Jordan 2008!

After Jordan 2006, and Yemen 2007 comes the much anticipated return to Jordan 2008!

Wednesday, July 04, 2007

Wadi Dahr, Dar al-Hajar, and the Prarie of Prax

Our group took our first journey out of Sana’a this past week and oh, what an adventure we had. We went to Wadi Dahr which is about 45 min from where we are. It’s a highly vegetated valley (compared to the rest of the barren desert that surrounds Yemen) that is full of 18th century Arab architecture built into the red rocks and you occasional quaint gift shop. I don’t think the guy who ran the gift shop we went to was very used to American tourists and certainly didn’t have a particularly acute sense of the female psyche given that he made sure to tell every girl in our program that all t-shirts were available in XXL. “Muhammad, let me share something with you: in American culture, bigger is not always better.”
The drive both there and back was AMAZING… or perhaps I should say shocking. It is not uncommon in Yemen to see two Yemeni vehicles meet in the middle of a narrow road like a north-going Zax meeting a south-going Zax on the prairie of Prax. This will ultimately result in two long trains of vehicles extending infinitely in opposite directions. Of course the only way to solve this problem is for every member of the great pileup to honk their respective horns in evenly spaced intervals until the solution is found. On the way to Wadi Dahr, we found our reasonably large tourist bus facing down a giant gas tanker that literally took up ¾ of the road. We of course stopped, and the tanker stopped, and the cars behind us naturally decided to pass. So we sat there and waited for all of the cars behind us to pass us and destroy the paint job on the left side of their cars in passing the tanker. We eventually followed suit. There was a little friction between the two vehicles. As if the trip there were not shocking enough, our bus driver decided that we should all spend the entire ride back listening to everyone’s favorite hits by 2pac Shakur, starting off with California love. This, I believe is the most bizarre clashing of worlds that I have experienced yet; Almost like watching “the Matrix” with the soundtrack to “the Sound of Music.”
The valley itself was very cool. There is a big building built on top of a giant red rock called Dar al-Hajar, or the house of the rock. It has a number of rooms and connected buildings that climb up the back of the rock until you reach the biggest one on top. It goes up staircase after staircase. While we were there, there was a wedding celebration in which a couple kids banged on drums while the older men danced in a circle while waving their large knives over their heads. It was very cool. I could probably describe this in further detail, but I’ll just attach some pictures instead.


Post a Comment

<< Home