A Desert Ride and Surprise

The ride from Amman to Petra took roughly three and a half hours, not including the mint tea and bathroom breaks. There were dedicated tourist transports that featured a shorter trip to the southern ruins, but hoping to save that extra Jordanian dinar, I decided to make my way to the impromptu bus station by my guesthouse and bought a spot on a local Eurovan.

There were eleven passengers packed into the vehicle: myself, an extended Bedouin family of six, and a group of young Jordanian men fashionably dressed in black suits.

Black suits. Uncomfortable attire for Middle East heat, no?

I imagined the Korean American backpacker would be the focus of attention for the locals. Rather, it was the dapper of the young men in black that received much of the gawks and stares for the drive.

I have a hard time describing what I saw traveling through the Jordanian badlands. The particular ochre of the landscape, I had only seen in Warner Brothers cartoons. At first, the wadis seemed sterile, its sands as if untouched and preserved by the passage of time. Yet, the stillness spoke as much as the endless miles the desert stretched. There was something in the counterpoint of earth and sky, mountain and valley, gorges and cliffs that re-inspired in me my excitement for the adventure I had taken on.

When the sun disappeared over the hills, the desert stars that had taken its place shone bright on this biblical land. The light above punctuated the night sky as if showing the way to the ruins of Petra.

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