Thursday, October 28, 2010

On Top of the World

One of the special things about Jordan is the abundance of places where one feels on top of the world. This month, I had the opportunity to (finally!) climb Jebel Haroun, one of these places, with guests visiting from the US.

According to legend, the summit of Jebel Haroun (Mount Aaron in English) is the final resting place of the Prophet Aaron, brother of Moses. The spot is commemorated by a small white mosque and the area is considered to be sacred to all three Peoples of the Book (Jews, Christians and Muslims).

In contemplation atop Jebel Haroun.

Saturday, October 9, 2010

Birth... from the Backseat

This past week, I was visited by Elizabeth and her husband, Jason. Newlyweds from NYC, they are on a year-long motorcycle voyage from London to Cape Town. Elizabeth, who is a doula and manages the New York based Birth Focus is researching birthing traditions as they travel through Europe, southwestern Asia and Africa. While in Diseh, we had the chance to sit with a local Bedouin woman and hear her recount some of the experiences of her 13 childbirths - 2 in the hospital and 11 at home. Each one of us came away with the sense that childbirth then and now was a challenging experience and that modern medicine was able to provide some of the lifestyle needs of modern women.

For more on Elizabeth's project - click here.

Sunday, October 3, 2010

Wadi Rum Desert Marathon!

Each year, a series of endurance horse races are held in the desert surrounding the Wadi Rum Protected Area. Sponsored by Sheikh Mohammed bin Rashid Al-Maktoum of the UAE, the marathon attracts competitors from throughout the Kingdom and the region.

As the race is governed by a stringent set of international regulations, controls are made at regular intervals to ensure that the horses maintain a healthy temparature and heartbeat given the challenging desert conditions. Any horse not found to be in perfect health is disqualified immediately and so riders must carefully monitor the temperature and heart rate of their animals in order to ensure a safe and healthy race.

Last April, I had the pleasure of being part of Hamza Hasanat's racing team for one of the endurance races. He and his horse Andie competed and with a group of friends, we assisted him along the course in providing water and breaks for him and Andie. It was a great experience for all and a wonderful way to experience a day in the desert.

Hamza and Andie air-borne!

Team Hasanat at the start of the race.

Louis grabs an empty water bottle from Hamza en route to the finish!