May 16, 2009

Umm Sayhun, Jordan

As Tatiana was finishing up with her late-morning shower an unexpected knocking rumbled from the steel door of the home's small courtyard. Upon opening, a small group of local women and an elderly Bedouin man were revealed—a cigarette dangling casually from his lips, plastic bags in the hands of the others.

Clearly intent on entering with some purpose in mind, I greeted them and let the group pass.

The women started busying themselves in and around the kitchen—they clearly knew the place—while the older fellow meandered about, filling the area with the not to pleasant smell of cigarette smoke. I rejoined Aidric and Tatiana (who had quickly scurried past the bunch) in our room, joined by some our new guests a few moments later.

Some women started cleaning up more of the debris in the home while others placed bowls of diced bell peppers, tomatoes, watermelon, homemade flatbread, and other light foodstuffs onto the floor. English clearly wasn't on the menu, but we easily gleamed enough out of the Arabic to understand that our CouchSurfing hosts (Nawaf and Talal) would likely be joining us later.

As the afternoon unfolded we discovered that we'd be changing homes once again, and that last night was to be our first and last under the quiet, star-filled skies above our partially constructed host's home. Nawaf was moving us to the home of his family the next village over so that Aidric and his children could play together.

By mid-evening Talal's pickup was again loaded with our belongings. We insisted that he first stop by his home so that we could thank his family again for their hospitality.

The warm evening wind whipped across me as I rode in the flatbed of the aging vehicle—a perk for being one too many for the Toyota's two-seat cab. Expanses of sand and worn stone unfolded as we drove south, back towards Petra and the tourist town of Wadi Musa that sits above it.

Our destination was the village of Umm Sayhun.

Desert sunset and the road from Al-Beidha to Umm Sayhun.

Dinner with Nawaf's family

Our bedroom at Nawaf's

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