And so I am off.
Well, I am off tomorrow.
I have recently acquired a new yoga mat, and my friend arrived safely from the US yesterday afternoon. We are bound for Eilat in the early morning, which is the Southernmost town in Israel. At Eilat, we will pay the usual fees and walk across the border to Jordan. Once in Jordan, we will either take a bus or a cab to Petra. In Petra, we have plans for two nights and one and a half full days. Having been there before, I am looking forward to the mango sorbet at the Movenpick Hotel. My ankle is looking forward to it as well.
My ankle is on the mend, but I am still suffering from swelling and bruising. The outside of it is very tender to the touch, but all of the parts seem to be in working order on the inside. Thumb's up, I say. My friend has brought me two types of ankle braces for our journey. I am cautious about doing the characteristic amount of climbing that I have done before in Petra. My ankle tells me that renting a camel may be the order of the day...
After two days in Petra, we are scheduled to jump in a Jordanian taxi in the early morning and haul it back through the border with Israel. (I am hoping that the Israelis won't hassle me for my expired visa and just renew it. And yes, I am fully prepared for the haggle.) Then, immediately across the border, we will turn South to Egypt. After we pass through the Taba border in Egypt, we will take a bus all of the way to Cairo.
One night in Cairo will render us on an overnight train to Luxor. Then, from Luxor, we will embark on a 5 day cruise down the Nile River to a town called Aswan.
By all accounts, the cruise is very posh. My friend from the US has brought a pair of extremely fancy high heels to wear with a nice dress on the occassions that we are encouraged to dress for dinner. Of course, my ankle and I are not sure what to make of this. We've discussed it at length, and my ankle happens to think that wearing a pair of 3 inch heels on a moving boat after a few glasses of wine is going to be the kiss of death. Additionally, my ankle would like to know what the heck we're doing on a 5-day boat cruise for white people? But I digress. I have assured my ankle that this will be loads of fun.
Instead of heels, I am bringing wedge shoes for better balance. And my nicest dress is something that I bought at a hippy store in Jerusalem for $16 USD. Begrudgingly, I admit that I am bringing along a very cute pair of fitted white linen trousers, which I am sure will be a hit among the other white folks. After all, white folks wear lots of linen in the summertime, right? Either way, the trousers are pretty awesome, even if I bought them at an outdoor market in Israel for $7 USD two years ago. They are super fly.
Of course, my ankle reminds me that I have never traveled like this before. By this, I mean that I have never traveled like a Westerner, or far better, like a white girl with money. For example, one night in the hotel where we are staying in Petra is more than my grocery budget for 6 weeks. My mind fails to register this information as particularly useful because I am honestly not sure what to make of it. Of course, I am happy to have my US friend here for a visit, and I want her to have a comfortable time according to the standards to which she is accustomed. I know that if I exposed her to my way of moving, she would more than likely spend the rest of the summer spending far more money to work out some Post Traumatic Stress difficulties on a leather couch in the Hamptons. I wouldn't do this to her, so I intend to thoroughly enjoy myself while pretending that white priviledge is really no big deal. I think I can do this...for her.
My ankle, of course, thoroughly fancies the notion that there will be a pool. My thighs, on the other hand, are not speaking with my ankle because they are feeling self-conscious about recent lack of exercise...
But my heart...well, my heart is happy just being in the Middle East.