Sun-soaked city

I took this photo of the Amman skyline late one afternoon, in the five-minute window when the sun was painting the buildings a fiery orange before dipping quickly away below the opposite horizon. One of Amman’s most famous mosques crowns the cacophony of windows and roofs, against a pristine and spotless sky.

Amman horizon

Posted in response to the Weekly Photo Challenge: Horizon.

Weekly Photo Challenge: An Unusual POV | Behind the lines

 

 

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During our recent trip to Jordan, we enjoyed experiencing many amazing sites rich with the history of many civilizations that have passed through over the millennia. However, not all sites were accessible to us, and we remained separated from them only to peer from a distance at the poorly-maintained ruins and garbage discarded on the other side.

I highlight this experience in the above shot of the Amman Nymphium. The first chooses not to focus on the historical site itself, but rather on the fence that was the object of my own tourist’s focus and frustration.

The same shot, but this time bringing the ruins into focus is included below, for comparison. Personally I find the above version much more striking.

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Posted in response to An Unusual POV

Into the Desert

Into the Desert

At night in the desert, the shadows lengthen and broaden until every mountain is cloaked in the quiet velvet of night. That’s when the stars appear – at first flickering on one by one, but then spanning the heavens as a singular, three-dimensional canvas of dark traversed by causeways of galaxies and constellations.

The only sound to be heard is us – we are loud in this sacred silence with the hooves and grunts of our camels, the shouted conversations among us, and the songs of our guide. But the desert refuses to give these sounds back to us; with nothing to bounce against they are simply absorbed into the sand, heard among us us, but failing to disturb neighbouring camps with our lack of self-restraint.

Ahmad, our guide, knows everything about the camels. Indeed he himself has grown up with them, as they have with him. The first, Soghan, is the natural leader , and Ahmad tells us that he can lead a pack of campels across the desert to the village on his own, returning to their masters with none getting lost or being left behind.

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The second is Samhan, whose name means “forgiving”. Every ancestor of his shares the same name. With his placid nature, he is the most responsive to children and tourists, and will even listen to a woman’s voice. But in his heart he prefers to travel alone rather than with a pack, and will choose any moment to stray towards a different point on the horizon than those pursued by his companions.

The third was given the unfortunate name Michael Jackson by a tourist, and the name was preserved. He is the youngest and the slowest of the herd, Ahmad tells us, but he is strong.

We arrive at our campsite and stiffly dismount. We carry our things to the tents. Our dinner has been waiting for us under the sand, where coals buried deep in the ground make a makeshift oven that makes the vegetables and meat moist and fragrant. Our delicious meal is enjoyed with tiny cups of sage tea, scalding and sweet.

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We unroll our mattresses outside and sleep under the nearly-full moon, so bright as to eliminate the need for flashlights. It is quiet and sleep comes quickly, exhausted as we are into our trip into the desert. I wake a few times to find the moon moved to a different position in the arc it travels above us.

I wake and breathe the dry, cool air, which will regain the heat of the day in an hour or two. It fills my lungs, clearing them of sleep and night. Morning light has painted everything golden, and I rise to catch the view quickly, before it disappears a few minutes later. My companions are still asleep, and I hold on to the private joy of the moment that is far from my daily reality, knowing that soon it will be stirred with company. Knowing that in but a few moments the sun will rise higher, chase us out of the desert and back to the village for water and shade. The night has ended and the desert day has begun.

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A Single Step

It is said that every journey begins with a single step. For us, this journey to Jordan has been in the making for so long that it is difficult to discover where exactly that first step took place, but it probably wasn’t long after we started to get to know each other two years ago that we could have guessed we would find ourselves venturing there together eventually.

So now as we lounge and nap in the lone coffee shop in the Charles de Gaulle’s sparse E2 terminal, ignoring the hunger pangs that would be to expensive and unsatisfying to respond to, it is the exciting prospects of the weeks ahead that fill us with anticipation. Historical sites and exotic landscapes, visits with family members and friends, weddings and engagement parties, are just some of the attractions that we will try to cram into two and a half weeks.