We were going to Petra today. 😊 I had been waiting for this for so long! Yeah! Indiana Jones! Apart from that, I was very excited because I’d see my friend’s mother soon.
Our tour guide is a Bedouin and he was proud of being one. He was very excited when he showed us this famous site in Jordan.
My friend and her family used to live in one of these caves here. The Queen of England, when she visited Petra, visited my friend’s mother. My friend was still a baby back then.
According to Indiana Jones, the temple inside is huge and there is another door that leads you in further. However, in reality, there is nothing there and there is no such door inside. My groupmates and I tried to find it but our effort was in vain. Indiana Jones lied. ☹ We shouldn’t have believed in movies.
While I was hiking up, I met another tour guide. (Our guide didn’t hike up with us. He was taking a rest somewhere.) He showed us the fossil.
He also pointed at all the elements we could find in the stones. One of them was iron. He asked me to put my hands on it and said, ‘can you feel the heat?’
We talked along the way. Other than helping his guests to take photos, he also helped me when we reached the top.
The rest of the group who didn’t want to hike up the hill took a rest at a cafeteria. I joined them afterwards and I saw the tour guide I met during the hike there as well. We started chatting and my groupmates joined our conversations. I asked him if he knew the author. His eyes sparkled and said, ‘her shop is just right over there (he pointed at a direction as he said it). It’s a bit far from where we are though. You can take a horse to get there.’ No, I couldn’t. I was with a group and they were leaving. Also, I was sceptical about all these. It seemed everyone gave me a different direction. Everybody knew her but nobody could tell me where exactly her shop was.
While I was walking back with the group, the sole of one of my hiking boots came off (yeah, the ones you can see in one of the photos here). It was too hot. The heat of the ground must have melted the glue of my already worn-out hiking boot. My roommate offered me some strings to tie it to my boot but it only lasted for a couple of minutes. Another groupmate said, ‘I brought a spare pair of sneakers. Do you want to see if they fit you? But they are in my hotel room.’ Thank God! Yes, of course. That’s one thing good about travelling with a group – we help each other out. But before that, I needed to fix the sole so that I could continue for the rest of the day.
I finally saw our own tour guide again, ‘where’s the author’s shop?’ He looked at me with his eyes and mouth widely opened. ‘I have totally forgotten about it’ was written all over his face. He apologized but he said, ‘I can find her uncle for you. You can talk to them.’ yeah, right, what a good idea. I didn’t (and still don’t) even know any of her uncles. Who knew if you were just making up some stories? Or maybe you’d just randomly find someone to talk to me pretending that that was her uncle.
The next thing I remember was our bus took us to lunch. Near the restaurant, there was a shop. I went in and asked them if they could help me with my boot. The guy in the shop was making some sandstones bottles. He took a look at my boot and nodded. He put some glue on which turned out to be helpful for the rest of the day. I still had to wear my groupmate’s sneakers in the end. And I was very thankful that they fitted, perfectly.
During lunch time, the tour guide got hold of someone who could speak English on the phone and said, ‘here’s your friend’s uncle.’ And I politely talked to him on the phone. I didn’t believe he was her real uncle anyway. He said they were not in Petra. That was not entirely untrue. My friend was really not in Petra but her mother was.
We left Jordan after lunch. At the border, the tour guide made another mistake which I don’t remember. I only remember hearing the organiser of this pilgrimage saying, ‘I don’t think this guy can get any clients in the future. It’s such a mess.’
We were so glad to see our Palestinian tour guide again. When he saw me and my boot, he said, ‘I can take you to buy shoes.’ That was so sweet of him. He was like a father taking care of his children.
27 July 2009
P.S. While we were crossing the border, I met a couple waiting in the queue holding a book that looked very familiar. I approached them. ‘Yeah, we saw the author. See? Here’s her autograph on the book.’ You even got her autograph! When did you go there? ‘Today, at around…’ That’s the time when I was there too! I didn’t see her store. ‘Her store is right opposite to the landmark.’ I then explained to them that I knew the author’s daughter. The wife asked, ‘was she (the author) happy?’ I was shocked. Why would she be unhappy? My mind took me back to the time when I first met my friend. Being a western woman, the author married a Bedouin. Since then, she had lived in a cave and raised three kids there. When my friend told me her parents’ story, my response was ‘that was so romantic!’ But the wife at the border brought me back to the reality. It’s true. Life could be quite tough. My mind flashed back to the time when my friend invited me to her grandparents’ place. My friend was happy and her maternal grandparents were proud of their daughter and granddaughter too. I answered after all these flashbacks which lasted for a second (it’s amazing how fast our brain works), ‘my friend and I had never talked about it but my friend was happy so I guess her mother was happy too.’ The husband then said, ‘now, we can go back and tell people that we met someone who knows this author’s daughter.’ LOL!!
By now, you probably can guess who this author is.
A few days after I returned home after this pilgrimage, I received an email from Marguerite. She said she had missed my email but she told her daughter about me. My friend and I finally got connected on social media.
Ms Marguerite van Geldermalsen is the author of Married to a Bedouin.
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