Saturday, 6 September 2008

Pilgrimage from Thughrat Al Jubb to Az Zarqa 28/08/08

Waking from a wonderful sleep a quick glance around ensures I'm safe to roll over and continue on. The sun has only just risen and there is not a sole to be seen, except for the occasional car driving below on the highway. Perfect :)

Waking again around 7am the air is still cool and with the sky slightly overcast I couldn't ask for a better day. Enjoying the nothingness I pack up my gear and set off...

Tap tap tap...

Big heavy raindrops start falling around me. Slightly panicked I glance skyward and am pleased the sky above me is blue. Rain is the last thing I'm prepared for and the last thing I was expecting out here. My waterproof bags aren't done up and there's no shelter as far as the eye can see. If it starts pissing down I'm in big trouble :(

The view behind isn't comforting, or what I can see if it anyway. Only a few kilometers from where I stand the desert disappears into a thick haze. God I hope that's not rain...

My pace quickens and the big drop ease off, within half an hour there's not a cloud to be seen and the temperature begins to rise...maybe rain wasn't so bad after all :)Encouraged by the continuous flow of waves and cheers from the passing traffic I soldier on. A line from a movie keeps popping into my head...

A merchant wishes the hero well as he leaves his tent "May you find water and shade..."

To someone who has never walked through the desert this is a pretty obvious yet strangely meaningless statement, but now I get it in it's entirety...and I really need some shade! Completely in my own little world I don't even notice the tree on the hill next to me until a rubbish collector yells out, literally jumping off the ground with enthusiasm to get me to join him. Sitting on a bit of cardboard with a little fire next to him for his tea he greets me like he's the happiest man in the world.

With a big toothless grin, sharp eyes, dark weathered skin and a bright orange safety vest he's a character, it's just a shame he's camera shy ;) There's only one glass between us and he insists on forgoing his tea so I can drink. Sitting there in the middle of nowhere enjoying a simple lunch of bread and cheese I feel entirely content.

Continuing on I only make 5kms before the heat starts getting to me again, it's now after midday and the sun is in full force. Spotting a tunnel I think I'm in luck but the incredible stench of wild animal knocks me back. Or is that just me???

Deciding it's probably this or nothing I make myself comfortable and quickly crash out. Feeling dazed on waking I try to get back to sleep but the smell and the flies become too much, I've got to get moving!

An oncoming police car slows down beside me and I prepare to for some questions. The next thing I know I'm blasted with their loudspeaker...

"WELCOME! WELCOME TO JORDAN!!!"

I can't help joining in as their cackling continues out the loudspeaker as they drive off :)

Turning off the highway I'm met with nothing but military facility after military facility. It seems a never ending wall of concrete and barbed wire, and just to tease I'm sure, all the trees are safely tucked away on the other side.

By the time I reach Az Zarqa I'm exhausted, having walked the last 14kms without a break. I'm also about to die of thirst! Collapsing at the first shop I come to I can barely speak and it isn't until finishing my second drink I finally start to make some sense.

Mahmud, Adel and Ahmed are awesome and ensure I'm entertained while I'm there. They don't let me pay and then insist I come across the road for watermelon. Now this is what I needed. Eating so much I can hardly walk I say a big "thank you" to the guys and go in search of a hotel.

Locating the center of town I soon find what I'm looking for...

"Do you have any rooms available?"

He rings up and checks with the boss "Yes, I only have one room left but it comes with TV and A/C"

"How much is it?"

"Twenty-five Pounds"

"Can you do it for ten?"

"The rooms without TV and A/C I could do for ten but this one I can not. Come have a look and then we'll see..."

He takes me upstairs and shows me the room...

"For you, you can gave it for 18 pounds. With a TV this is a good price"

"I will take it for ten, that's it. I really don't need a TV"

"Actually, we have one more room just like this but slightly smaller, you can have that for 15 pounds"

The next room is dodgy so pointing back to the other room...

"If you want I'll take that one for ten, otherwise I'll continue looking"

"Actually, we have one more room if you want. This one doesn't have a TV and you can have it for ten"

Wankers :) Normally I would leave at this stage but I'm hot, tired and want to do some writing...

Sighing "Yep, that will be great. Thanks"

Going for dinner and a quick stop at the internet I set myself up in my room typing. With one blog almost finished the "You are now running on reserve power" warning flashes...

I'll just finish this story then plug myself in...

One story leads to the next which leads to the next. Suddenly the computer shuts down...

Noooooooooooo!!!!!

Why do I do this to myself when I'm behind in my blogs. The document isn't saved!!! Frantically plugging the computer in my fears are confirmed...gone! :( I have a moment of despair, want to cry, want to throw myself out the window then take a deep breath and start again.

It's hard when I get behind on my blogs. All my spare time goes into trying to catch up and the problem is it's never ending, as soon as one blogs finished there's more stories to tell...

1 comment:

Nicu Panaitescu said...

Ha ha, that's what the modern pilgrim is supposed to do! Walk the desert, write wonderful stories and entertain our lazy bones!
Cheers Ben! I'm there with you.