Bedouin night and Petra

Middle East 5Although many of us were not quite ready to say goodbye to Damascus, we were all excited for what was to lie ahead in Jordan. We spent the first two days in the capital of Jordan, Amman, where we had time to explore the city and meet with the MCC representatives in Jordan. We got to hear many stories from them as they have been living in the area for a while and could give us another perspective to some of the conflict in the region. On Wednesday, we went to Petra which is probably one of the coolest places that I have ever been in. This ancient Nabatean city was completely carved out in the side of several mountains and was very well preserved. We spent all day exploring and hiking the trails in the city which led to some really beautiful lookouts of the surrounding area. In one of the churches that was carved out in the mountain, some of the group began singing someStudents admire the ancient Nabatean city of Petra. familiar hymns. This was a really powerful moment for not only the group singing, but also many other tourists that walked by and stopped to listen.

Just when we thought that we had reached the high point in the trip when we visited Petra, we traveled to Wadi-Rum to stay with the Bedouins for a night in the desert. When we got there, we unpacked our stuff and loaded up onto three jeeps that were going to take us out into the desert. We started out just driving on the road and then we picked up some speed and headed for the sand. You could tell that the Bedouin men that were driving the jeeps were having as much fun as we all were riding in the back. We were riding around for a while and had several stops so we could climb some of the rock formations and sand dunes. At one of the stops, one of the drivers motioned to Linford to hop into the driver’s seat and take it for a spin. I’m pretty sure that Linford thought we were racing and it was obvious that he was not going to settle for last! At our last stop on the jeep tour, we climbed up onto one of the rocks and watched the sunset. It was a great end to the jeep rides. We then got back to the camp and had a delicious dinner followed by some singing and dancing. Once again, Linford didn’t fail to provide the entertainment. In the morning, we ate breakfast and set out for our camel rides. I was a bit anxious about this as I heard that camels can be very unpredictable and not the most comfortable. We all had a lot of fun and found out that both of those rumors are correct.

The week we spent in Jordan was full of adventure and many memories. We were also very fortunate to have such an awesome tour guide in Jordan as he was very willing to answer any questions that we had (and also a lot of fun). We are back in Amman for the night before setting out to Palestine Sunday morning. We are all looking forward to what is to come with a week of home stays in Palestine.

-Steve Burkholder