a smile on the lips and a song in the heart. The sun was not out….so what! It was drizzly and cold ….so what! The day was short and grey….so what! You get the picture? That’s what a song in the heart does.
We travelled on the road to Petra the next day through some truly jaw-dropping vistas. The place where Moses stood and looked out on to the Holy Land. The hills of Jericho. The undulating, unending landscape of sand and stone through which the Jordan river snaked its way. The spot where Christ was baptized. There was so much history all around that we could almost reach out and touch it.
After the clammy saltiness of the Dead Sea it was time for Petra, that magnificent outpost of civilization carved into stone. The road to Petra prepares you for this revelation. Giant sandstone rocks carved through the centuries with wind and water looked down at us haughtily. Their colours changed with the intensity of the sunlight. All around there was a sense of vastness and wonder about the many civilizations that this Biblical land had been home to. The walk through the Siq makes one feel utterly inconsequential in the face of such incredible beauty, and then…. the Treasury reveals itself. All you can do is stare at it in wonder and take it all in with all your senses. The camel guy and the young boy trying to lure you to take a donkey ride and the annoying trinket seller all fade into the background. What remains is the thought, have we really evolved or did evolution stop centuries ago?
The sandy dunes of Wadi Rum were ringed by spectacular sandstone and granite mountains as old as time itself. They looked down at us with deeply furrowed majesty their expression light and dark in turns depending on which way the sun shone. That nature could continue to surprise us so relentlessly was surprising. The stark landscape seemed so extraterrestrial and as we settled into our Bedouin tent for the night the silence all around lit up by the blazing stars. I felt like a million bucks!