Wednesday, 10 September 2008

Pilgrimage from Middle of Nowhere to the King Hussein Bridge 05/09/08

After a restless night Steph's up at first light...

"We're short of water, we should get going before the sun rises"

"Sounds good"

"Are you feeling any better?"

"Well that's a very broad question isn't it!" She snaps...

Yes it is, but I think it's answered :)

Looking out over the desert hills I take a moment to enjoy the stillness. Magical! Setting off Steph's still not in a good way. It's already bloody hot and I can tell she's struggling.

Finally a big dam comes into view with small shacks starting to dot the desert. At the first inhabited place we come to I go to get a drink while Steph waits on the road. I'm completely out of water. After I shoo away the dogs and make my way to the camp the woman feeding the cows ignores me completely. Standing in the middle of their yard I notice a scarved head pop out a window smiling broadly...


"Do you mind if I get some water?"

"No problem"

Calling out to the other woman she lets her know what I want. She comes over with a sour look on her face...

"But it's Ramadan!"

"I know...but I'm not Muslim"

The woman's look sours some more, luckily the girl in the window seems to think it's quite funny and saying a few words explains I must be Christian. Sour face gives me a quick glance up and down before indicating I should follow, leading me to a small tent with a big jug of drinking water. Gulping down a mug full I don't feel right asking to fill my bottle. Meeting Steph back on the road I offer to walk her back...

"NO, I don't want to go back! I can't believe you didn't fill your bottle!"

"No, I didn't. But if you want I'll walk you back"


I can see Steph's completely out if water but civilization can't be too far away. It better not be anyway or I'm going to be carrying her out :) Ploughing on it's slow going and getting hotter and hotter. Much to our relief an army ute pulls into a driveway ahead, the first car we've seen all day!

"Excuse me, do you guys have water?"

Searching around the truck we're dismayed what they manage to rummage up...empty bottles :(

"Here jump in"

There's not really much choice. jumping in the car they take us down to their office, water never tasted so good! :) Steph collapses on the footpath deciding to get a taxi back to Amman and fly to Jerusalem. She's over it!

Hitching a ride back to our pickup point I make my way down the hill to Steph. She takes a little convincing but I finally manage to talk her into walking the last kilometer to the main road.

Still not sure where we are we decide to hitch. If Steph is comfortable with the driver great :) If not it looks like I'll be heading back to Amman...

Five minutes of standing in the sun and we're over it, the problem is we don't know which direction the closest town is. Just as we're both about to loose it a taxi pulls up...

"How much to Amman?"

"Five Lira"

"Five Lira!!!"


Thats that. We say our farewells and agree to meet in Jerusalem. A bit of a strange parting but under the circumstances it's as good as it gets. I'm still super glad she made the effort to be here :)

Heading west I only make two kilometers before getting invited in for a drink. But this is one of the problems about being a tourist in Ramadan, my hosts can't join me in and I feel slightly guilty gulping down huge amounts of Sprite in front of them :)

The heat's now in full force and when I head off and spotting a market 200m down the road I stop once more. The guys here are great and hiding out the back of their store are happy to sit, smoke and drink tea :)

"How far is King Hussein Bridge?"

"Not far...about eight kilometers"

WOW! That's awesome :) I'm a lot closer than I thought. Not knowing what time they close for the day I decide to leg it down there as fast as possible. Even though it is stinking hot I make reasonable time and after a few short brakes make it down to the bridge...

My last border crossing!!!

Feeling very happy with myself I approach the first checkpoint...

"Sorry, we are closed"

Ugghhhhh! "When do you open next?"

"Eight am tomorrow morning"

Oh well, could be worse. I did hear a rumor they weren't open on Saturdays which would have been a real fucker. An American couple with a hire car also get turned away and offer to give me a lift back to town. Cheers guys :)

With no hotels for 50kms there's nothing to do other than stuff around until dark and camp close to the border. Having no luck finding internet at least one restaurant I ask lets me eat out the back which saves me from being completely miserable. And the heat just keeps getting worse and worse! Even spending the day sitting still in the shade it isn't until 6pm I finally stop sweating! Awesome!!!

Darkness finally sets in and walking a couple of kilometers back towards the bridge I find a nice clearing on the side of the road to set camp. This close to town I feel more comfortable in my tent but even at this hour it's like a sauna, it takes me a long time before I drift off...

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