No day during this trek can be described as “ordinary”, but today was particularly extraordinary.
I woke up that morning feeling a little under the weather, probably just because I was tired from all the walking the previous day and the change in diet. A few cups of Jordanian tea sorted me out though. The tea is brewed over a fire, with a heaped handful of black tea leaves and equal parts sugar. The result is an extremely sweet liquid, which at first we requested was made a little less sweet, but quickly grew on us and we slurped around 10 cups a day each.
We walked for around an hour to a nearby Bedouin settlement where we were greeted by a warm-faced man and invited into his home. Unlike many people in this area, these families appeared to have settled in one area and were not nomadic. … there was even a (rather crude) toilet, so we jumped at the opportunity! We wandered around his grounds, met his family and hung out with his camel.
The family was lovely and hospitable. As was every single person we met in Jordan. Such amazing people in a beautiful country, surrounded by such tragedy. The children came to figure us out and look at the weird people, as did a few more locals. They decided we were probably good entertainment and came over to play fairly quickly.
We were here to buy a goat off the man, so we sat down to some more tea and talked business.
We were told to pick a good goat. To check its teeth and coat for signs of good health. Then our guides would take it in a van to our next camp and we would meet them there in just a few hours. Craig, one of our gang, valiantly decided to track down a good goat. This turned out to be hilarious and quite a mean feat. Goats are nimble. Goats do not like to be caught. Eventually we found a prime goat and continued on with our day.
We only walked for a few hours this day, and arrived at camp shortly after lunch. We lounged around, contemplating our adventure so far and our breath-taking surroundings. I relaxed and closed my eyes for a while.
That afternoon, the guides had planned a special evening for us. This began with the ceremonial sacrificing of our goat. We were assured that the slitting of its throat would be an efficient death. All parts of this animal would be used, and it would be held in the highest regard, so really its actually better than some western slaughter house! I stood nearby, unsure of whether to watch or look away. I ended up watching and its an image I won’t forget any time soon. However disturbing it was, it does make for an interesting story! The guides sharpened their knives, pointed themselves toward Mecca, said a prayer and then swiftly slit the goats neck. And that was that.
The cooks then began an enormous task of cooking up a feast for us all. They were serious when they said that no part of the animal would be wasted. I dug my spoon into what I thought was a pile of rice, only to hit something hard which I uncovered, to find a fleshy skull! We piled our plates high with all the different cuts of meat and the incredible accompaniments. Then the “delicacies” came out. Lung, cheek, bone marrow and the likes were all offered round in a celebration of the goats life and death. I tried my luck on a few of these cuts but I was quickly stuffed. You will never go hungry with these guys around!
After dinner, as usual there are stories and jokes told along with songs. A lovely end to the day, with great company. Below is a rather blurry picture of my bed for the night, once again under the stars. A mat to cushion me and my bag for a pillow. It was simple, but just right!