Day 9: Wadi Rum to the Dead Sea, Jordan

The teenage boys made noise all night and were still somehow up at dawn. Did they sleep? I am up at with the sun and take my laptop into the one of the lodge buildings to use the last legs of battery life to keep writing offline. The first lodge has people sleeping inside on the benches and I can’t tell if they’re members of the Syrian refugee family living and working here or members of the teenage boy mob who never made it back to their tents. I try the next one which also has random people that may or may not have just woken up from sleeping on the benches but I sit down anyway because it is a space meant for all of us. Shortly after I sit down a man comes over and tells me this space is just for the school. This seems like bullshit but I’m not sure so I go sit outside where the desert air is still too cool to be comfortable. My bad mood is stuck to me like a jelly stain as it is now joined by lack of sleep; I don’t think I got more than 30 minutes of real sleep during the night and I feel it. The irritation of being left out of additional important conversations has reached it’s peak; I suppose it’s only natural for people here to assume I speak Arabic if I’m traveling with three native Arab people but it is not natural for the three people I am traveling with to forget that I do not in fact speak Arabic. I am also extremely anxious about not posting seeing as how I’ve really just begun and momentum is so easily lost, both in terms of my output and in viewership and support. I am second guessing myself constantly, shooting from the hip and trying to learn everything along the way - basically I am losing my damn mind. Ugh there is no coffee and not even that sweet tea and my head aches.  

Breakfast finally happens, the guys eventually roll in and we make plans to leave soon. Oh did I mention the camp locked the showers because they don’t have enough water to accommodate the teenage boy caravan? So I also haven’t showered since arriving last night covered in sand and sweat. Jesus I’m grumpy. Anyway! Off we go to the Dead Sea.

It’s a long drive and I can’t keep my eyes open. I am also dehydrated; you have to drink bottled water everywhere in Jordan and the guys don’t seem to need as much as I do and the supply is often locked in the car or somewhere where I can’t just grab it. My lips are chapped. At some point early this morning lost my little pot of Aquaphor which is one of the only things that really helps. I’ve been struggling with severely chapped lips all winter so this makes me anxious too. I keep passing out in the car, my head snapping up suddenly after falling back. Eventually I stay awake and feel like I may have actually slept for a bit - keeping my eyes open is less of a struggle for the moment.

The landscape is beautiful here too - similar giant rolling mountains and valleys like the area around Petra but a different color. I am shocked that the lowest place on earth is surrounded by mountains. What the fuck? We keep going up and up and up but somehow we are low. Nassir booked a “fancy” resort for our last night which is a pleasant reprieve after no showers yesterday and even longer with no electricity.

After checking in our baggage is brought to our rooms for us and I am struggling again to find out what is going on - that old language thing again. I’m quietly fuming as we look for our rooms. Rather - they look for the rooms and I follow behind because I don’t know what the room numbers are! We’ve got to adjoined rooms and the one I enter into with Nassir is a single king bed and I am about to lose my shit. I start pacing in a circle trying to not start screaming and do my best to calmly ask “there aren’t two beds?”. Nassir says he asked but maybe the Muhammads have two beds in their room so we open the connecting doors to find out. Thank the heavens there are two beds in the other room but they are still all talking in Arabic and Muhammad 2 jumps on one of the twin beds to lay down and my Irish flares up again. Finally Nassir says “do not worry they are going to switch”. Once they leave I start asking all the questions that I would normally know the answers to right now if I was traveling by my damn self. Like, what time does the pool close? What time is dinner? Where is dinner? What time is breakfast? Are there beach towels? Is there water to drink? And on and on. He can tell I am frustrated and I am certainly not trying to hide it. I then start in about how frustrating and insulting it is for them to just discuss all of these things amongst themselves with no regard to how it is for me. I am also hungry and still really tired and I am not my best self. Thankfully I don’t think I actually yell - I am very emphatic and clearly angry but I don’t insult I just express. At least this is my take... I finally get the answers and Nassir apologizes and I tell him I appreciate that, I repeat how it has felt every time this happens and also explain that I am hungry and tired because it’s definitely augmenting my emotional response. He suggests we go get me some lunch and I accept because food.

I eat, he and the Muhammads go to the pool, I hit the Dead Sea for a bit and then go back for a much-needed nap. The guys come back for naps too and we all get up at 7 and go to dinner together. Dinner is a huge lavish buffet and there are a million desserts. The two Muhammads had a couple drinks while watching two Omani soccer teams play each other in a final and they are both loose and hilarious to observe. Muhammad 1 has clearly had the most to drink and he is smiling nonstop and a little red, he’s also eating everything with his hands even though the others are using utensils. I try every single dessert and discover I only like the cookies. There is a live musical duo playing on the terrace outside and the we go to sit and then they the hookah is ordered. Muhammad 1 and Nassir are gluttons for the thing and I can tell they will be sitting here for hours and so I bid them farewell and head back to the room for more writing and more sleep. When Nassir gets back we try to discuss a plan for tomorrow morning when we check out and also for later in the day when I have to be at the airport but we struggle to make much headway as his plan doesn’t take into consideration the schedule of the resort but whatever. I set my own alarm and shut the day out at last.