Last days in the middle east

Byzantium mosaic of the middle east, map includes Nile, Jerusalem, Jericho and Hebron, circa 2nd century

Byzantium mosaic of the middle east, map includes Nile, Jerusalem, Jericho and Hebron, circa 2nd century

the laden lorries frequenting the route. Within 30 minutes my panniers were filled with eggplant, garlic, onions, and tomatoes. Enough for a few days minus the water. The road flowed, then climbed around the sea and I looked into the distance for shade. I stopped near the police station and rested under a road sign, and was invited for tea and coffee with the chief of police. Police in Jordan are athletic and the chief even demonstrated this by carrying Gaby up the stairs into the main office. We joked for close to an hour about Americans and fast food, then hit the road again.

Roadside anise

Roadside anise

The Dead Sea is 400 meters (1,400 feet) below sea level, and as I left the sea and pedaled up to the city of Madaba, I climbed for close to 4 hours. My plan was to get some Bedouin clothes, see Moses’ burial site, then camp in some remote location before dark, but due to the endless climbing I ended up sleeping in the remote mountains, too tired to go on to the city.

Not so fun of a climb with 6 litters of water

Not so fun of a climb with 6 litters of water

The next day, upon entering Madaba, I asked a few locals about Bedouin shops, and met a nice man who was once a taxi driver in New York. Gazi was now baker, and owned a thriving  bakery in the city center He invited me to his house for lunch, introduced me to his family, offered me a shower, and gave me new clothes. He then gave me a trash bag and told me to “throw away” all my current clothes. Later his son took me to the local Bedouin shops, and taught me to make bread. After a long day they gave me a room in their house, and I slept well until the morning call to prayer at 5:30 am. If you wake up to the first call, you might as well get up because the second call is fifteen minutes later.

Gazi and Mohamad my Jordanian family in Madaba

Gazi and Mohamad my Jordanian family in Madaba

DCIM100GOPRO

Legendary bread skills

Makeshift roadside sandal repair thanks for the string Carolina

Makeshift roadside sandal repair thanks for the string Carolina

I ate breakfast with the family, filled my panniers with bread and jumped on Gaby for the long road to the Palestinian border. I stopped for lunch at Mt. Nebo, Moses’ burial site, then coasted down the mountain returning again to the Dead Sea. I met some really nice Saudis at Mt. Nebo and as I pedaled towards Palestine I contemplated making a left turn to Saudi Arabia, “In Shala” (if god allows) I said to myself and said good-bye to Jordan.

DCIM100GOPRO

It took me over 6 hours to cross into Palestine! Stranded between the two countries I sat in a room full of Palestinians and other Arabs, and watched them pray twice before being called to the interrogation room for the final time. Finally, at close to 9 pm, I was give back my passport and welcomed to the West Bank. It was dark and windy when I pedaled away from the border and I found a hidden nook behind a mound of dirt to pitch the tent.

DCIM100GOPRO

I have spent the first half of the day in Jericho, and will be heading to the western side of the Dead Sea to sleep tonight. I fly back to Bosnia on the 21st, and I will write again from Jerusalem, In Shala!

Here’s one from the archives:

13 thoughts on “Last days in the middle east

  1. Julian your story and blog have been absolutely amazing. Thanks for taking us along on your journey with your father.
    My nephew has made it to Peru now on his hand cycle journey to Patagonia. Here is his link. http://www.longroadsouth.com or on Facebook at The Long Road South. You two will have some incredible stories to tell.

    • Thanks for the info John,

      I hope to meet your nephew in the future, after meeting some really inspiring Brazilians, Latin and South America are in my future touring plans!

      Julian

  2. Thank you Julian. What an exciting journey. Are you sure you want to leave Jordan and Palestine.It looks that you are close to being adopted !!!

    • Hey Saba,

      Nice meeting you and glad that you found my website! I will really miss the middle east but plan on returning again for an extended stay. Please keep my email address handy and let me know when you get around to doing your first cycle tour!

      Julian

  3. Wow, Love the video on this one. You are like the Henry Kissinger of Adventure Cycling. The world needs more people like you. You bring peace and harmony wherever you go grasshopper.

  4. Julian Wong you are my hero!!! this is the most inspiring/fascinating blog ever!! take care man!! keep it going!!

    • Marcos!! Good to hear from you man!! It has been a while to say the least! Would you like to fly to Istanbul an join me for a few weeks in Turkey? We could smoke hookah and travel along the coast seeing ancient cities and swimming in the black sea. The offer stands my friend!

      • ahahaha!! yeah!! i would love too man, however i think i might be a little short on fundage right now, hahah!! maybe we’ll do some touring in the not so distant future though!!

      • Julian!! i wasnt thinking clearly when i said i couldnt meet you in Turkey..haha!! let me know when youre thinking of being there, i would love to have some hookah, cycling, black sea swimming adventures!! hahaha!!

      • Hey Mark,

        Sounds good! You will have to give me a week or two to figure things out over here. I will be meeting a few new friends in Montenegro and Albania so it is hard to put a date on my Istanbul arrival. My current guess though is about 6 weeks. Please contact me again before booking anything.
        Julian

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