The Road to Wadi Mujib
The notion of going to where you can get to, rather than finding a way to get to where you want to go, is a luxury rarely afforded back home. I had wanted to get to Dana, but on a Friday — the Muslim day of rest — there were no buses going that way. When I then asked “where can I get to today?”, the question seemed lost on the locals and I was just told to go back to Amman to get other buses from there. Taxis offered the ride at an exorbitant rate.
I noticed “Dhiban” written in Arabic on the side of a bus that was slowly filling up with people. The map showed that it lies on the northern edge of Wadi Mujib, Jordan’s “Grand Canyon”, and in vaguely the right direction. That would do.
This change of plan meant a new acquaintance in a bus rarely used to seeing foreigners; after a phone call to his wife back home, extra places were being prepared for lunch in a little village somewhere north of Dhiban.
The lift back to the town that afternoon was in his friend’s mini-van, filled with veiled women who giggled away in the back on their way to a wedding. “You cannot look at them”, our driver told me as they spoke to me. The umpteenth cultural lesson of that day.
Walking down the winding road into the wadi (“valley” in Arabic) evening was beginning to draw in, and passing drivers warned of the danger in the valley bottom at night. The “wolves” they had warned of were avoided thanks to four retired men, dressed in full Jordanian garb, who stopped to offer a lift as the sun was setting. A fitting end to a day of improvised traveling, and proof that where you want to go is not always the best place to be.