Monday, June 17, 2019

Day 5: Hiking through a Jordanian desert with a toilet seat....

March 5: We woke up to a nice morning. A few clouds in the sky, but generally speaking a beautiful blue sky.

But the clouds grew darker and thicker throughout the morning and rain in the afternoon was a distinct possibility.

I didn't have any trash bags to pick up trash, but I found a plastic bag caught in a bush and started collecting trash with it. It wasn't much, but why not? Later in the hike, I found a much bigger bag and my efforts to pick up trash accelerated. I wasn't the only one doing this either. Puk seemed to have an unlimited supply of trash bags that she was happy to share with everyone and quite a few people joined the efforts.

My biggest score for the day was a toilet seat which I promptly added to my growing bag of trash. Hiking through the Jordanian desert with a toilet seat. Yep, one more item checked off that old bucket list! =) It wasn't gross or anything. It looked like it had been laying around in the desert sun for months if not years and I felt pretty confident that any germs that might have once hosted had long since perished.

It wasn't until later when I told everyone about it and they asked if I got photos and... well, no, I hadn't. *slapping self* How did I miss such a great photo op?! I could have even wore it like a necklace! Yeah... that would have been cool. *nodding*

Anyhow.... we soon arrived in the small village of Rum Village and the main jumping off point for tourists visiting Wadi Rum. We stopped for a quick break to rest and--for a few of us--to explore some nearly ruins before pushing on. I was also able to throw out the trash I collected.

We stopped again briefly at the Wadi Rum Visitor Center where a couple people from our bought scarves. Yes! By the end of this trip,  I hoped to sell everyone on the idea of wearing a scarf. =) I also threw out some additional trash I picked up since leaving Rum Village.

Karolina was picking up trash too. This is one of her hauls! She didn't have a trash bag either and used the orange container she found in the desert to haul the other trash she found.

The skies started spitting at us. Not really drops of rain, but more like spittle as if the clouds were warming up and wanted to warn us that things were about to turn bad. People pulled out their rain gear and pack covers and prepared for rain. I had my umbrella ready to go.

We traded in our lunch break for a short snack break hoping to get to camp before the rain started--or least cover as much of the ground as we could before it started.

A short while later, in the distance behind us, it looked like rain. It wasn't falling on us--not yet, at least--but it was definitely in the area. Ahead of us, a dust storm had kicked up. I sensed an energy in the air, like a boa constrictor surrounding its prey. The weather was surrounding us, squeezing us.

Behind me, I saw a flash of lightning. The lightning bolt was miles away, but it streaked brightly against the dark clouds and several seconds later the thunder followed.

The weather has definitely taken a turn for the worse!

Yes, there was definitely a lot of energy in the air. It didn't make me feel much better that we were largely on a big, flat surface and we were the highest points for miles around. Oh, sure, there were the mountains all around us that we could see, but the nearest one was miles away. It seemed like we were in a particularly bad location for a lightning storm but the only way out was to keep marching, and that's what we did.

We quickened our steps a bit and I stopped picking up trash.

We arrived in camp about 20 minutes later, safe and sound and--somewhat surprisingly--still dry.

Tonight's campsite was a permanent Bedouin camp so our small pop-up tents were nowhere to be seen. Instead, we'd be sleeping in larger, permanent tents. And we had flush toilets and real, working showers. And somehow, magically, we even had electrical outlets to power our devices and a wi-fi connection to connect to the Internet. (At least for up to ten people at time.) That surprised me a great deal because it seemed like we were in the middle of nowhere. How did we get running water, power and Internet?! It was magic!

I took a spot in one of the tents then mostly hung out in the common area inside of a giant tent that could hold a hundred or more people.

It didn't take more than about 10 minutes after our arrival before skies finally let lose and torrential rain poured down from the sky. Lightning flashed overhead, thunder rumbled through the tents and shook the ground. Then the rain turned to hail, pounding everything left outside.

Everyone watched it from under the protection of the tents, and we were all glad to have made it to camp before that started. It was quite a violent storm!

This common area was a nice place to hang out when the storm finally did strike!

The storm passed fairly quickly, though, and an hour later I could even see patches of blue sky. Wow.

Everyone else started taking turns at the showers. I decided to wait. I wouldn't have minded a shower, but I didn't want to wait in a long line for it either. I'd do other stuff and take a shower late at night after everyone else finished.

An hour or two later, I heard that women had taken over the men's showers because they no longer had hot water. Hmm.... I was glad I didn't have to worry about any of that. Not yet, at least.

In the meantime, I pulled out my laptop and spent most of the evening working.

In the evening, when dinner was ready, Lama herded us outside to where the food was being cooked.... underground! We watched as they unearthed our dinner and we were all mighty impressed when it was pulled out of the ground.

Then we headed back inside to feast!

Late in the night, after dinner and finishing with the work I wanted to get done, I took my shower in peace and quiet. The water had very little pressure and was lukewarm at best, but it was serviceable.

All-in-all, a pretty good day! =)

'Twas a beautiful sunrise!

Rum Village... and civilization!
Camel with a muzzle
I'm walking through town with my eyes open for a place to throw out this trash.

It's an apartment complex for Hobbits! Just kidding... it's actually an old stove that no longer seems to be in use. =)
Ancient ruins at Rum Village!

Notice the scarves for sale in the background? I was also checking out the robes because how cool would I look in a robe? But ultimately, I never got one.

These were the tents we'd be sleeping in tonight.
I spent most of the evening working on my laptop.
The dinner buffet line
That just looks like a safety hazard.....
The common area even had these heaters to keep us warm inside.

Quite the storm! Glad we didn't have to hike in it!

The underground stove was actually pretty cool. *nodding*

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