4 critical corners, 1 Red dream
This morning, after breakfast at the Bedouin camp at Wadi Rum, we sat down in the hut once again for a lecture by Dr. Raed Al-Tabini. He spoke to us about several key issues facing the Bedouin people and the greater Jordanian kingdom. He was particularly focused on the water shortage, which my colleague Rob has written a fantastic story about here.
After the discussion, which was more of a lecture, in the tent, the whole group boarded the bus for an hour-long ride down to the port city of Aqaba, the southern-most point in Jordan. Along the way, I took a nice nap at the back of the bus. When I woke up, I spotted signs that read “Aqaba Special Economic Zone Authority.” Moments later, I could see a bustling city and the Red Sea. What a pleasure it was to see water again! We stopped briefly at a hotel so that everyone could change out of their conservative, Amman-approved outfits into swimsuits.
We soon arrived at the port of Aqaba on the Red Sea. Just across the water was Israel. The group all hopped onto the boat and we began to drift farther into the Red Sea. The water was a vibrant blue, and I couldn’t wait to jump in.
As the boat got farther away from Aqaba, the Jordanian flags moving farther into the distance behind us, the snorkel gear appeared. We stopped in the Red Sea and I could see Egypt, Israel, Saudi Arabia and Jordan. I must say, these four corners are much cooler than the four corner states in the US; Colorado, New Mexico, Arizona and Utah.
Everyone geared up in snorkels and flippers, and one-by-one we jumped into the Red Sea. The fish were beautiful, striped black and white like zebras. After a few minutes, I realized how strong the current was and traded in my flippers and snorkel gear for a lifejacket. I felt like I was four years old, but I felt safer. Solid tradeoff, I think. I swam, or floated, in the Red Sea until we were all called aboard for lunch.
Katie and I locked hands and jumped back in off of the back of the boat. It turned into a great flipbook of pictures:
Michele, Erin and I shared the view with our feet dangling over the top deck and a glass of white wine in hand. Then the music started blaring out of the speakers- first Celine Dion (seriously?) and then more traditional Arabic music. Everyone joined in the dancing festivities. The music was short-lived. We all then leapt off of the top of the boat into the Sea again, three at a time.
Last call for jumping in, as we were preparing to head back to the port and the dreaded bus. All in all, it was a great day.