ENJOY BEDOUIN SWEET TEA AT LAWRENCE’S HOUSE
Once again we were taken to a place that we did not know about. Ahmed parked the truck next to a tent that resembled a rest area at the Red Sand Dune.
We got off the truck and followed him to a large tent with a cement floor. Inside there were two male and female tourists accompanied by a guide and tent attendant. At the entrance to the right of the tent, there was a large table with all kinds of souvenirs for sales such as headgears, bracelets, necklaces, kohl, and many more.
After we all said “Salam wa aleïkoum” we split up, Steve, Pete, and Matthew sat together with two tourists and a driver around a small campfire. I was sitting some distance from them. Sighing, I sat on the floor on a large pillow. As usual, Ahmed laid down on the pillows – cushions that lined up neatly on the floor.
I did not know how many times we would stop and did nothing. If not because of the stinging sun I would have explored this place. I was so eager to see many places in this short time while Ahmed was always tired and sleepy because of the month of fasting and summer. During the fasting month, most of the citizens avoid activities outside the home. Many restaurants, markets, shops, offices, and entertainment venues were closed. Moreover, there were lots of wars and tensions at the border. Several times on my way from Amman to Wadi Musa I saw military vehicles.
Fewer tourists dare to set foot in this small country even though this country is full of history, natural wealth, and hospitality of the population. Not to mention the delicious food that I had never tasted before. In one sense a few tourists allowed me to enjoy every opportunity without many problems. While in Petra, I felt the ease of visiting every place freely. I did not jostle with other tourists who were often annoying and did not respect local customs. Especially what made me excited was the opportunity to capture as many photos as possible. I did not know how many photos I got when I was in Siq, Monastery, and other historic buildings.
One of the incomes in this small country is tourism. The impact of fewer tourists causes a decrease in state income and population. Jordan surrounded by countries that are at war or conflict with other countries, but Jordan is safe. At first, I was hesitant to extend my trip after going to Egypt and Israel. After reading many stories from travel bloggers that Jordan is safe, I ventured to go alone exploring Petra and Wadi Rum. Moreover, many travel articles showed Jordan is easy to navigate even for female travelers like me who repeatedly get lost on the trip. I was not looking for a travel agent or booked many tours during my days in Jordan, only booked a room in Amman and a desert trip in Wadi Rum from a local tour operator. Armed with knowledge from the internet and travel blogs, I asked a travel agent in Indonesia to book a ticket ten days after the group returned to Indonesia. A decision that I never regret.
I was ecstatic to experience (even if only half a day) the natural beauty of Wadi Rum. When sat cross-legged I didn’t hear pickup trucks moving back and forth or people going in and out of the tent. I felt a soothing silence, sometimes the sound of the wind howling from afar or the desert wind stroking my hair. Now and then I heard the chatter and laughter of people near the campfire.
Soon Mark sat next to me. We sat without saying anything. The tent attendant offered us a cup of sweet tea, Bedouin tribal tea that tasted similar to tea I drank near Galata Tower in Istanbul. The color was almost blackish-brown, bitter, and very sweet. The Bedouin tea is the mixture of dried leaves, dried flowers, cinnamon, various desert plants, and other rare plants that makes the price of tea expensive. The process is quite long and lots of sugar. A sip of sweet and bitter tea restored energy.
Bored sitting in the tent I decided to look around the area close to the tent. Waving goodbye to the tent attendant I walked out of the tent. To my left, I saw a ruined building with a side wall attached to a large rock. were the ruins part of the Lawrence House? Out of curiosity upon returning to Amman, I searched the internet. According to stories on the internet, this house was used by Lawrence to store weapons. I was disappointed because Ahmed’s understanding of English was very little. Consequently, I only understood a little about the wonders of Wadi Rum and the lives of the Bedouin people. I rely on memories from what I had read before leaving Indonesia. While looking at the stone structure around the building, I walked in search of the shade to avoid the heat of the sun. Soon Steve, Pete, and Matthew came from the direction of the rocks. I did not realize that they had left the tent.
“You can go up and see the scenery from the top,” Pete said.
“Well … I’m good. I am not really up to walk up. “
Weather and wind not only carved sandstone naturally into natural bridges but also created famous rock formations. One of them was Mushroom Rock shaped like a mushroom in the middle of the desert. One of the stones that I had seen in many media.
I got off the truck and took some photos. While waiting for my travel mates to hike to a higher place, I set a wide scarf to protect my head from the sun. I’d rather wear a scarf than a hat. Matthew must hold his hat whenever the strong wind blew while Steve (wearing a Bedouin headband) and I freely enjoyed the trip. It was crucial to protect my face from the sun and hair from dust. Besides that, I had to secure my precious camera whenever it was in the sun or around dusty places.
Ahmed was an expert at driving, he drove our vehicle fast and spins several times like in an action movie. I was usually afraid of this kind of maneuver on the streets, but here I was laughing while holding the bench tightly.
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