Tuesday, November 4, 2011 marked my first (un)official day of the holiday known in the Islamic world as Eid al-Adha. This “Festival of Sacrifice” is celebrated by Muslims the world over to commemorate Abraham’s willingness to sacrifice his son Ishmael in obedience to God. Lucky for Abraham, God intervened and provided his faithful servant with a ram to sacrifice instead of his son.
The real Eid al-Adha didn’t actually start for a couple more days. To be honest, I didn’t even know which day it officially started. However, on this Tuesday, we had drenching rain showers and flooding, so the University of Nizwa cancelled classes at 2:00 pm and, as a follow-up, in a stroke of generosity, cancelled classes for Wednesday as well. I was thrilled because it meant our Eid holiday began one day early.
I wasn’t expecting any substantial holiday so soon after arriving in Oman, but since it was handed to me, I had to take advantage. I immediately booked a trip to Jordan for only 6 days, because it was impossible to get reasonable flights going out on the first couple of days of the holiday. I would leave Saturday, November 5 and return on Friday morning, November 11.
Uncharacteristically, I hardly planned anything for this trip. I had planned to bring my Lonely Planet Middle East guidebook, but after my suitcases were all packed for Oman, I weighed them and found them to be over the baggage limit. I frantically removed about 10 pounds out of each bag. One of the things I removed was that guidebook.
On my other travels, I had read extensively about my destination, both fiction and non-fiction, and had been enriched by that preparation. This time, it all came upon me too quickly. I’d done almost nothing to prepare for this trip except talk to one of my colleagues, Willem, who recommended every place in Petra where I’d be staying: The Rocky Mountain Hotel and the Seven Wonders Bedouin Camp. From the owners of the Seven Wonders Camp, I got the name of the Jordan Tower Hotel in Amman. Other than that, I had NO plans.
I figured a near-spontaneous trip like this, without my regular Type-A planning, might throw me for a loop, knock me totally off-balance. It might teach me to loosen up a bit, go with the flow. No matter. It would certainly be another unforgettable experience to add to many such over the the past year and a half.
If I had read any books set in Jordan, I might have read some of these:
- West of the Jordan by Laila Halaby (Kindle)
- Live from Jordan: Letters Home from My Journey Through the Middle East by Benjamin Orbach (Kindle)
- The Confusion of Languages by Siobhan Fallon
- Seven Pillars of Wisdom by Thomas Edward Lawrence
- Married to a Bedouin by Marguerite van Geldermalsen
- Appointment with Death by Agatha Christie
- Cities of Salt by Abdul Rahman Munif
- Story of a City: A Childhood in Amman by Abdul Rahman Munif
- Forbidden Love by Norma Khouri
- The Language of Baklava by Diana Abu-Jaber
- The Cry of the Dove by Fadia Faqir
- Willow Trees Don’t Weep by Fadia Faqir
- Staircase of a Thousand Steps by Masha Hamilton
- Shepherd of Solitude: Selected Poems 1979-2004 by Amjad Nasser
- Hero: The Life and Legend of Lawrence of Arabia by Michael Korda
- Desert Skies, Rebel Souls by M P Tonnesen (also Egypt & Israel)
For more international books, see books | international a-z |.
The only movie set in Jordan that I saw before going was Captain Abu Raed, which was excellent. The others I might have watched had I had more time to prepare:
- Lawrence of Arabia (1962-1963)
- Saladin (1963)
- Indiana Jones and the Last Crusade (1989)
- Free Zone (2005)
- Captain Abu Raed (2007) ****
- Cherkess (2010)
- When I Saw You (2012)
- When Monaliza Smiled (2012)
- May in the Summer (2013)
- Theeb (2014)
- From A to B (2015)
- Queen of the Desert (2015)
- The Rendezvous (2016)
- 17 (2017)
For more international movies, see movies | international a-z |.
*November 5-11, 2011*
“ANTICIPATION & PREPARATION” INVITATION: I invite you to write a post on your own blog about anticipation & preparation for a particular destination (not journeys in general). If you don’t have a blog, I invite you to write in the comments. Include the link in the comments below by Thursday, February 27 at 1:00 p.m. EST. When I write my post in response to this challenge on Friday, February 28, I’ll include your links in that post.
This will be an ongoing invitation, on the 4th Friday of each month. Feel free to jump in at any time. 🙂 If you’d like to read more about the topic, see: journeys: anticipation & preparation.
I hope you’ll join in our community. I look forward to reading your posts!
the ~ wander.essence ~ community
I invite you all to settle in and read posts from our wandering community. I hope you’ll be inspired!
- Mari, of Mari’s Travels with Her Camera, has written about how she prepared for travels in Thailand.
Thanks to all of you who wrote posts about anticipation and preparation.
Good to ‘wing it’ once in a while, Cathy 🙂 🙂 I did chuckle at your baggage issue for just 5 days!
Haha, I know you get a hoot out of my baggage dilemmas, Jo. However, in all fairness, the baggage in question on this post was referring to my baggage for the trip from Virginia to Oman, where I had a year contract. I had packed enough in two huge suitcases to last me a year in Oman; I had to get rid of some because of the weight limit. Thus the guidebook got left behind in Virginia, not in Oman. 🙂
Ah- that makes more sense. I thought it a little odd 🙂
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How lovely it would be to lie back in one of those sun lounges and take in the glorious view of the Dead Sea.
It was very relaxing and lovely, Carol. And I also got a massage there as well. 🙂
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Of the movies you list, I’ve only seen the first three. You really know how to find films!
The image of the Mouths of Petra (what I’m calling it) at the top and farther down is stunning.
Since I saw the year, I did the math to find this experience will be going on nine years ago. Yet your writing makes it new.
You’ve seen more of the movies than I have then, Christopher. I might have seen parts of Lawrence of Arabia, but I don’t know I’ve seen it all the way through. Was Saladin good? And since I can never remember which Indiana Jones movies I’ve seen, it’s possible I’ve seen this one. I do know that Captain Abu Raed was really good.
I know, that picture does look like the mouths of Petra! Thanks about the writing. It was a long time ago, but luckily I have about 16 other blogs that I can draw from; I’m trying to consolidate my travels and condense them in one place! 🙂
I’ve always admired your photograhs, Cathy, as you know, but these leave me gutted. I took almost exactly the same photos but I wouldn’t dare show them besides yours, or anywhere near years, and I haven’t even taken them recently. I think I was in Jordan in about 2006-7 when I was still capable of hoisting the heavy stuff around. So what went wrong with mine? Who knows, bad angles, bad lighting, bad timing? More likely, bad photographer. How on earth did you get that gorgeous colour? Stunning!
Thank you so much, Mari. It was strange, when I was in Jordan, I was struck by the beautiful light; it was that fabulous light that made the photos turn out so nicely. I can’t really take credit for that good luck! I really do appreciate your kind words, but sometimes I think it is just luck. I was very happy with how most of my photos of Jordan turned out, but I can’t say that about many places I visit! 🙂
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