I’m safe and at my hotel in Wadi Musa, which is the town next to Petra. Today has been a long but eventful day!
Thank you so much to all of you who emailed or sent a message in WhatsApp to check on me. Jordan is a Muslim country and is very much in favor of the idea of Palestine, so I doubt Hamas will attack here.
If I don’t survive this trip, it won’t be because of Hamas. The culprit will be Google, in my crappy rental car, off a cliff. I’m pretty sure Google is trying to kill me. The worst part is I know better than to trust it out here. Yesterday, I recorded a voice note to remind myself to tell you all about this… That you should always examine the route and know where you are going instead of trusting the algorithm.
There are two faults that happen in Google maps – one is that the roads are not properly classified as roads verses something that might vaguely resemble a road. I’m sure they just dumped all the satellite images into their algorithm to automatically draw out the roads. The second issue is that the data they are using to evaluate traffic conditions is probably not very good in Jordan. Its rerouted me unnecessarily off the main highway through terrain that I would actually like to drive through if I had my Land Rover. I’m pretty sure Google was trying to save me a precious 3 seconds.
This morning, I loaded my luggage into the car and then went back to my room to get my backpack. I thought maybe I needed to take one more panorama picture of the view of the Dead Sea from the terrace, just in case it looked different (it didn’t). What happened instead, is that I wound up talking to a young lady named Marina.
Marina was born in England and now lives in France. Her father is Pakistani and her mother is French. She became a Christian 10 years ago after realizing that her entire life was unfulfilling. She admitted that it was her own fault – she was focused on herself and on control and on her own ideas.
Her epiphany was that the story actually belonged to God, and that she should follow His lead instead of trying to make her own path. I wound up getting breakfast at the hotel and we had a wonderful discussion for a couple of hours. I might share the more of our discussion in another email – she knows that I’ll be sharing this with you all. Part of that discussion leads into something that has been on my mind.
I went to the Jordan Baptism site yesterday, as did she later in the day. The tour guides all spoke about ‘Our Lord, Jesus Christ’ as they were giving the tour as if they believed that Jesus was God. But I was wondering to myself if the tour guide really believe this, or if this was just the script for the tour to make the tour more meaningful.
I didn’t get the chance to ask the guide, but Marina did. She found out that the guide was not, in fact, a believer. I was suspicious because there are a lot of people in both Israel and Jordan that are just trying to make a living. They say what they need to say to make a good impression.
I’m not mad about this. I understand what they are trying to do and it’s not malicious. I find it maybe a little endearing that they are doing this to please their audience. So, maybe a prayer for all of these folks that are pretending to believe, but are just doing what they have to in order to earn money and take care of their families. Maybe that they would have an encounter with God that opens their eyes.
After our conversation, I got in my car and started the 3 hour drive from Swemeh to Wadi Wadi Musa. The route would take me down the Jordan Valley Highway, following the coastline of the Dead Sea, then cutting across the mountains range on the King’s Highway. This drive takes you through some amazingly beautiful terrain. There are several small farms of Bedouins who live migratory lives in tents with their flocks of sheep.
On the Kings Highway, at the peak, there is an amazing little coffeeshop that I stopped at and had an excellent cup of Turkish coffee and some biscuits.
After relaxing for a little bit, I finished the drive to Wadi Musa and checked into my hotel. The owner (who also runs the front desk and cooks the evening dinner) knows Petra really well. He gave me an itinerary to follow for the afternoon and said he will have another one for me for all day tomorrow.
Petra is incredible – the archeology and history is absolutely amazing. I really want to come back and explore Jordan more as well as exploring the south end of Israel once the fighting is over.