Sunday, October 2, 2011

Johnny Robocop Band

Intel Clubhouse at Princess Basma Youth Resource Center in Amman, Jordan.

Horse With No Name

Danny; Amman, Jordan

Yesterday was one of the most amazing days in my life.
We got up early to drive from Amman to Petra, which is about a 3 hr drive. You know it's a special place, when we take one of our only days off during an international tour to travel somewhere. Once outside Amman, the traffic thins and the landscape starts to become less populated.

By the time we started to get closer to our destination, even the desert changed and it started resembling what you might find on the lunar surface. Dark rocks dotted the brown shrub-less landscape and the colors changed with the position of the sun.

As we got close, the rock formations started to change and we started to descend on a long steep road similar to the one that led to the Dead Sea.
The surrounding town had built up around the canyon and tourism was what kept this town busy, day in and day out.

We bought our tickets to the area and they included a very short horse ride to the entrance of the canyon, about 300 meters. As soon as I heard the word horse, I got a knot in my stomach, because when I was a child, I had gotten knocked off my fathers shoulders by a horse I was petting. Another time, a policeman gave me some sugar cubes to feed his horse and the horse sneezed and slimed my little face and arms like a scene from Ghostbusters;) When we were in Jordan two weeks ago, I had a chance to ride a camel on a road that led to the Dead Sea and the site where St John baptized Jesus in the River Jordan. I think something changed when I jumped on that camel and though I had done for the great photo op, I was able to stay in the moment and be amazed that I was riding a camel in the Mide East:)
Meanwhile, back on the ranch; I got on my horse and I was being led down a gravel path by one of the guides.
It seemed like one of those pony rides I had when I was six. I thought, ok, I can handle this and it's going to be over in a few hundred feet. At the end of our path, the guides asked us if we wanted to take the horses on a 2 hour journey above the main canyon that led to the Petra temples. Before I could think, I heard myself saying yes, let's go for it and the rest of the guys were saying the same thing.

We walked the horses to another path and then up some steep rocks. Before we mounted I fed my horse some brush and let her drink some water out o my hand. There were three guides and four horses and when my guide saw me bonding with my horse, he asked me if I'd be ok to take him by myself. Again, without thinking, I said yes and started what would prove to be both a journey into the heart of Petra and myself.

Something inside me changed as I left the shadow of my old self behind and rode ahead of the other horses. I just pretended that I was in one of the many movies I had seen and rode as if I had always known how to ride. My horse, Suzanne, seemed to know the way and I only had to be firm with her when she would decide to stop and eat some tree brush. I figured if I let her stop and eat, she would like me, but if I let her stop too much, she would take advantage;)

This is the type of terrain we were riding over and sometimes I thought that my horse was going to slip off the rocks. I encouraged her when we would go up steep inclines and held her back when we would descend too fast over the rocks. The scenery was amazing and I was in awe, mouth open, most of the time. Many scenes from Raiders of the Lost Ark were filmed up here and being on a horse just fed the wonder and beauty of the moment.

We dismounted and climbed up some rocks, where our guides showed us some amazing views over the steep faced cliffs. We were looking down into the canyon where we could see the sacred temples carved into the stone.

We ran into some Bedouins and their herd of goats. There are still people who live in the hollowed out rock caves in these canyons.

After two hours of riding with our guides over this amazing landscape, we bid them farewell and thanked them for taking such good care of us.
They showed us a way to climb down into the canyon by foot and told us how we would return along the canyon floor after we saw the rock carved temples.
I had overcome something that day and I knew that it would change my life in many ways. I noticed it even changed my playing.
I said goodbye to my horse and we set off on the second part of our journey.