After bidding farewell to my NY family for the second time I headed off to jordan to meet my father for a 6 day ride in the Wadi Rum Desert.
I had convinced myself that riding a horse through the desert for 5-6 hours a day would be a piece of cake. The ride was advertised as 'for experienced riders only' and I'd ridden about 6 times before which i decided was experience enough. This turned out to be quite delusional on my behalf! My cover was nearly blown on the first day we arrived when I tried to get on my horse from the wrong side. Luckily my father tipped me off to my bad horse etiquette before anyone saw. Although I'm sure the horse doesn't care what side I hop on it from!
As the first day progressed my horse and I seemed to be getting on well enough. Probably because I was just letting her do what ever she wanted. By the second day however she started to become a real pain in the arse, literally and metaphorically. On the second afternoon we were locked in a battle of wills which she seemed to be winning. Every time I tried to saddle her up she would try to bite me.
While riding she would absolutely refuse to walk and would do this weird sort of hoping thing, (I assure you even with my limited knowledge of riding it didn't fall into any category of how a horse should move). I was sure it wasn't comfortable for her and she was just doing it to piss me off so I was constantly pulling at her reigns to make her walk, in turn she would throw her head around and try to rip the reigns out of my hands.
By the 4th day I'd had enough and told our guide that I was driving the backup jeep instead, which as it turns out I didn't have much luck at either getting it bogged in the deep desert sand.
I felt a bit vindicated when I swapped horses with my guide for an afternoon on the 5th day and he couldn't control her either. Ditto for my father who gave her a go until she reared up high on two legs tweaking his back out. He's still recovering, but hopefully painlessly with the supply of Vikodin I left him in Amman with.
It might sound like I had a miserable time but quite the opposite really. I enjoyed the battle of wills with my demon horse at times. All other painful horse issues aside; the scenery, food and company was amazing. Camping out and sleeping under the stars was a great change from noisy NY. Our bedouin guide was also the son of the sheik who governs the area and imparted a wealth of interesting knowledge about the area.
After the ride we headed to Petra to see the ruins and were awe struck along with the million other sunburnt tourists. Then a bit of floating about in the dead sea and a visit to jerusalem to watch massive groups of religious tourists with branded T-shirts 'religiously' paying homage to their respective holy sights.
Now I'm in Israel, relaxing for a while on the beach in Tel Aviv and getting up to a little much needed mischief.
Next stop egypt.