Friday, 22 April 2011

Chapter 50 The hottest day of the year

"Soooo easy... impossible to get lost... one hour maximum you'll be there" said the world's friendliest taxi driver as he dropped us off at Wadi Zarqa (Blue Valley).

Cut to three and a half hours later and we're hopelessly lost, wandering around in a dry riverbed, in the suffocating heat, with no water and wondering how it was that we had managed to screw this up.

Unhelpfully, the few people we did run into all said things along the lines of the following:

"Sooooooo easy...just keeep going... you'll see it for sure. Just on top of the next mountain."

On we soldiered. Parched, dehydrated and edging dangerously close to cranky as we continued to not 'see it for sure'.

The fact that one could drink one's own urine three times over had, at this point, started to be bandied around at regular intervals.

"It" was a cave used by the Natufian tribe 15,000 years ago. There were, we were told, many caves in the area.

"Impossible to miss."

"They're everywhere."

They're not.

'That bastard mountain' as it was now being referred to (really it was more of a hill) was all that stood between us and the cave.

Four hours after we left on our one hour journey we reached the top of the mountain (hill). As we clamored to the top with our last remaining ounces of energy it quickly became obvious that there was no cave.

No cave for us.

No 15,000 year old remnants of times gone by. No cool shelter from the sun, no high fiving and frolicking in the long grass.

Just near fainting on the ground, unlikely threats to write stern letters to the author of the article that led us here and desperately hopeful talk about 'getting a ride' back to the mouth of the valley.

We eventually picked ourselves back up. Emptied the sand from our shoes and started on our way back.

45 minutes later - not joking, 45 minutes - we had reached the main road. Do not ask me how this is possible, I was just happy to find myself in a car... with water... on my way back home.

Finally - our high five moment.

While we made a pact to forget about the cave or ever trying to get to it again I have to say that during this long, painful hike I was reminded yet again of the beauty of the Palestinian landscape.

It was worth it.

(Not doing it again ever though)


  1. Nice snaps! :)

    I always get that in Abu Dhabi, BTW. I know with certainty the words 'You can't miss it' from anyone in Abu Dhabi mean 'You are going to get so lost you won't even be able to spell lost by the time they find you.'

  2. Thanks! Gotta give credit to the scenery. Despite their proximity - Jordan, Lebanon and Palestine LOOK extremely different.

    Didn't think we'd make it at some points - never thought I'd be ready to drink pee either.