Day 12 — On the sand of Wadi Rum.


“Here, drink this. It’ll help,” our host said and handed me a steaming cup of tea.

In 110 degree weather, just one look at it made my throat close up in fear. “How,” I asked, “is this going to help exactly?” Skin sizzling and breathing with difficulty, I stared at the tray of cups with disgust.

“I’m a Bedouin, I know the tricks! If you drink something to get the temperature inside hotter than the temperature outside, the outside will feel nice and chilly. You’ll feel better in a few minutes,” he explained.

A gust of orange sand blew in front of our tent. I squinted my eyes and looked at him sideways. I made it 12,000 miles to the deserts of Jordan, I might as well try this, right? With hesitation, I picked the cup up from the table, trying to hold it without actually having to touch it. A quick sip here, a quick sip there, until I could see the bottom.

After spending the afternoon trapezing around the desert in pickup trucks and nearly getting thrown off a camel’s back (which is easier than you’d think), I was lazy and exhausted. In this oven-like heat, everything felt better when I just stayed put. Then, like magic, the tea worked its charms and my body temperature cooled back down to something closer to normal. I relaxed into the soothing relief.

“I’ll take ice over fire, dude,” my friend Carolina told me, as she fanned herself wildly.

“That’s what you say now,” I said. “But both are horrible in the moment. We always want the opposite of what we have. Boston winters ring a bell?"

Even here in Wadi Rum, we’d been ping-ponging from fire to ice and back again so quickly. That very morning, I’d woken to the shrill sound of the morning Islamic prayer and shivered under the mounds of blankets above me. My breath had floated in the air above me when I yawned. The fire pit at the center of our circle of sleeping bags had dimmed, and the sun was starting to peak its head over the horizon. I’d scooted closer to the next sleeping bag over from me in search of some body warmth, at least until the sun’s warmth made its way over the hills.

I realized that the Bedouin trick for the abrasive early morning temperature had been the same as that afternoon.

“Here, drink this. It’ll help,” he'd said and handed me a steaming cup of tea.

Thanks for reading Day 12 of #100daysofmicrostories. It's been fun recalling my time in Jordan! :-)