Monday, August 12, 2019

Day 29: Man down! Man down!

March 29: The good news was that we were back to our original schedule. We didn't have to do extra miles to play catch-up or wake up especially early to increase the length of our hiking day.

But today, we had to wake up early anyhow. For two reasons. First, we needed a long bus ride back to the trail, and second, there was a time change at midnight and we lost an hour of time. It's interesting to see how time changes work in different countries. In the United States, it had happened a couple of weeks earlier but in Europe, it hadn't yet happened. In Jordan, the time changes at the stroke of midnight and, the part that took me by surprise, it was Friday. But Friday is the holy day in Jordan and the start of the weekend, so it's a logical day to do it.

We had to wake up particularly early to catch the bus back to the trailhead.

Our hike was organized more around daylight than times, however, and I secretly hoped we'd get to get a full night of sleep and push out our start time by an hour. It's not like we'd have less daylight by doing so, but no, we'd keep the usual 7:00am breakfasts and 8:00am departures.

But today wasn't normal because we had that bus, so we had to show up at the hotel restaurant for a 6:30 breakfast which, due to the time change, really felt more like 5:30 and was definitely way too early for my taste. Although the breakfast was most excellent. *nodding*

A shocking piece of news rippled through out group as well.... Ermanno from Italy, hiking with us since the beginning at Aqaba, had decided to quit the trail. He had been hurting and even skipped hiking the day we left Karak (the first time we left Karak!) to rest, but none of us expected him to quit the trail and it came as a shock to everyone.

By strange coincidence, as I mentioned in the last post, Karolina had just extended her hike to include the rest of the trail. (If she hadn't, her last day on the trail would have been tomorrow.) And I suggested that Ermanno give the rock he picked up on the beach in Aqaba to Karolina to carry it the rest of the way in a ceremony that I jokingly called the "passing of the stone." Thru-hikers were to carry the rock from the beginning to the end, and Ermanno's rock would continue to the end! =)

The Passing of the Stone Ceremony

We boarded the bus, minus Ermanno, and took the nearly hour-long ride back to the trail where we got off yesterday. I tried to sleep on the bus to make up for the lack of sleep during the night, and I did fall asleep for a little while, but it wasn't a very comfortable sleep.

The weather today was considerably more unsettled than we had the last few days. It was mostly cloudy and overcast and threatened to rain most of the day. Except for a few small drops, the rain held off. It was enough that some hikers quickly put on rain gear that turned out not to be necessary. I made sure my umbrella was readily available but never felt the need to open it.

Today's hike also included a second donkey! This donkey was originally going to hike the entire trail with us, like Basha, but was injured or sick and therefore hadn't joined us until now. There was a nasty-looking wound on its foot, though, so it got out of carrying water. Basha continued to be our water donkey, and it left our group at the end of the day never to return. So it joined us for a day, didn't actually do any work, then quit the trail!

The day's hike was exhausting with a lot of little ups and downs and countless rocks littering the way requiring close attention to one's feet.

During lunch, Lama announced that we would be spending another night in a hotel. Our original schedule had us wild camping tonight, but due to severe weather warnings and in an abundance of caution, they decided it would be better if we spent the night indoors. A bus would pick us up at the end of the day and take us to a hotel in Madaba.

Madaba. Yep, been there, done that!  I had spent three nights in Madaba before starting the trail so it was a city I was definitely familiar with.

We arrived at a road crossing just as the sun started coming out, and a bus had pulled over waiting for our arrival. Helena was pretty far behind most of the group so we waited around for her, hanging around the bus and relaxing, and about 15 minutes later, a vehicle pulled up with a pot of coffee that they served everyone.

What a friendly country! They had driven by us earlier while returning home from an engagement party, and they brewed up some coffee and drove back to offer it to us! Such a friendly country!

Of course, I don't like coffee and took a pass on it, but I liked the sentiment. It was not at all unusual for locals who drove past us to shout out the window, "Welcome to Jordan!" or, as we walked through town, ask if they could take our photos. I can't count how many times stuff like this happened, but driving home to pick up coffee and small paper cups to serve it to us was a new level of friendly. Friendliest country ever!

Helena finally arrived, walking in from a direction completely different than the rest of us had arrived. Did she take some sort of detour to make her route shorter or easier? I know she didn't get lost because the guide in the back would have made sure she was going the right way, but he could have led her along an easier or shorter route to help her out.

Everyone was boarding the bus and I was about to get on myself when they said that there was room in the Jordan Trail truck for someone, and I was all over that. I could ride in the Jordan Trail's own Batmobile! Right on!

The bus left, but our truck took a detour to buy some cheese from a guy nearby and pick up our donkey wrangler who had walked the donkey to... well, I'm not sure where, but somewhere where Basha could stay during the night until our arrival in the morning again. It seemed like it took awhile--there was a lot of talking in Arabic that I didn't understand--but the tasks were completed and we were on our way to Madaba.

I forgot how scary driving in Jordan can be. On the bus, we were in a big vehicle and lumbered around slowly and didn't seem so scary, but George drove the truck aggressively. Which, in the country roads that didn't have much traffic wasn't so bad, but by the time we got into the city streets, the sharp turns and veering around took their toll and I started feeling distinctly dizzy and sick. Motion sickness. Blah.

As we got into Madaba, I started recognizing where I was in town. The jet plane on display in the roundabout--yep, I remembered that. We were getting close!

We pulled into the hotel. The hotel wasn't on the main street, but it was near one that I remembered. I knew where I was and where there was a big grocery store nearby. Maybe I'd buy some snacks later.

I jumped out of the truck, anxious to get away from the motion sickness trap, and found it difficult to stand up straight. I felt like I had been running in circles and my head was spinning rapidly, and I grabbed a handrail for support.

Someone encouraged me to lay down on the ground.

That seemed like a good idea, so I sat down at first. My head was still spinning, though, so I laid back and rested.

The support crew finally noticed that something was wrong with me. "What happened?! What happened?!"

Just motion sickness, I told them. I'd be fine. Just needed to rest a moment.

Lama and Mohammad thought it would be a good idea to pick up my feet and get more blood in my head, so each of them picked up one of my feet.

After a few minutes, my head stopped spinning and I sat up, but it immediately started spinning again and I laid down again.

I needed a short rest in the parking lot before heading into the hotel. =)

George grabbed a snack for me to eat, thinking that might help. He also offered to take me to the hospital. No! His driving got me into this state! We all got a little laugh at the thought of him driving me to the hospital. But no, I just needed to rest. I hoped that's all I needed....

After about ten minutes of laying around in the parking lot, I sat up and my head was still spinning, but not nearly as much as before and I wanted to try to get to my room. The support crew followed me to make sure I made it okay and didn't pass out along the way or something.

I made it fine, and laid down in bed to rest. Dinner was scheduled about a half hour after the bus arrived--about the same time I finally made it to my room. I still didn't feel well enough to go down for dinner, though, so I decided to stay in my room for the time being. The support crew left as soon as I arrived in my room to get dinner.

The dinner was a buffet, as normal for our group, and was available for other hotel guests as well so it would be available until 9:00pm. Our group would schedule a time so we could eat together and enjoy each other's company and get the briefing for the next day, but I could still get dinner for a couple of hours after that and planned to do that.

But I missed the group dinner. Karolina visited me with news about what was for dinner (mostly the kind of stuff we've been eating this whole trip) and gave me a summary of the briefing about what to expect tomorrow and that several of the hikers told her to tell me that they hoped I'd be feeling better soon.

And I did feel better. And hungry. So shortly thereafter, I headed down to the dining room for my own dinner, Karolina started to go down with me to make sure I made it without passing out, but she farted when we were in a tiny little elevator that could barely fit two people and I pretended to pound on the doors saying, "Let me out! Save me! I'm in a gas chamber!"

I made it down to the ground floor well enough, though, and Karolina headed back up. I ate dinner alone--the first time I'd eaten a meal by myself in a month. There were a few other people eating in the dining room, but I didn't know any of them.

Afterwards, I headed back up to the room to take a shower, clean up and get online. I took a shower and cleaned up, but I had to go down to the lobby to get online so I did that.

When I was done catching up on email and messages, I headed back to the room for a good night's sleep. I needed it!

Karolina meets our new donkey for the day. We were told that during the hike the year before, this donkey tried to hump a tent. He's had to live with the shame every since.... (And I hope nobody was in the tent when it happened!)

This area of the trail reminded me of the Painted Desert and Painted Hills regions in the United States.

Hiba, a local from Jordan!
Nienka from the Netherlands
Femmy, Nienka's mom. =)
Ella from Australia. And let me say, peanut butter on an apple... it's an awesome snack. *nodding*
Basha tries to get some food from Jonathan.
Qussai drinks the coffee the locals unexpectedly provided us.
George is a great guy, but his driving scared me. =)
Sunset was gorgeous!

No comments: