Wednesday, April 29, 2009

Meanwhile, Back in Jerusalem...

I am back from a whirlwind, or should I call it a sand storm? I was able to snap this lovely little number from atop the camel beneath me, which, yes, I took my shoes off in order to ride across the desert with the shadows of the pyramids in the distance.

Things learned in Egypt:

1. Camel riding. Camel riding isn't as easy as it appears. Riding at a pace for any real distance should be considered as a new Olympic sport. If only my inner thighs could talk...

2. Water. It is perfectly fine to drink the water in municipal areas. In fact, I would encourage it. While I wouldn't recommend doing this for years on end (lack of flouride makes such a difference in the quality of people's teeth and the environmental pollution in these parts is nothing to take lightly). I will hasten to add that I did not have a single issue with prolonged stomach trouble during the trip. I didn't refrain from gorging myself on local fruits, meats and salads of every variety, and still...nothing. Meanwhile, my travel companion drank only bottled water, and sufferred enormously. (I have strong suspicions that the bottles of water she bought may have been contaminated water put into recycled bottles and passed off to be sold as new. Poor thing.)

3. Money. Now that I have more fully experienced the highs and lows associated with traveling as a white girl with money, it can be safely surmised that "money giveth and money taketh away". For example, a white girl with money can afford to hire a private car at the border of Jordan to take her to the intended destination. For the right (very high) price, the driver will not give her a single hassle. The driver will take her all of the way to her destination, but will not exchange a single word with her. At times, I wondered if our driver felt as if he was being paid for his silence? This came in stark contradiction to the many bus and cheap taxi rides I have taken along the exact same route before, where, for something between $3-$10 USD, one can spend the next 300 kilometers laughing, joking, learning the words to new Arabic songs, stopping for tea at roadside shanties, picking up hitchhikers...and, of course, getting invited to the driver's home for tea. Surely we paid for the lack of "hassle", but all of the incidental lunacy on the side is what really what makes a journey.

More soon, ensha'allah...



Anonymous said...

You are full of magic, good sense and adventure!

VJ said...

Camels are funny creatures. But there's a reason why everyone moves very slowly around & with them & too. Good to see you're back in one place in good shape. And yes, going cheaply has always afforded all the excitement and better scenery. You could get ticketed as an Ex-Prez for blocking traffic in PA for example:

[] and here:

For: Harry Truman’s Excellent Adventure:
The True Story of a Great American Road Trip.

I know! It's what passes for real excitement for the geezer set... Cheers & Good Luck! 'VJ'

VJ said...

I forgot: This should be in everyone's kit bag. Works swell, and is pretty small enough to pack too. For your friend. Cheers, 'VJ'

SeanG said...

It's a question for the philosopher, which is better, the fast, sterile, yet reliable mode that only comes with money or the more rowdy, crowded, unknowable public transportation available to the thrifty? I'd have to say even now I lean more towards the public transportation though I've always had more fun hitchhiking than taking any form of public transportation.
As for taxis, I do enjoy the silent DC cabbies over the talkative ones.