Thursday, December 15, 2011

Fateful Encounters

I've been participating in the couchsurfing project for a while now.  Couchsurfing is an online forum that allows people to host travelers and then be hosted themselves when they travel.  I've met a lot of wonderful people through couchsurfing, including my friend Mosa, who manages a camp in Disi and over the past year has become one of my closest friends in Jordan.  

In early November, I received a couch request from Carmella, who had decided on the spur of the moment to visit Jordan.  One chilly Wednesday after Eid, I waited for her in Aqaba as she crossed two borders from Egypt to Israel to Jordan to get here.  She arrived with two Spaniards from Cairo in tow and we all headed up together with Suleiman, my regular friendly taxi driver, to Wadi Rum.  After dropping off the Spaniards with their guide, we headed out into the desert with my neighbor Salah with the intention of meeting four mysterious ladies who had come to Wadi Rum to camp in the desert.  As it was quite late, they had already disappeared into a desert canyon for the night - so Salah, Carmella and I slept next to the fire in the camp, making funny rhymes and attempting a communal dream.  In the morning, we awoke to discover that Lana, Ban, Fatima and Ruba had emerged from the desert for breakfast, which we happily shared with them.  Very quickly, we became fast friends - chatting excitedly about life, the universe, tradition, community ... everything under the sun.  We discovered that Lana has been reading Carmella's blog for years.  We decided that, with the support of Salah and his family, we would create women's camping experiences in the desert.  We analyzed gender, cultural and spiritual relations and had an amazing time.    Travelers passing through the camp were quite curious about this laughing group of ladies who seemed to be enjoying themselves so much together in a world that is usually populated by men.  After breakfast and a walk to the sand dune, we hopped into Ban's Kia (same car as mine but newer model!) and headed back to the village where we visited Salah's mom and sisters, sharing with them our ideas.   And then in a flurry of good cheer, the five ladies (minus me) disappeared into the horizon for an adventure together in Petra.    

Tasty breakfast!

Alena, Fatima, Ruba, Ban, Lana, Carmella - wow!


  1. We had a good time with you Alena ... wish you all the best