Wednesday, August 28, 2019

Day 36: Rubber Snake Shenanigans

April 5: It rained a bit during the night and I worried about the 'used' toilet paper I left in front of Ernie's tent. Would the rain wash out the color? Would it not look real anymore? Would it disintegrate into nothing? So I listened to the rain in my tent and, perhaps, my prank failing miserably.

By the time I got up in the morning, the rain had stopped and I ventured out of my tent for breakfast and I caught up with Ernie and he had the audacity to accuse me of leaving what looked like used toilet paper in front of his tent.

"That sounds like something Tim would have done," I replied. "After all, you did leave used toilet paper in front of his tent. Sounds like he wanted his revenge."

Ernie was having none if it, though, and rightfully didn't believe a word I said.

These planters are actually used tires!
As it turned out, Jan--Ernie's wife--found the toilet paper first. I had hoped Ernie would be the one to find it, but it worked out really well because Jan did think it was real, used toilet paper--and that Ernie left it in front of the tent! And now it was a soggy mess from the rain.

"Ernie?! What the hell?!"

So everyone got a good laugh out of that, then Ernie wanted to check out my new tat. That, unfortunately, didn't work out so well. It was gone! My henna tattoo disappeared overnight! Poof! I was shocked and horrified. It looked so good when I went to sleep, and now you could barely see the lightest trace of it on my arm. And after spending half the night awake letting it dry. All for nothing. I was heartbroken. It was supposed to last a couple of weeks--longer if you don't wash it very often, and I was taking showers maybe once a week! I had hoped it would last the better part of month! I followed the directions on the henna packaging to the letter and couldn't believe it disappeared overnight without having taken a single shower. Major disappointment.

Our relatively small group of about 20 hikers exploded as 18 weekend hikers joined us in the morning. I was more than a little disappointed at the huge number of people dropping in, but happy that they'd only be with us for two days. One of the hikers, Faiza, had hiked with us from Aqaba to Dana--nearly half the trail--so it was nice seeing her again. She wasn't a "mere" weekend hiker. She was a.... half-thru-hiker? She was my go-to person for learning a few Arabic words and phrases while hiking the trail and she tested how much I remembered since she left the group in Dana. And I learned a couple of new phrases. =)

The morning was cloudy, overcast and cold, but it cleared up within an hour or so of when we started hiking and the rest of the day was sunny and partly cloudy with big puffy clouds.

This region of Jordan is apparently known for its pomegranate farms, and we passed by quite a number of pomegranate trees. They largely looked lifeless, however, and I'd have never recognized them as pomegranates if Lina hadn't pointed them out to me. They're harvested in the fall and at this time of year, they just look like dead, leafless trees.

At a short snack break, I deliberately sat down near Ernie. I had a rubber snake that I acquired two days earlier in Salt, and nobody except Karolina knew about it. Yet....

When he wasn't looking, I dropped the snake near his feet among some rocks and chatted him up like normal. We chatted for maybe 15 minutes before we got our marching orders and as Ernie stood up, he finally noticed the snake.

"Is that your snake, Ryan?"

I looked around innocently. "What snake are you talking about?"

He pointed down at the snake near our feet.

"Oh, that one...." I replied. "Yeah, I might know a little something about that...."

It was a prank that completely and utterly failed.

I picked up the snake and slid it into a pocket and thought about what to do with it next. Ernie was so cool about the snake, I didn't think anyone else had overheard our conversation so nobody else knew I had it. I had an opportunity to use it a second time.

Ernie had asked about the snake's name, and I admitted that I hadn't thought of one yet. He suggested Simon, and I thought about it and said, "Yes, I like it! The snake is now named Simon."

Karolina poses with Simon

We passed a large group of about 30-35 day hikers heading in the opposite direction. The JTA also organized day hikes, but they were scheduled to hike separately from today and usually we never saw them at all. But today, our paths would cross somewhere near the halfway point of today, and that's what we did. I didn't know anyone from the day hiking group but it was clear that some people did, because they'd greet each other warmly and hug and chat for a bit before our groups continued on in our separate directions.

Later, during our lunch break, I saw an opportunity to give the snake another try. Helena had laid down to rest and took off her shoes. She was laying there with her eyes closed, not paying attention to her shoes, and I quietly put the rubber snake in one of her shoes. I hoped we'd get a "Bloody Nora!" out of it. =)

I wanted to be around to see what happened when she finally found the snake, so I joined Ernie and Jan who had sat down near Helena and chatted with them. Nobody would think it was odd that I was chatting with them. I always chatted with them.

The fuse was lit. I just had to wait until Helena found this snake in her boot. ;o)

It was maybe 20 minutes later when Lama announced to everyone that it was time to get ready, we'd be continuing our hike in 5 minutes.

I wanted to watch Helena as she sat up to put on her shoes, but I refrained, chatting with Ernie like there was nothing of interest going on. Playing it cool....

Then suddenly, a shout from Helena: "Oh, Bloody Nora!!!!" It was a loud shout that grabbed everyone's attention. Anyone within half a mile must have heard the shout.

Everyone's head turned to Helena, and immediately she continued, "Who put this snake in my boot?!"

There was a half-second pause as she thought about the answer. "Ryan! You did this, didn't you?"

I tried on a surprised look on my face. "Me?! Why would I do something like that?!"

"You, Ryan.... I know it was you."

"Why does everyone always blame me for everything?" I whined.

Lama had an amused look on her face. "You haven't actually denied doing it, though."

Yeah, well....

Everyone seemed amused by the rubber snake incident, and even Helena took it in stride, but her shout out definitely ruined any chances I had of surprisingly anyone else in our group with it.

Our day ended at a beautiful campsite overlooking the King Talal Dam, in a green meadow bursting with wildflowers. It was, perhaps, the most scenic campsite of the entire trail. Absolutely magnificent! The only minor complaint was the wind which was strong enough to be a nuisance for some of the tents.

In case you wanted an update on the Great Red Spot in Karolina's eye, it's starting to dissipate but still isn't affecting her vision or causing any problems.

Pomegranate farm!

Basha picked up a hitchhiker!
Olive grove

This was one of the weekend hikers whose name, I'm sad to say, I've forgotten. But she was training for a race in the Himalayan Mountains, and this device is suppose to make it hard to breath as if she were training at a much higher elevation. (If any of my fellow Jordan Trail hikers remember her name, let me know and I'll update this!)

That's the King Talal reservoir down below.

Turkeys on the trail!
Sarah from the United States
Margaret from Canada
Sawsan from Lebanon

No comments: