Monday, August 19, 2019

Day 32: Another miserable day on the trail

April 1: Mosques in Jordan will play a call to prayer at an ungodly hour of the morning (pun  intended!), and our location in Iraq Al-Amir was no exception. The difference this morning, however, was that we were located in a woman's cooperative that happened to be located right next to a mosque and it sounded like the megaphones were right inside the tent with me. Scared the crap of out me! From being dead asleep to a blasting music that could be heard for miles away. Not the wake-up call I had been expecting!
Breakfast in the morning

I laid around in my tent trying to go back to sleep but never succeeded.

It didn't rain during the night, but in the morning it started up again and the weather forecast wasn't at all promising.

We got a normal 7:00am breakfast, our first in a while, because we didn't have to take a bus to get back to the trail. One small thing to be happy about!

We also lost another hiker today, Jonathan. This wasn't a shock to the group like Ermanno's unexpected exit. Jonathan had signed up to do a thru-hike hike, but eventually decided to leave the trail early and we knew for the better part of a week that he was leaving.

Much of the day's walk was a road walk, which we actually welcomed because it meant we didn't have to walk through thick mud everywhere. We didn't escape the mud completely, but the paved roads certainly limited it.

Karolina had a large, red spot in her eye. It was quite dramatic, and everyone gathered around her looking at it. Karolina didn't know it was there and didn't seem concerned about it, and three nurses in our group agreed it was a burst blood vessel which could have occurred from something as simple as a sneeze or blowing her nose and would fade and eventually disappear. Nothing to worry about. It didn't affect her vision and wouldn't cause any permanent damage. It just looked scary!

There was no mirror for Karolina to see what her eye looked like, but I had the idea to take a photo of it, which I did, then showed it to her.

"Oh my God!" she exclaimed, suddenly freaking out about the Great Red Spot on her eye. "It's huge! You didn't tell me it was that bad!"

Karolina didn't freak out about the Great Red Spot in her eye until I showed her this photo. "Oh my GOD!"
"But... it's not bad.... you heard the nurses! And your vision is completely normal!"

Maybe I shouldn't have shown her the photo....

Originally, our schedule had us at a wild camp tonight, but the support crew drove out to the site of the campsite and canceled those plans. The site was too muddy from all the rain. New plans were made and we would be returning to the woman's cooperative again.... on a bus. The bus again?! Ugh!

Today's walk was relatively short at 14 kilometers--less than 10 miles--and we finished the day's hike at 12:30pm. As the crow flies, we probably covered half that distance. Despite being maybe 5 or 6 miles from the woman's cooperative (as the crow flies), the winding, narrow, gravel road took the bus 40 minutes to navigate back to the cooperative.

When we arrived, we met a new arrival: Maciej from Poland. He had hiked the Jordan Trail from the northernmost point to our location here the year before and returned to finish the trail this year. He was hiking southbound and had made reservations to stay there--originally a lonely place by himself but now crowded with 30 or so people from our group that stayed an extra night. Being from Poland, Karolina and him talked a lot in Polish, but much too fast for me to really understand anything that they were saying. I'd say some stuff in Polish, but I'm not sure if he was impressed that I knew any Polish at all or embarrassed at how bad it was. Probably a little of both. ;o)

In the afternoon, the rain stopped, so Ernie, Jan, Karolina and I walked out to some nearby caves carved out from cliffs to explore. The caves had been built and used for thousands of years and people lived in them until just a few decades ago, but now they're tourist attractions.

Ernie looks inside one of the nearby caves

Then we returned to the woman's cooperative. We socialized, had dinner and generally enjoyed ourselves.

When it was time for the briefing about tomorrow's hike, I was anxious to see how Lama and Ernie would play it. It was April Fools Day, after all, and they said they'd make up a fake briefing before the real one.

Lama started the briefing saying, "We will go down, then up and up and up...." with exaggerated hand gestures and I thought, "Yes! She's doing it!" =) then it turned into a normal, run-of-the-mill briefing. What happened to the fake briefing?!

Ernie followed Lama's lead and provided a weather forecast that included a lot of sun and pleasant weather.

What happened? I didn't understand it....

Later, I asked Lama about what happened to the fake briefing and she had a look of surprise. "I forgot! I totally forgot!"

It was now the end of April Fools Day and not a single prank was played. I was disappointed. =( Well, I still enjoyed the prank I played on Atlas Quest which I was able to follow because I was able to get a wi-fi connection at our location, so I enjoyed that. But no pranks were played in Jordan....

Ernie blows his nose in the morning. Somebody had to document everyday life! =)
Jonathan would leave us in the morning. Good travels, good sir!
 




We passed this wall with a bunch of rocks hanging from string over the top. It was a little weird and I couldn't think of any logical explanation for it.


You could definitely tell that the infrastructure in Jordan was having trouble with all of the recent rains!


Most of the day was a road walk, but when it wasn't... it was very, very muddy. *nodding* This was the kind of mud that the support crew decided wasn't a good place to camp!
Sheep blocking the trail!
Our bus! Time to get out of the rain and mud!

View from inside one of the caves
Yousef, one of the support crew who is looking a little too clean and dry if you ask me! ;o)
Sawsan from Lebanon
Connie (R) and Hiba (L)
Maciej from Poland
Sarah, from the US

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