Driving to the Dead Sea

Margaret tries to get information from home, at an Eco Camp in a Bioreserve, with a single electric outlet available for all guests.

We spent most of the day in the car and worrying about the Kincade Fire. Margaret had Airbnb guests in her home during this trip, and did manage to contact them to say she didn’t think there would be a problem other than smoky skies. Her home in California was near the Kincade Fire, which had been expanding rapidly. Then she found out the neighborhood was being evacuated. Then the Internet went out at our camp. She did not sleep much.

It had begun to rain during dinner the night before, and rained during the night. Winds flapped the canvas walls of our tent. But I stayed warm all night. My favourite bed of the entire Jordan trip was in our tent at the Dana Eco Camp.

Morning fog filled the Dana Reserve.
Temperatures this morning were the coolest that we had experienced in Jordan. Locals said it would be snowing here in a couple months.
While Margaret tried to contact people at home, I took some parting shots of our home for the last two nights.

Our truck arrived to take us into Dana Village where we would be meeting Nashat’s brother. We had met him already, when our driver Nashat invited us to his home in Amman on our second day. As we climbed into the truck, Jaber appeared! Remember, he was the guy who shared his shisha with me the day before. I jumped back out of the truck to give him a hug and say hello. The day before I had been excited about the carving that looked like a dragon head hilt to a knife, and he brought it to me as a gift. He rode back to Dana Village with us. Our new driver, Ezat, was already waiting for us, and we loaded up the car and took off.

The plans for the day were to go to a narrow valley that would have been similar to the canyons at Petra, only this one has water in it. Tourists hike the trail while walking in the water. I thought it was somewhat ironic that I had been dying in the heat every single day except this day. It would have been better to walk a water trail in 80 degrees than in 55 degrees. Ezat was concerned that we would not be allowed to go into the canyon due to the recent rain – it might be too dangerous. But the day was young and we headed that direction anyway. It was a long drive. We were in the car for hours. Ezat had never been to the canyon trail, but his GPS was leading him to the bottom of a deep, deep valley.

We saw many rural scenes like this one, as we drove and drove through Jordan. You can see the minaret of the mosque in the center.
Lots of kids were released from school at around noon. Ezat said it was common for school to be out at noon. Another minaret is seen here.
I enjoyed seeing all the kids, watching how they have fun together, how they are dressed.
Sorry it’s not in focus. These girls are in school uniforms, shading their faces from the sun as they chat.
We crested the top of the hill and could see the valley that the GPS was leading us to.
Ezat pulled over here to let me take a photo. I took the opportunity to use the WC. It turned out to be the only squatter potty of the whole trip. Bonus though: absolutely beautiful gift shop with a view. But we were in too much of a hurry to browse.

Margaret had been in the back seat of the car worrying all morning. She hadn’t slept enough. Couldn’t get enough info while we were at the camp. Things with the fire were changing and she didn’t know what was going on. Her Airbnb guests had decided to go to San Franciso and hoped to return to her house in a few days. Her friends were so far ok, but the status was still in the air about her own neighborhood. It had been evacuated, power off, gas off. Highway 101 was closed northbound and southbound. Ezat was able to create a mobile hot spot for her there in the car, and she eagerly listened to live stream news reports and grew more and more worried.

We continued to drive.

At the bottom of the hill, GPS said, “Destination on your left.” All we saw was a bridge over a reservoir. No buildings, no trail,  no people. On the other side of the bridge was a single run-down vegetable stall with a cooler and drinks for sale. Ezat talked to the man there and found out there are two places with the same name as the watery canyon hike. GPS had taken us to the wrong one. In order to get to the right one, we had to cross the mountain range on the other side of the canyon. Yeesh.

We were running out of time to do all planned activities for the day, so once we got out of the canyon, instead of trying to find the water hike, we began driving toward the city of Madaba, to explore it. Another hour in the car.

About the time we reached Madaba, Margaret reached her limit. She no longer cared anything about touring and had only one desire in the whole world and that was to get to a decent hotel with reliable electricity and internet. I told Ezat to scrap all other plans and get us to our hotel on the Dead Sea. He said it would be another hour, and a couple more canyons. We continued to drive.

We saw a lot of scenes like this.
Sometimes the scenery had more going on.
Finally. The Dead Sea.

After we crested the top of the far wall on our third amazingly deep canyon, we could see it: the Dead Sea. So close, but still a half an hour away. Eventually we checked in, got to our room, and let out a breath. Finally. I bought Margaret a freakishly expensive bottle of wine (alcohol is rare and expensive in some places in Jordan) while she took a shower and we both relaxed. We didn’t even have the inspiration to go down to the beach, but just talked about the fire, and drank the wine.

View from our hotel balcony.
Sun sets over the Dead Sea.

{I am writing this post a week after the fact. Please don’t worry any more: Margaret’s house is fine. The fire got to her town, but not to her house, due to the efforts of local firefighters, emergency response teams, and the National Guard.}

15 thoughts on “Driving to the Dead Sea

  1. I’m with Margret. I’m surprised she lasted that long. Walking in cold water might not have been the best thing to do with a cold. I’m delighted her guests went home with only a story to tell and not injury and she had a home to go to still standing. Wow!

  2. And the world continues to burn… a take off on the world continues to turn. Been there done that in worrying about forest fires, as you know, Crystal. But Peggy and I tend to be philosophic: Do as much as we can to fire-proof our property and then let the fates decide. As Peggy says, “We will buy a new Rcar V and hit the open road.” Interesting shot of the sun setting over the Dead Sea. –Curt

    1. That’s a good philosophy, especially when you two are gone from home so often. I’m getting the sense that you two have figured out multiple tricks to get you through tough times with a smile. ❤

  3. so glad M’s house is fine – and enjoyed journeying with you via this post.
    I almost felt like I was sipping the relief and relax wine with you gals…
    and I like that slightly blurry shot of the school girls – so culture rich!!

    — and side note – I am offline a lot right now – trying to get stuff done – which includes writing a novel this month (Nanowrimo – first time)
    and your like here inspired an idea – feels like a metaphor –
    “We were in the car for hours. Ezat had never been to the canyon trail, but his GPS was leading him to the bottom of a deep, deep valley.”

    1. I’m glad you were able to come along with me in the middle of your busy schedule. Congratulations on Nanowrimo!! Good for you! I’ve thought only a little about it because I know it would be such a commitment. One day I will probably try as well. Oooh, I like the idea that following our GPS into a deep canyon is a metaphor. Check back in a week for our last day in Amman, I finally remembered to try and get shots of people!

      1. I Will
        Check back for us next post for sure – and will try and get caught up on the other ones (just for he fun of it all)
        And I am approaching the novel challenge loosely – I am using it as a reward – do the stuff I don’t want to do First – and then indulge – also – I set up one day to fully write and can make up for any missed days – and if it does not work – I will be fine….

    1. I know, right?! I had to pinch myself several times on this trip. Like at Petra, the Dead Sea, and at Jerash, or Amman. I was in frigging Amman, Jordan. How cool is that? I love my life. ❤ Yes!! The best news is, Margaret's house is ok, the Airbnb tenants are ok, and they even gave her a good review despite being evacuated during their vacation!

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