Friday, 26 November 2010

A Friday Adventure Part 2





I didn't get to finish my story about the Omani adventure so thought I'd pick that up now before I delve into Jordan. so many stories to tell so little time. My work weeks have been fairly hectic. I'm so looking forward to having a break in December, looking forward to going to New Zealand and spending Christmas with everyone. Especially with Noah. I spoke to him this morning, well he gurgled and squealed and wanted the keyboard while I talked to him. He's grown such a lot, a busy wee boy.

Oman, well it was a lovely day. Blue skies and excellent company. We travelled through the border, got the police escort and continued on to find a place to have a swim. We drove for ages, cresting hills with steep drops on the other side and stopping for photos ops along the way. We stopped at a small, walled cemetery and I got a nice shot of the crescent on the corner pillar against the brilliant blue of the sky. Looking up the valley we could see an oasis in a gully, a sea of green on an otherwise barren landscape.

Where there is an oasis, there is a settlement. The oasis provides work, food, social contact and where there are people there are mosques. There are some amazing mosques scattered in unlikely places, small community mosques that are at the centre of this isolated rural life. Driving along the dusty metal roads we were amazed to see these small communities perched on the side of a wadi, some dry and waiting for the winter rains and some with trickles of water.

We reached our goal, Wadi Madbah. We took the low road and drove straight into the wadi. It was very dry with isolated pools, light blue pools from the calcite deposits ringing the sides where the water had evaporated in the summer heat. It was cool in the wadi, it was by then later in the afternoon. We were a little disappointed, nowhere to swim? We wandered on and found an amazing pool fed by a small waterfall that seemed to come from no where.

The water was fresh, cool and soft, a different feel to the hard Al Ain water. I wondered where the water had come from so took of my shoes and climbed the slippery rocks up the side of the waterfall. A worthwhile climb as it turned out. There was a much bigger waterfall on the next level with a gravel apron. The water from the second waterfall must have been filtered under this apron, no wonder it was fresh and cool. The cliffs of the wadi were awe inspiring, towering high above us. Jane and I peered up, Bart took the photo.

Hot and bothered, we took the risk and got in the water. It was refreshing and the little fish made us squeal as they nibbled our feet. I wanted to stay there forever but it got a little chilly as the sun sank behind the hills and it was time to head home. We had found an excellent place to camp, a place for another adventure. The border crossing was interesting, the guards were not sure where we'd come from or where we wanted to go. We had no idea which road was the right one either. The sun set as we headed back to Al Ain.

I love this area, that I can go across a border into another country that has completely different terrain, a completely different feel, a different way of life. A simpler way of life. The only down side, and I'm noticing this increasingly as I travel, is the amount of litter scattered about. It spoils the natural beauty of the places I visit. The people I travel about with always take their rubbish with them, I just wish everyone would.

Tuesday, 23 November 2010

Thinking


Living away from New Zealand, there are often things that happen that are not reported elsewhere in the world. We are a small country, we have a small population but the plight of the miners from the Pike River mine was not one of those happenings. I woke to the news on BBC while in Petra, breaking news I couldn't believe.

As I've followed the story, watched it unfold from so far away, I've felt helpless. Those poor men and their families, the news so far does not appear to be good news. My heart goes out to them and I've included a photo I took at St George Church in Madaba, Jordan, candles of hope.

Wednesday, 17 November 2010

Jordan




It's been a hectic few days. I spent three days checking out Amman and surrounds on my own and really enjoyed spending time on the top of the hill at the Citadel. The Citadel is Amman's crowning glory, some amazing Roman ruins in various states of restoration situated at the top of one of the many hills. Watching the sunset over the city was magical and the light fantastic for taking photos, three of which are above. Hanging out up there for the afternoon I could imagine what it may have been like to live there when it was a bustling town.

Part way through the afternoon I realised that the UV filter on my main lens was broken, oh no what about my photos. After downloading them, I discovered that over half of them were ruined and had to be deleted, just as well I had plenty of others and didn't lose those late in the day ones.

Sue and I have just returned from 9 hours of sightseeing, our poor driver Mohammed had to put up with us all day. I'm sure he'll be pleased to be back with his family tonight so he celebrate at least a small part of this first day of Eid. Sue and I are really grateful to him for a fantastic day, more stories and photos on this to follow. For now, it's food and a nice red then a big sleep as we have another long day tomorrow when we head to Wadi Ram after visiting Mount Nebo.

Thursday, 11 November 2010

Eid Mubarak

Eid mubarak to everyone, yes it's Eid and we have a weeks break. There were celebrations in school today, the boys very keen to get home and start this week of celebrations. Eid al-Adha is the festival of sacrifice and commemorates the trials and triumphs of the prophet Abraham (Islam.about.com). If you click on the link there is more detailed information but suffice to say that many goats will be killed and eaten this week.

This vegetarian will not be partaking in the eating of goats but will enjoy the other yummy food the Middle East has to offer. Sue and I are heading to Jordan, I can't wait. It's been my dream for many years to visit Petra so i will get to do that plus swim in the Dead Sea and see the rest of the popular sights. I'm also hoping to do a day trip into Damascus, will keep you posted on how that goes. So it's bye for now, I'm off to Dubai to catch a plane. Eid mabarak!