Tuesday, July 12, 2011

Waterfalls, canyons, and theives

In the immediate weeks after graduating high school, I was able to join a group of friends on an extremely fun trip to southern Utah. We were able to stay in some condos in St. George and party around town. The main purpose of the trip, however, was to hike through the Narrows. Located in Zion's National Park, the Narrows is described as "one of the best, if not the best, hike in the National Park System." I found its reputation to be true as my friends and I journeyed through the canyon with hanging gardens and perpendicular walls. I have never forgotten that trip, and I plan to make other visits throughout my life.

Last weekend I discovered that the Zion Narrows are not alone in the world. Jordan is home to Wadi Mujib - a Narrows-esque canyon located on the banks of the Dead Sea. As the only Americans on the trip, Amanda, Natalie, and I enjoyed the company. We have become friends with a girl named Abeer who invited us to join her and her family/friends on the hike.

I don't mean to sound blasphemous, but I enjoyed this hike more than the Narrows. We walked upstream, the water sometimes reaching my thighs, and encountered several waterfalls that we had to scale. I don't remember Zion's having quite the adventurous taste to it. Looking up from the bottom of the Wadi Mujib canyon, I beheld beautiful rock formations and colors. The twisting of the canyon maintained the mystery of the hike, as only section was revealed at a time. After climbing up and over one obstacle, it was only a matter of minutes before reaching the next obstacle. Birds and bats flew over our heads while little sucker-fishes nibbled on my legs and toes.

About two hours into the hike, we reached the destination: an amazing waterfall. It was odd to see so much water in the middle of a desert - especially in water-poor Jordan. The canyon above seemed to spit the water into the pool beneath where hikers rested before returning to the entrance. I have since learned that Moses may have walked through this canyon, which made the place even more wondrous. It was great to spend time with so many Jordanians, and I'll never be able to repay Abeer and her family for providing me with this excellent experience.

"Brady, why don't you post any pictures of Wadi Mujib? It sounds incredible!" Yes, friends. It was incredible. Luckily I'll always have the mental images I took because my backpack was stolen. In it: my camera, wallet, passport, cell phone, and everything else essential to my identity and financial well-being.

We returned to the apartments after Wadi Mujib. It was still a perfect day: sitting in the shade, chatting in the courtyard, and simply enjoying ourselves. After an hour or so of good conversation, my afflicted bladder caused me to go inside to use the restroom. Yes, I left all my belongings in the courtyard in the care of my fellow Americans. Leaving the restroom, I found an intern inside and we began to chat. It was several minutes later when I realized that everyone had come inside. I quickly stepped outside to retrieve my items, but was too late. They had been snatched. Gone.

How could one be so stupid to leave all those things in a bag? You shouldn't "put your eggs in one basket," as it were. It's true - I usually had at least my cell phone and wallet on my person, and I never carried my passport around. My camera usually remained in the bag. Again, why was everything in there? As you recall, Wadi Mujib requires treading through a river. I had been soaked earlier, and my shorts were not yet dry. So I put everything in my bag. Well, it was someone's lucky day because instead of stealing a bag full of boring food items and clothes, they got my money, identity, and memories. While it's true most of my belongings can be replaced (though frustrating and time-consuming it may be), some cannot. I'll mostly miss the pictures I took, my little orange Portuguese dictionary that was with me everyday on my mission, and my favorite hat that I won in a lunch basketball tournament. Those can never be replaced.

I have been surprisingly calm about the whole thing. While I lost some material things, I haven't lost the most important things to me. Whoever took that bag probably has had a much sadder life than I have. Maybe they thought they would be happier having so many things without paying for them. This person has made my life much more complicated (being in the Middle East without ID or a passport? Seriously...), but everything will be fine.

Don't get me wrong. If I ever find out who stole my bag, I will gladly slug him right in the face. More than once.

Look up Wadi Mujib.

1 comment:

Barrett Family said...

I'm glad to know that although you're calm about the whole thing, you WOULD slug the guy in the face. I love that about you. Sorry it happened and hope you can get some ID and return to the US someday. We'd sure like to see you again.