Monthly Archives: September 2008

Bedouin Whisky – the Reason I Moved to the Other Side of the World

I just have to share a quick story about something great that happened today.  We were in Petra for the second day today, and it was every bit as exhausting as the first.  Toward the end of our time there, most of our group wanted to go see one more set of tombs, but I decided to just wait and relax at the little tea shop at the bottom of the hill.  My friend, Trevor, decided to join me.

We had some tea there at the shop, and then we started getting surrounded by ginormous yellow-jackets or wasps or something.  Whatever it was, we agreed that our time at that cafe was finished.  We went over toward some large rocks with plans of relaxing there while we waited on the rest of the group.

As we were walking over, Trevor commented that there was a guy building a fire next to the rocks where we were going to sit.  As we approached the rocks, I greeted the man and asked him how he was (in Arabic).  He responded in Arabic, and then I told him that’s all the Arabic I knew.  We began to talk in English, and he asked us to sit and have tea.

Trevor and I sat with him talking for at least 10 minutes.  He is a Bedouin man that lives in a cave with his family in the Petra area.  He and his family sell Bedouin jewelry to the tourists that visit Petra.  He was extremely friendly, and his English was pretty good after all of his practice talking to the tourists.

The rest of the group showed up, and he offered tea to them.  He asked me if I wanted another glass, and of course, I said, “Yes.”  He laughed and said, “This is Bedouin whisky.”

We ended up buying several beautiful necklaces from him.

It was an amazing experience, and it’s the very reason I wanted to move to this area of the world.  I love just sitting and talking with new friends over a cup of tea.

This is the life!

Best Birthday Ever

Well, my birthday is coming to a close, and it did not disappoint.  We went to Madaba, Mt. Nebo, the Baptism site, and the Dead Sea.  I’ll have to write more about each of these later when I have more time and a better internet connection.  It was a spectacular day, though.  It ended with dinner at the Dead Sea Panorama center, which overlooked the sunset over the Dead Sea.  I had a really good steak with an oh so tasty mushroom sauce.  What a great way to top off the already wonderful day.

Again, I got lots of good pics, so look for those next week when we get back.

Tomorrow morning, we’re getting up bright and early to head to Petra for a couple of days.  I’m not sure if I’ll have internet access, but we’ll see.

Beautiful, Cool, Rainy Jordan

Well, we’ve just finished up our second day in Jordan.

Last night, we went went to a Turkish bath.  I had been to one when I went to Turkey several years ago, and so I was really looking forward to it again.  I definitely was not disappointed.  It was a relaxing time of sweating it out in the steam room, soaking in the sauna, being bathed by a large Jordanian man (we were both wearing swimsuits, so it wasn’t weird 🙂 ), and then getting a massage.  If you ever get the chance to have an authentic Turkish bath, go for it!

Today, we went to a couple of places to see some Roman ruins.  Have I mentioned that it’s so beautiful here?  It’s amazing.  Hills and trees everywhere.  The weather is a lot cooler than Doha, too.  It’s so refreshing.  I didn’t get to take as many pictures today as I would have liked, but since the reason was that it was raining, I won’t complain too much.  The nice drizzle was something that I have really been missing since moving to Doha.  It’s a nice change from the sizzling sauna that is the Doha summer.

Well, I’m off.  Alicia and Trey, sorry to disappoint about the pics.  We don’t have great internet access, and it would take FOR-EV-VER to get them all uploaded from here.

Oh, tomorrow is our day at the Dead Sea!  Best…. birthday…. ever!

The Hills Are Alive

Well, we made it to Jordan early this morning.  We took a small nap at the hotel (hostel), and have been touring Amman all day.  The weather is amazing here, and the city is beautiful.  I’m so used to the flatlands of Doha, and now we’re in a city full of hills and cliffs.  I liken it to going from College Station to visit Austin.

Tonight’s agenda is our visit to the Turkish Bath.  I’ve done it before, so I’m really excited.  It’ll be interesting to see what the others think.  I’ve been taking lots of pictures, but I probably won’t get them put up until we get back to Doha.

A Day in the Desert

I went to the desert yesterday with some new friends, and we had a blast.  I hadn’t been to the desert since April, so I was really excited to get the chance again.  It’s so fun driving over the dunes, and my Xterra handles it so well.  We drove a pretty easy route, since we weren’t that experienced.  There were still some pretty tricky parts, though.

Once we got to the Insland Sea, we set up camp and then swam for a while.  The water was perfect and so refreshing.  It was such a relaxing and beautiful day.  I really enjoyed the trip, and I now have the wonderful sunburn to deal with.  Oh well 🙂

I have lots of pics from the trip that you can check out here.

New Pics – Night at the Souks

Moon Over Waqif Art Center
I went to Souk Waqif the other night with some friends and had a wonderful time.  We ate dinner at a Moroccan restaurant and then went and sat ouside smoking shisha and talking for a couple of hours.  It was a great time of joking around and people watching.  Check out the pictures.

I’m about to leave to go to through the desert to the beach with some more new friends that I have made recently.  These are some of the first friends I have made here that are not affiliated with Education City.  They all work for oil companies here.  Believe it or not, the oil and gas industry is pretty big here.  Who would have known that?

More pictures to come!

Are You Fasting?

Well, I’ve been here in Doha almost eight months, and I really haven’t felt much culture shock until today.  Today was the start of Ramadan, which I mentioned in my last post.  I guess I just never thought about what life in a Muslim culture is like during the month of Ramadan, where the majority of the population is fasting and even the laws regulate society to adhere to the fasting culture.

The question that has really thrown me off has been, “Are you fasting?”  That’s really been the question of the day, especially toward a Westerner in this Muslim culture.  This is completely new to me, because it is the opposite of the mentality about fasting that I have developed as a Christian.  I have grown up in a society that, for one doesn’t really fast very much.  Besides that, the people that did fast would do so according to the instructions of Jesus:

But you, when you fast, anoint your head and wash your face, so that you do not appear to men to be fasting, but to your Father who is in the secret place; and your Father who sees in secret will reward you openly.

Matthew 6:17-18

For the most part, fasting has always been a very personal practice to observe when trying to know God more, receive specific direction for my life, to get through some hardship, etc.  There were a few times when I was part of a group fast, but even then, we didn’t really broadcast it to the world. I’ve even fasted for Ramadan with Muslim friends in the US before, but it still wasn’t really public knowledge.  I went on with life as usual and didn’t really talk about it except with a few people.

Coming from that culture to one where the store hours change to accommodate the fast, many people work modified hours, and the question of the day seems to be, “Are you fasting?” has just been really weird for me.

That’s what I love about different cultures, though.  This is a really great experience for me.