Alistair Caldicott

Opening Up the Middle East

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Chapter 20 - Donkey Business


Once again I was back in a world, where everyone I dealt with seemed to call themselves Mohammed. One taxi-driving Mohammed took me to his house for tea, before another one whisked me away north up Jordan's Desert Highway, a major regional thoroughfare, which eventually made its way to Baghdad.

Every now and again I would spot a car parked up hastily on the roadside, with the owner kneeled down in submission at the back of it facing towards Mecca in prayer. And when they were not kneeling to pray, they were kneeling to pee, which, with surprisingly gusty desert winds, I wasn't too convinced of the merits of.

About twenty minutes down the road, a large bang went off under the car. It was initially a little disturbing, but innocuous enough. A part had dropped off underneath. I was still on edge after my time in Israel. From the Desert Highway we veered off onto the King's Highway, and I was soon able to digest the brief emergence of camels bumbling onto the road in front of us. Even though the terrain was scenically beginning to resemble the Australian outback, this was now the land of the Bedouin.

After Jordan, I crossed the Red Sea to explore Egypt.

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