Photo. An old wise man in the desert of Dana told some amazing stories. He had a warm smile, and was a real nice person. His stories was real worth listening to. © Travel Explorations.
They Bedouins called me Dims because my original name is Stein, which means stone. That was a term the Bedouins were familiar with, especially since they live in a sandy and rocky landscape. Not forget the ancient city Petra, which is carved out from rocks.
According to the Bedouins, to understand Jordan you must be given the time and peace to clear your mind in desert of Wadi Rum. Here you have whole the time to think about life without being disturbed. It’s just as the Bedouin life is: take it easy! In Wadi Rum, Dana and other deserts, the times stand still! It was a relief for me coming here escaping from the stressing life the western part of the world. Here I could enjoy time together with a incredible nice people.
One of the best known groups from Jordan’s population is the Bedouins. They have a rich culture retained from ancient time. The Bedouins are known in Arabic, the Bedu, or “desert dwellers”. It’s a term generally applied to Arab nomadic pastoralist groups. They have learned to survive in an extreme climate and barren landscape. One big tribes is the Howeitat, who live in Wadi Araba, and Wadi Rum.
Most of Jordan’s Bedouin live in the vast wasteland that extends east from the Desert Highway. Their “houses” are black goat-hair tents. These are known as beit al-sha’ar, or “house of hair.” The lifestyle of many Bedouins is changed, but there are still some Bedouins wandering the desert in continuously searching for water and food for their flocks.
As I were told, the tribal structure of Arab society is most visible among the Bedouins, where the clan is at the centre of social life. Each Bedouin family has its own tent, a collection (hayy) of which constitutes a clan (qawm). A number of these clans make up a tribe, or qabila. I have the great pleasure to visit some of them during my journey in Jordan in July 2005.
It took some time before the Bedouins started to tell their favourite stories. After drinking some cups of tea and smoking some cigarettes, the conversations turned out to be lively, and so the Bedouins started to tell their own amazing stories. Some of the stories turned me really on. Here follows a quote of some of the stories I heard:
A man participated in a camel race with an old camel that people refused to feed. He won the race and everybody become surprised.
The Bedouin DNA
The mother camel’s mate was recognised by footprints, so they found out who was the father.
The guardian angel
It was in the middle of the night. The Bedouin man slept so well. Suddenly the camel started to touch him. He woke up and prevented his enemies to kill him.
A ride he never forgets
He rode along with a camel and fall in sleep. Dumped from a camel in the dark, He thought it was a porcupine, but it was a hyena. He held it in his ears, and rode on his back. Finally he got saved by a friend.
Why there are so few camels in the village?
As a joke the man in the Feynan village, near Dana desert, said that there were so few camels in the village because they have bought so many wives with them. The village is located near the ancient copper mines and some other interesting ancient sites.
Photos. Happy time with Bedouins. © Travel Explorations.
A man travelled his way from Wadi Araba. He settles down by a tribe and married a woman. He got five sons. When he died the uncles fought them and chased them away. They refused to feed them and that is a serious crime in Jordan. So the brothers went to the clan justice and claimed compensation.
The female tourist asked a local taxi driver to drive to the nearest W.C, but instead he took her all the way to the Read Sea. The driver could just say yes and no, so the woman shit in his car, and that was the end of the tour.
Way of socializing
Two families become in love with each other. Just like Venus and the Moon. Instead of seeing each other from the window, they decided to see each other from the top of their roof.
I was seriously warned about the Bedouin special kind of spirit. As my guide Ibrahim said: If you drink too much Bedouin Whiskey, you are going to see your mother in law naked. Sometimes hallucinations can cause the most awful visions.
Practical joke in the military
The officer in the military enjoyed giving his soldiers a hard time and was a real pain in the ass. The pure soldiers had marched full days for a long time. Sometimes they just had stood still out in the heat for a long time. Then one of the soldiers got real fed up with the officer, and decided to play him a practical joke.
He found a donkey outside the camp and in night he smuggled the animal in. So he leaded the donkey further to the officer’s tent. All soldiers stood up especially early this morning and waited eagerly to see what happened what happened in the tent. They got a good laugh for life when they observed the officer and donkey come out from the tent together, and they wondered what the officer and the donkey have been done in the tent this night. After that the officer become nicer and treated the soldiers with more respect.
When I and my guide Ibrahim walked the secret trail to the ancient city Petra, he told me about Bedouin Airline. Here you can get a one way ticket, he said, and with a special low fare. The flight doesn’t last for long either. I could easy understand what he meant. I don’t no what make me most sweating: was it the heat from the glowing sun, or balancing on the edge of the high cliffs? My guide encouraged me with saying: just do as the Bedouins: take it easy. No hurry, no worry. It seems as a good advice for me. One thing I was sure of: if I fall out of the rocky trail, there was no return ticket.
Who shall I marry?
There was once a young beautiful woman who would like to marry, and her father wanted to help her. He found three alternative husbands for her to choose between. One man was rich, and would probably get many wives. Another was handsome, and would probably have many mistresses. The third man was poor, and didn’t have many prosperities things to offer. Whom should the woman choose? She selected the poor man because he has so little of everything, and could offer more sincere love to her.
Dana is like “fire condition”, and Wadi Rum is like “air condition”. The winds are stronger there (told by my guide Abdulah)!
His mother breastfeeded him several times during the day until he become 9 years. Each day she went to school to breastfead her boy, and the day she finnished breastfeeding her boy didn`t care more about his mother. Actual this story is from the modern time.
Lawrence of Arabia
Lawrence he gave and he took. He helped the Arabian people at the same time he did something for himself and for the British Empire.
Photos. Bedouins invited me in their tents for tea and amazing stories. © Travel Explorations. My top guide Ibrahim said: Hate is just waste of life! I was impressed of his positive attitude and his way to get in good contact with people. Ibrahim`s excellent skills in communication started conversations about many things in the daily life with people we met on our way. Thanks to him I heard many interesting stories from the Bedouins in the Dana desert, which he translated for me. I also heard stories in Wadi Rum told by Bedouins. I can understand that the Bedouins` contribution to Jordan’s culture and heritage is of great importance. As I heard, due to their proud and loyalty; they are the backbone of the Kingdom.
Stein Morten Lund, 20 September 2005 Additional information
I will especially thank my excellent guide Ibrahim for translation of stories told by people we met on our way.
Read more about Bedouins in Jordan on our website Travel Explorations. Information about Jordan:
Jordan is officially called the Hashemite Kingdom of Jordan. It’s an Arab country in the Middle East. Jordan is bordered by Syria to the north, Iraq to the north-east, Saudi Arabia to the east and south, and Israel and the Israeli-occupied territories to the west. It shares with Israel and the Israeli-occupied territories the coastlines of the Dead Sea, and the Gulf of Aqaba with Israel, Saudi Arabia, and Egypt.