Snowstorms in the desert. Erik’s travel across the whole of Jordan despite the ice, meter of snow, and scared, dangerous drivers. The McAdams 3 adventure through Sri Lanka. Laura’s first rock climbing experience in the wild. AMENDS conference in Istanbul. Snorkeling the Red Sea with an old college buddy. Getting to know my aunt over hooka and coffee with cardamom. So much has happened since my last post, it is hard to know how to start. I guess I’ll begin with the freshest happening: a hike in the north.
A friend I met through work is, each weekend, walking a leg of the Abraham Path, a long-distance, international trek. It is more of a symbolic trek; there is no real evidence that Abraham walked in these specific areas. This Friday I decided to tag along with him and his three American friends: some previous Fulbrighters to Jordan, all had studied Arabic in the country at some point and were now working for various NGOs in Amman.
Topographical printouts and directions in hand, we set out for Beit Yedis, a village somewhere north of Ajloun so small, most of the dozens of locals we asked for directions had never heard of it. (Typical directions given: um… go straight, straight, straight. After that, go straight.)
A couple of entertaining detours and three hours later, we parked the car in the town’s central square, bought some junk food, and headed out on our walk, tramping through rocky tilled fields and crunchy asphalt paths. Along the trail we saw something labeled the “Jesus Cave” with an old olive press inside (apparently I did not deem it spectacular enough for a photo) and a field with Jordanian families picnic-ing and enjoying the unseasonably warm weather. After checking out the ruins of an old Byzantine church (complete with mosaics hidden under the dust that I seriously should have deemed worth of a photo) we began the hike in earnest.
We scrambled down the side of the hill into the valley below. I don’t think any one of us managed to get down without taking a tumble or two.
10 kilometers of beautiful, quiet countryside and one cowfarm later, we arrived at Pella just in time for sunset.
We caught a ride back to Beit Yedis from Pella for 1JD each in one of those green Hyundai vans that are so common in areas where there is no public transportation, and drove back home for a huge feast of Yemeni food: flat bread as wide in diameter as car tires, a large platter heaped with rice and spiced meats, skillets of mashed tomatoes and stewed broad beans, and a heavy bowl of banana-flavored, creamy oatmeal-like grain, topped with honey.