Monday, April 1, 2013

The Land of Now and Way Back When...

Make My Day!!! Dirty Harry you might ask??? No...the six year old selling postcards on the trail down to see the Treasury in Petra at 8 o'clock in the morning. So unexpected, but frankly, our entire trip was full of those fun little surprising moments. Once again in late February this year, we found ourselves with our fellow travelers, Bill and Sarah, on 'our next great adventure' into history and in the country of Jordan.
Piling into our van with our guide named Eid, we headed out of the city of Amman to begin our newest discoveries. Eid quickly became a friend as we could not get enough history and information out of him the entire trip. He was born in a bedouin tent outside of Amman, now married with three children, and had a laugh that was, in a word, infectious. Everywhere we went he was shaking hands with a friend and introducing us to worlds other than our own. We ventured into Karak, Petra, Amman, and Jarash welcoming the awe of going back into time and melding it with present day. Words like 4th century, 6th century, ancient, rocks of the ages, during biblical times, AD and/or BC were part of our daily conversation.
Driving all over the country, I noticed spring waking up and green starting to appear in the desert as areas of grass dotted the sandy and also very rocky desert hills. Modern day villas were sporadically sprinkled around the area and blended into the hills and herds of goats and sheep wandered about together patiently watched over by their owners...sometimes very young boys and sometimes very old men. We were curious about goats and sheep existing so well together and Eid explained that sheep are slow and the goats keep them moving...Oh.
Indiana Jones reintroduced us all to The Treasury (really a very large tomb) and we were excited to get down there to see it. Making that walk, time fell away again and it was easy to peek into the past as life continues on there as we might have imagined it back then. Donkeys and camels are still their modern day taxi cabs inside these mountain areas of life. Young children are working along side their mothers selling jewelry and handmade dolls to name a few, running errands, delivering quite a different life than what we know. The caves in these mountains that used to thrive with life are empty now, but their silence is loud with how they were lived in by families that only left them just over 30 years ago. I walked into one on the top of a hill and a visiting french choir was in it singing the most beautiful rendition of Frere Jacques I have ever heard. It was hard to leave. We walked into a recently excavated church where an even more recently excavated room full of scrolls had been discovered. The man who discovered this room was there and we had the honor of time with him as he described to us what it was like to find these pieces of history neatly placed in a trunk waiting to be discovered, letting us know what life was like back then. Walking between the walls of the mountains that encompass this area (from time to time) I would reach over and run my hand up and down the rock imagining the eras that those walls had witnessed. We laughed as we watched a couple of runaway camels bolt down the Siq (pathway to the Treasury) followed  by their 11 or 12 year old "supervisor" on the back of a donkey running at full speed behind the camels (waving his stick and yelling as if he could be heard) to catch up and the icing on the cake was the trip over to the Jordan River...walking that pathway to the water and letting my imagination go crazy with the history there...I can't even describe it... 
Here Roman ruins and telephone lines exist together...I's weird to use those words in the same sentence, but it's true. Cars and camels, grass growing in sand, bedouin tents and pick-up trucks, music in the rocks, and mountains that will forever remain quiet and strong...history-laden and thought provoking for years to come.
Bill and Sarah...Where are we going next?