My annual summer preparation includes either finishing or removing the piles of Ideas from my desk. Jordan continues to inspire me. There are so many tales. I start with Mount Nebo.
When God told Moses “Behold you are about to sleep with your father,” Moses quickly finished writing down his book of laws. After finishing his final sermon to his people, God told him,
Cross on Mount Nebo
Moses Memorial Stone
Map of surrounding cities
“Ascend this mountain of Abarim, Mount Nebo which is in the land of Moab, opposite Jericho; and view the land of Canaan….and die on the mountain you ascend.” Deuteronomy 32:48-50
Depositing my poor sick friend at another host’s house, my Irish friend and I continued to Mount Nebo so, like Moses, she could view the entire Holy Land before she died.
I first ascended Mount Nebo several years ago. At that time, we simply walked up small road, past the boys selling chocolate and bottles of water, to the old Byzantine Church. Standing on the balcony built facing west, the sky was filled with dark grey clouds. As we looked across the Dead Sea to Jericho, a few clouds split open and the sun’s rays streamed through highlighting the small piece of earth causing such turmoil. It was a powerful moment. Both my husband and I felt it was a Divine experience.
This time I easily found my way by following the government signs posting the road to Mount Nebo. We parked in the nearly full lot outside the newly constructed gate.
While my friend gathered her things, I said “Salam” to the group of guards manning the Guard House and a Jordanian guide and walked through. I began taking panoramic photos of the entire valley. Behind me, footsteps crunched on the gravel.
I turned. It was a short, brown-uniformed security guard and the guide in a sparkling-white thobe. He was very tall and carried a long, goat-herding stick. They came up alongside me, a little too close.
“Madam you must buy a ticket.”
“Really? That is new. I apologize. How much is it?”
I rummaged through my bag. I only had twenties, fifties and hundreds. I offered my twenty. The man shook his head.
“You don’t have one JD?”
“Sorry, maybe my friend does.”
The man came closer. Too close. His closeness was not respectful. He pointed down the hill.
“You see the big tree? That is Mousa’s spring. There he took his stick and opened the rock. Sweet water comes from the spring. If you want later, I can take you.”
Mousa is Arabic for Moses. Very interesting. I had never been there before. At the end of the curvy road, cars were parked near the leafy tree. I could see flashes of color as children played in the stream. After seeing the church, we would go, but not with this man.
“No thank you. I am a very good driver. My Pajero can make it down the road.”
“Where are you from? UK?”
“Ahh America. I have always wanted an American wife,” he smiled. Again, he moved too quickly to intimate matters. It was aggressive.
“I am sure,” I said. “American wives are very popular. We are very independent and know how to make money.”
His eyes brightened with appreciation. “Yes, I am looking for an American wife.”
“So did my husband. And he got me.” I thought that would stop them.
The man in the thobe piped in.
“I have three wives. I can have one more wife. I would like an American wife.”
Time to teach them a lone woman was not an invitation.
“My husband has three wives too,” I told him. His eyes nearly popped out of his head. “Yes, my husband is Saudi. Right now he has three wives. Me and the other wives are tired. We want him to marry an American wife.”
“Your husband is from Saudi Arabia?” I nodded.
“I am first wife. I have given my husband three children. Two boys and a girl. The other wives are pretty, but they are, well, not so good like me. We are looking for a new wife.”
The man nodded in understanding and appreciation. The security guard was watching me.
“How can I get an American wife?” the guard asked. He stepped back a respectful distance.
“You must look on the internet. Lots of people find someone on the internet. There are many websites for good Muslim girls. Put up your photo and I am certain you will find someone here in Jordan.”
“I want an American wife. Can you help me find one?”
“No, no. American women are very particular who we marry. He must be a man with very high standing. He must have a good job. He must be able to buy a house. It is very difficult to find an American woman to come to live in Jordan.”
“I speak English. I have a good job.”
“It will be very hard for you to find an American woman. But maybe,” I shrugged my shoulders. “Try the internet.”
“Your daughter, how old is she?”
“Absolutely not. She is too young to be a wife. She is smart and must go to university. Besides we are very careful who our daughter will marry.”
“I am a good man.”
“I am certain you are. But we do not know you. You would have to fill out an application, tell us all about your family, your history, your job. Only the best man will marry our daughter.”
“I work for government. I have a salary.”
Too much. Time for the hammer.
“You are a security guard. My husband is a business man. He would never allow it. And you smoke. Look – your teeth are brown. I would never let my daughter marry a man who smokes. You will die early and leave your wife and children all alone. Who would take care of her? Absolutely not. My daughter will NOT marry a smoker.”
“Please help me find an American wife.”
“No. I am first wife. I know who is a good wife and who is a good husband. American women like men with shiny white teeth and who are healthy. Look at you.” I pointed to his large belly. “You must find someone who will take a man like you.”
Finally my friend arrived carrying two tickets.
I laid my right hand on my heart.
“Shukran. Masallamah my friends. I pray that Allah blesses you with a good wife.”
“Wives? What was that all about?”
“Laying down the law. Those men needed an ass-kicking.”
Enjoying Jordan? For more, click through to
All the amazing sites from the Bible and ancient history you can find in Jordan. Jordan – The Holy Land Museum
The Land of Shared Ancestors More About Moses’ family and exploring Petra
To Hire A Man or Not – Being assigned our Pajero at the Queen Alia Airport
Interested in Oman? Click through to Touring Oman – First Stop Fanja
Or riding the train to France? click through to Don’t Pick Me Up – Eurostar Evaesdropping
Or life on a small desert island? – Read A Day in the Life of Unexpected Coincidences