Monday, September 28, 2009

Bad Mood

Yesterday, I hated the Middle East.

Come on…I can’t reasonably be expected to be positive about this place all the time. Regardless of how glass-half-full I am about the experience of being here, there are aspects of it that really suck And besides, if you spend long enough anywhere, isn’t it normal to hate it at some point?

I think part of the problem is that the novelty of dealing with Middle Eastern travel restrictions has worn off. Initially, it was super interesting to try to figure out how things work and to see how governments use official and unofficial channels to control people and borders. But at some point, I felt like I got the hang of things – I saw enough check points and interacted with enough ass-hole military guards to get a sense of the frustration and hassle that is traveling here. And now, waiting in line no longer feels like an interesting sociological experience…it just feels like a huge pain in the ass. Yesterday, I got up at 5:30 and left Amman; I arrived home in Sde Boker [a mere 90 km away] 11 hours later, after taking 4 buses and 3 taxis. And I was sick.

It was enough to make a person hate the Middle East.

That aside, the rest of my time in Amman was great. I had a few really productive days [work-wise], got to do a ton of climbing, and had a lot of fun hanging out with Naz. Last Friday I also went with Hakim and some of his clients on a crazy 18 km canyoneering trip through Wadi Assal. It was an amazing day…but long. We left Amman at 7 am and didn’t get back until about 10 pm. The views were a spectacular combination of desert canyons and tropical oases -- I’ve never seen anything like it. [Unfortunately…no pics to show.] While it was a wild experience, it did cross my mind that going canyoneering is kindof like just doing the annoying parts of rock climbing: a really long approach hike carrying lots of gear, getting stuck behind slow parties who are epic-ing, rappelling off sketchy anchors….

It was also great to be staying in a city…with restaurants, grocery stores, cafes…other people. I guess I’ve gotten used to being in an urban environment after the past few years in Boston. While I spend a lot of time climbing in rural places, I haven’t lived in one since Viroqua. And in a lot of ways Sde Boker feels more isolated than Viroqua…which is saying something. At least in Viroqua I had the Co-op, the Driftless CafĂ©, a gym, and my car. Grinnell was a freakin’ metropolis, by comparison.


Anyway, I’m obviously in a depressive mood, which is not necessarily helping me to write an interesting blog post…so maybe I’ll just leave it at that. Here are a few random pictures from Jordan than aren’t of rocks/climbing.

Wednesday, September 23, 2009

Finding America in Amman

The King of Jordan in Camo.

I’ll admit it…there’s something ironic about going to Jordan for Rosh Hashana.

But, my friend Naz, who works in Amman had 4 days off for Eid al-Fitr [the end of Ramadam] which, this year, coincidentally fell on the same weekend as Rosh Hashana. When Naz invited me to stay at her place in Abdoon for the weekend, I was put in the position of having to choose between the Jewish high holidays and rock climbing; as many of you might expect, I chose rock climbing.

My family in Haifa had invited me to spend the New Year with them and as a sort of Jewish-guilt-inspired compromise, I had dinner with them Thursday and spent the night in Haifa before heading over the border on Friday. My family-in-Israel could not understand the appeal of Rosh Hashana in Jordan; in fact they seemed utterly perplexed at the idea that I had friends in Amman. “But, are they Jewish?” I was asked more than once, reminding me of the reality that, despite a formal peace agreement, these nations are still pretty darn isolated from one another.

Just for the record, traveling through the West Bank and across the Allenby Bridge on a day that happens to be both the last Friday of Ramadan as well as Rosh Hashana is not a great idea. I mean, I knew this before I tried it, but I figured that as long as I called the border control office at Allenby to cofirm their operating hours [8am-1pm] things would work out okay. They did work out…but with a little more hassle than usual. The first step: getting from my family’s house in Haifa to the Damascus Gate to the Old City in Jerusalem, was easy. However, when I headed over to the Arab bus station to catch a ride to Allenby, I was surprised to see that there were precisely 2 buses in the entire station. One was parked, driver-less, and out-of commission; and the other was leaving for its final trip of the day to Ramallah. I stopped the driver and asked him how I could get a bus to the Allenby Bridge, to which he replied that I couldn’t…at least not that day.


Well, I stopped a random East Jerusalemite and after posing the same question, he said that I might be able to hire a private taxi, but he wasn’t sure they would go during prayer time on Friday. [I have to say, G-d/Allah/Jesus/etc certainly makes public transportation complicated.] After several follow-up conversations with men standing near taxis, I found a guy who said that he wouldn’t take me but that he knew someone who…for a premium…might. Since I had to make it to Allenby by 12 and was beginning to run out of time, I agreed. I was introduced to Mr. Taxi Driver’s Friend, who ushered me into a private car that was completely blocked into its parking spot by several other vehicles. I watched through the rear windshield as 6 Arab men and two small boys jumpstarted the truck behind us by pushing it backwards [uphill] and letting it roll back down [directly towards me in the backseat of Mr. Taxi-Driver’s-Friend’s car]. After a few tries, they managed to get the truck started [and, praise Allah, to prevent it from slamming into me] and before too long we were on our way.

I’m not gonna lie – I was pretty nervous the entire ride. Here I was, alone, in an unmarked private car with some guy who wasn’t really a taxi driver. Probably not a good idea, but I took some comfort in the fact that I had agreed to pay a ridiculously inflated fare and it was only a half-hour ride. The driver was making bank off me; he knew it and I knew it. Plus, he was really old and frail and had been very nice to me so far. While the situation was, admittedly, not ideal…I didn’t feel like I had any reason not to trust that things would work out okay. That said, I was, over the course of the ride, continuously rehearsing escape scenarios in my head.

Everything went very smoothly until we arrived at a checkpoint 3 km from the Allenby Bridge. Before going through the checkpoint, Mr. Taxi-Driver’s-Friend pulled over and ordered me to get out of the car. I was like ‘um…we had a deal…I pay you more than we both know this fare is worth and you get me to the Bridge before 12; we’re not at the Bridge, so I’m not going to pay you.’ This proclamation really seemed to piss him off, but I stood my ground. By this point I felt pretty safe – I was out of the car, bag in hand, and there were lots of other people around [including Israeli military police.] My driver stood his ground as well, explaining [with an air of apology this time] that he couldn’t take me any farther [my assumption is that he couldn’t go through the pre-border check point because he wasn’t really a taxi driver or didn’t have the right kind of ID or something, but I’m not really sure.] Anyway, he eventually found some other taxi driver [this time with a real taxi] who, I guess, he convinced to take me through the check point and to the border. I felt like, at this point, this was my best option to get to the border before 12, so I paid the first driver and got into the car of the second. A little hassling by the Israeli military police at the check point inspired Second Driver to turn around and angrily express [with an exasperated yell] that he didn’t want to take me to the border, but he did, and I paid him too, and the rest of the ride to Amman was relatively easy: Israeli border control, exit fees, customs, short bus ride, Jordanian border control, taxi to Amman, local taxi to Naz’s place. Even with the added complication of Ramadan/Rosh Hashana, I was chatting with Naz in her living room by 1pm.

Rosh Hashana [Friday night] was celebrated with an amazing Iftar meal at a fancy Lebanese restaurant downtown. Naz and I were joined for dinner by Peter [my friend from MIT], his roommates Tom and Alicia, and a few other friends. After dinner we wandered around Souq Jarah for a bit before calling it a night.

Saturday morning, Naz and I went to Kufranja with another American named Brit. We repeated some of the lines we climbed there last time, and tried a few new ones.

Below are some photos of Naz and I in Kufranja. Here’s me trying not to pump out before the rope is clipped to something:

Here’s me climbing an amazingly fun pitch that starts with easy face climbing, leads into a cool lay back section, then stemming up a corner, and finishes with a squeeze chimney:

Here’s Naz looking happy on lead:

Saturday night we had dinner at Yoshi, a trendy [and excellent] sushi place. Omg, my first non-Middle Eastern restaurant meal in 2 monts tasted soooooooooooo good.


Sunday we actually opted for something other than rock climbing. I know…crazy.

We drove down the Dead Sea Highway to a canyon called Wadi Mujib and did the Siq trail, a two-hour romp though rushing water. Although Mujib doesn’t seem to be a big deal by Jordanian standards [as I learned later, from a local canyoneering guide] I thought it was really cool!

Here are some pics:Artsy canyon shot

Fighting Rapids

Naz and I at the end of the Siq trail.

[For more photos of Wadi Mujib, check out my picasa site.]

On the way back to Amman we stopped in Madaba for more excellent Lebanese food. This is a photo I took from the car on the drive to Madaba, in a landscape that looks more like the middle of nowhere than anywhere else I’ve ever been.

All I could think about while driving through this vast empty barren desert was how close we were to the Church of the Holy Sepulchre in Jerusalem. One of the chapels in this church is built around the precise spot that Christians believe is the center of the Universe [a nearby chapel houses the body of Jesus Christ]. Thinking about the uncanny proximity between the Center of the Universe and the Middle of Nowhere was almost too much for my brain to handle.


Moday was a climbing breakthrough – we found ourselves, suddenly, smack in the middle of the Jordainian climing scene. Granted…it’s a limited scene…really limited…as in…there are basically like 5 climbers in Jordan, not counting expats. Hakim is a Spanish-Jordanian climber who lives in Amman. He was trained by a French climber in Verdon, has an adventure tourism company called Tropical Desert Trips, and is in the process of establishing numerous climbing areas in the north of Jordan. Mohammad Hamad is a Bedouin climbing guide in Wadi Rum, trained by British climber Tony Howard. Mohammad has put up a ton of stuff in Rum and is, coincidentally, who Naz and I met two weeks ago down South. According to Hakim, there are a few other Bedouin climbers in Rum, all of whom claim to be the only one, and each of whom trace their climbing lineage [and training] through a different European climber. There seems to be a healthy amount of competition amongst all of these characters.

In addition to establishing trad and bolted lines, Hakim is determined to create a community of Jordanian climbers in Amman; he is teaching all of the guides at his company to climb and he built an artificial wall at his office [currently the only artificial wall in Jordan, but there is a climbing gym under construction and slated to open next spring.]

On Monday, Hakim took Naz and I to a slabby sandstone area near Kerak [overlooking the Dead Sea] where he has put up a few easy bolted lines. Aside from the flies [which were horrendous] we had a great time. Here are some pics:

Afterwards, we went back to Hakim’s “office” and tried out his artificial wall, which turned out to be surprisingly fun. The wall is outside, on the side of the building that he lives in and works out of. The routes snake up a wide variety of “holds” – from molded plastic crimpers, to drilled sandstone jugs, to features and cracks in the crumbly concrete. I don’t know if it was because we were climbing up the exterior of a building, or because the concrete features I was toeing were crumbling underfoot, but Hakim’s artificial wall felt more like real rock than most gyms I’ve been to.

Hakim's Wall.

What Hakim is trying to do is really cool, but it also seems like an uphill battle. Local Bedouins have a habit of bolt chopping, and most Jordanians don’t [yet] seem to understand the appeal of rock climbing. From conversations with Hakim, it seems like there is a heavy skepticism about the invasion of this very Western outdoor activity into an Arab culture that is still quite traditional. As a result, both Hakim and Mohammad seem starved for partners and gear, and enthusiastic about climbing with and learning from foreigners. Monday afternoon I helped Hakim set a new boulder problem at his wall and introduced him to the art of campusing.

That night Naz and I were invited over for pizza and beer at the home of some of her expat friends. The pizza, from Papa Johns, tasted exactly like it does in Worcester and I couldn’t stop thinking about how surreal my trip to Amman had been so far – about the strange bubble of expat/American/rock climbing subculture in this Arab city. I felt like I had left Israel in so many way – the crazy religious politics were gone and there were no Jews in sight; staying in Abdoon felt like the opposite of Sde Boker – an upscale neighborhood in a big city with fancy import grocery stores and crowded trendy restaurants. But the funny thing was that I had left Israel for something that felt closer to my life in the U.S. than to the Arab world. I was spending all my time rock climbing [something I missed tremendously in Israel], hanging out with Americans and climbers, and now…eating Papa Johns?

It is a surreal experience to find yourself somewhere completely foreign, but in some ways, it is even more surreal to find yourself somewhere completely familiar…in a place that should feel foreign. I suppose this is globalization at its finest…or at its worst.


I was planning to head back to Israel on Tuesday, but then Hakim offered to take Naz and I to a new areas he’s developing near Fuhais, which is about 30 minutes from Amman. Feeling the tug of responsibility, I initially resisted, but then I thought about how empty campus would be [given the high holidays] and remembered a conversation I had with my advisor last week during which he told me he couldn’t possibly meet with me before October 4th. I pictured myself, alone in the desert, working on my laptop in my room in the guest house, wishing I’d gone climbing, and then decided to stay in Amman another day. It’s okay, I can admit it…I have little self-discipline these days when it comes to rock climbing.

Fuhais was awesome; these pictures really don’t do it justice. There is a huge gorge, dotted with limestone bands and freestanding boulders. Hakim said he and the other guys from Tropical Desert are basically the only climbers who go there. He’s put up a few single-pitch lines [some of which we did], but looking around you get the sense that he’s established maybe 1% of the potential lines. We even did an f.a. [well, sortof…in actuality, we scouted a new line on tr because we were worried about loose rock]. I spotted a layback/undercling line up the side of a big flake and it turned out to be really fun. I know it’s lame not to go ground-up, but it seemed like there was a real possibility that the whole flake might fall off, eliminating not only the hand holds but also all of the potential gear placements, so we opted for bad style/less death.

Sunday, September 13, 2009

Ein Ovdat

World's Largest Solar Energy Dish

The world's largest solar energy dish is located right here, at the Ben-Gurion National Solar Energy Center in Sde Boker.

In some bizarre way, typing that sentence makes me feel a little nostalgic for the Midwest, home of many of the world's largest [random] things, including, but by no means limited to:

The world's largest ball of twine [Darwin, Minnesota or Cawker City, Kansas depending on who you ask]
The world's largest catsup bottle [ Collinsville, Illinois]
The world's largest letter M [Platteville, Wisconsin]
The world's largest prairie dog [Oakley, Kansas] and
The world's largest cheeto [Algona, Iowa]

Thursday, September 10, 2009

Jordan Trip Report Part 3: Return

I took my time returning home on Monday. I left Amman pretty early, sharing a cab to the Allenby Bridge with Peter [who was headed to a conference in Israel]. Although I had heard horror stories about this crossing [from Jordan into the West Bank] I was curious to see what it was really like and I felt a little more at ease traveling with someone else.

Once we arrived there were standard security/visa checks but everyone was nice and courteous and helpful. Peter had some visa issues which required him to go up to the northern check point to cross, but I had no problems and just got on a bus to take me to the Israeli side of things. Over all the crossing was much easier, quicker, and more efficient than I had imagined. Granted I am a foreign passport-holder [as opposed to someone with a Palestinian Authority ID card], which means that I was put on a separate bus, and waited in separate security lines. All in all, it felt a lot like being at an airport…you put your bag on a carousel and [after waiting in a bunch of lines in a terminal] you pick it up to go through customs. The whole process took maybe an hour.

After I got through, I boarded a sherut to Jerusalem which dropped me off at the Damascus gate to the Old City. I met some other Americans en route and we spent most of the ride peering out the window at the Israeli settlements we passed by.

I met my friend Ari for lunch in the Old City. Ari and I have been friends since college, and have, over the years, managed to coincidentally cross paths in a number of random places across the globe. It’s a strange and very cool aspect of our friendship that we actually don’t put any conscious effort into, but somehow it continues to work out. For example, in addition to the obvious places like Grinnell [where we went to school] and Chicago [where he’s from] Ari and I have also hung out in Stockholm, had lunch in New York, spent New Year’s together in Paris, and randomly run into each other on La Rambla, in Barcelona. And now Jerusalem

Since he began Rabbinical school in the U.S., Ari has sortof become my go-to-guy for questions of Jewish law, protocol and identity. [Ari: What is Sukkot really about? Is there an underground rebellious scene in the Ultra-Orthodox community? Why can’t women wear pants? Where in Israel can I find some version of religious Judaism that isn’t Orthodox and/or crazy?]

Ari is temporarily living in Jerusalem [going to Yeshiva] and has quite a few insights into modern-day orthodoxy and Old City culture, which he seemed more than happy to share with me on Monday, over shakshuka. One of the things we talked about was Elul [happening right now] -- the month in the Jewish calendar that precedes Rosh Hashana [New Year’s / Judgement Day].

Elul, as I understand it, is a time of intense introspection and self-reflection – of realigning priorities and taking responsibility for past mistakes. This practice is undertaken in preparation for the high holidays, Rosh Hashanah and Yom Kippur. What’s interesting about being in a place like Jerusalem during Elul is that it’s on everyone’s mind…and so one’s personal process of introspection becomes a common topic of conversation…small talk, almost. Ari had a really nice way of explaining Elul: he said that it’s about returning to a better version of oneself.

I know this isn’t always the case, but it’s interesting that this year Elul overlaps almost exactly with Ramadan. Eid al-Fitr [the end of Ramadan] is two days after Rosh Hashana.


While in Jerusalem, I also met Ari’s fiancĂ©, Becca, who works for an organization that brings futures Jewish leaders into the West Bank to interact with various members of assorted Palestinian communities. Talking to her made me realize how complicated it is to get dressed in the morning if you live in Jerusalem. Well, let me clarify that…how complicated it can be, if you don’t want to identify completely with any particular cultural group.

Example #1] Becca is engaged to a guy in Yeshiva in the Old City. If she wants to go visit him there, she has to wear a skirt. However, she also works in the West Bank…where, she said, wearing a long skirt is an explicit political statement…and not a statement she wants to make. Becca said that [as a white, Jewish female] if she wears a long skirt at work, Palestinians will assume she’s a settler, which [for obvious reasons] could interfere with her work there. She said she feels like she has two outward identities…one for the Old City, and another for the West Bank.

Example #2] Monday morning my intention was to dress modestly; my planned itinerary for the day included Amman, the Allenby Bridge, a bus from Jericho to Jerusalem, and the Old City, all of which are modest-dress kind of places. I wore jeans, and a long sleeve cotton t-shirt underneath a tank top dress [the hem is just above my knee]. I also wore a hat because my hair was really dirty after 2 days of climbing. When Ari and I were walking around the Old City he made some comment about how people who saw us probably assumed we were married because of the way I was dressed – me covering my hair and wearing a dress. I was confused…wasn’t the observance of my dress negated by the fact that I was also wearing pants? Ari said no…that actually, my clothing was very edgy and hip in the Orthodox community…my hat and skirt signaling my observance; wearing jeans underneath was a statement that I disagree with the [hotly contested!] rabbinical stipulation that pants are men’s clothes. Completely unintentionally, I was apparently challenging the Orthodox status quo from within…and all just because I’d been too lazy to wash my hair that morning. Who knew?


On a completely separate note, one really crazy thing about my life here is the opportunity I have to interact with so many people who are doing really remarkable things. This is, to some degree, always the case when you travel or work abroad, but it seems exaggerated here…maybe just because the context is so extreme.

On Monday alone, I had significant interactions and fairly involved conversations with: a Middle Eastern military analyst at the American embassy in Amman; a political scientist studying Fatah, and the effectiveness of violent vs. non-violent political action; the brother of an aid worker in the occupied territories; an Orthodox Yeshiva student; an employee at an NGO that organizes interactions between future Jewish religious leaders and Palestinians; an IDF soldier who works as a tour guide, teaching other soldiers about Zionism, and a Jewish-Italian engineer who lives in Germany and is traveling in Israel.

The engineer and I had a long conversation on the bus about the optimistic hope one often has about a new place when first moving there, and the [almost] inevitable realization that in some cases it’s better to have your own culture’s crappy things [that, at least, you understand], as opposed to foreign crappy things [that you don’t]. The trade off of spending time abroad – interesting people, unfamiliar crap?

Wow, that’s kindof a bleak note to end on....much more so than I intended……..

Tuesday, September 8, 2009

Jordan Trip Report Part 2: Climbing in Wadi Rum

I left Peter’s place at 5:30 to take a cab to Naz’s apartment in Abdoon [the fancy/Western/wealthy/suburban-ish part of Amman.] We had some breakfast and then headed out to Kufranja in her embassy-supplied car. The drive north was beautiful, through the kind of landscape that, somehow, really does look biblical: rolling hills, small scattered villages, ancient olive groves, shepherds herding goats and sheep [yes, seriously]. After some Mazda off-roading and a semi-rugged approach, we finally reached a limestone cliff band with some bolted lines.

Biblical landscape.

We warmed up on an easy face climb, then did a couple of really fun, long moderate routes -- one with a super-awkward chimney at the top and one with a crazy sequence pulling out of a cave [that I swear something lived in]. Then we got on a harder climb that Naz had tried before, but not finished. There was a bit of excitement when I broke a hold off as I was about to clip the third bold, and took a pretty good fall, but Naz caught me and it was all good. We managed to get up to the chains, but not without a bit of whimpering on my part.

Naz cleaning the cave pitch.

Lest we forget we're in the Middle East.

All the routes we did were really fun and we lucked out, weather wise, as some unusual clouds kept the sun off us for a couple of hours. After a half-day the heat got to be too much [we had only planned to climb for the morning anyway], but we had such a great time [and were both psyched to finally have a climbing partner!] that we figured we should try to get in another day. We thought about coming back to Kufranja, but then Naz had the bright idea to drive South and check out some stuff at Wadi Rum. She’d been down there a few times and knew a Bedouin guy named Mohammed [go figure] who lives in the village, knows the area really well, and works as a climbing guide. We went back to Naz’s place, got in touch with him, and soon it was all set. Mohammed was actually pretty booked up for the day, but he agreed to take us out to one area in his jeep, drop us off, pick us up later and take us to another area. The only complication was that we had to be at his place early enough so that he could drive us out and be back in time to meet his clients. “Early enough” turned out to be 7:30…which, given that Wadi Rum is 3 or 3.5 hours from Amman, meant that we had to get a rather alpine start to the day, but we figured what the hell, it was going to be worth it.


An alpine start it was -- up at 3:30, then a drive down the desert highway, and a stunning arrival in Wadi Rum just after sunrise. There was a bit of a cluster-f*ck at the park entrance, since we arrived before the park was open, but we realized that Mohammed Hamad was a good name to throw around [somehow, everyone seemed to be his cousin] and we managed to make it to the village in time.

Wadi Rum is amazing -- an unbelievably vast area of enormous sandstone massifs separated by sand dunes. I’ve never seen anything like it; and I tried to take some pictures but they don’t really capture the immensity of the place.

We went to Mohammed’s place and he insisted on giving us tea, even though it’s Ramadam and he couldn’t drink any himself. Then we piled in his jeep and he drove us out and dropped us off in one of the more accessible areas. It was crazy…totally silent, no signs of other people, and a pretty foreboding landscape. And the climbing is intense…adventure-style: multi-pitch trad with marginal pro, route finding, loose and soft rock, unbelievable views.

Mohammed's Jeep.

I ended up leading a moderate corner beneath a fairly imposing chimney. It was a bit harder than either of us anticipated [5.8?] and I got a little sketched out in the middle, not so much because the climbing was hard, but because I was at least 2/3 of the way up before I had a piece that I felt really solid about. I managed to make it through the loose section without incident [placing some psychological pro that I figured would at least slow down a fall] and was pretty psyched to find bolts at the belay stance. Given the fact that I hadn’t been out in 2 months and didn’t lead much trad this season at all, I felt really good about it. I also lead a super-fun [mid-10ish] pocketed face climb that had bolts and “key holes” – holes drilled in the rock, and threaded with cord.

Naz leading on scary crumbly sandstone.

Me rapping off the corner pitch.

The imposing chimney above.

Mohammed’s brother picked us up and drove us back to the village the long way – so we could see a little more of the park. Since it was too hot by that time to do much climbing, we hung out in the rest house for a couple of hours and had some mezze (lunch). Later, Mohammed drove us out to another area where there are some [rare] bolted granite routes. I think he said that the face climb I did was a 6b [help, what is that in YDS?]; it was a super fun climb…but a pretty heady lead: super technical balancy climbing with slopey holds and smearing for feet…and some serious run-out at the top. I wouldn’t say it was my most stellar climbing performance [I got to the last bolt, realized that it was the last bolt, saw the chains were still about 30 feet away and just stayed there for a while, summoning the motivation to keep climbing] but I made it to the top and felt good about that.

The Bedouin village in Wadi Rum.

Village Street-scape.

Camping at the Rest House.

Naz rapping off a slabby granite face climb.

As the sun was beginning to set we walked back to the village through the sand dunes, past ornery camels and locals having Iftar. The drive back was uneventful and Naz and I made tentative plans to try to go back to Wadi Rum during Eid ul-Fitr [celebration of the end of Ramadan], when she has a few days off [this, coincidentally, happens to fall on Rosh Hashana this year…but personally, I can’t think of a better way to celebrate the new year than with a climbing trip to Wadi Rum!]


Sunset hike back to the village.

Camels on the edge of 'town.'