Monthly Archives: September 2010

A Guest of the Bedouins–Tips and Pics

Atayak's brother

“Want to help me find my camels?”

I was in Jordan—one of several Middle Eastern countries I visited this past summer—traveling on my own and loving it, but facing a few challenges due to the fact that it was the end of high season. While it’s nice to visit places that aren’t overrun with tourists, the down side is that you’re not always able to jump in on other travelers’ tours or to share transportation costs. There just aren’t that many options.

But as luck would have it, things just sort of fell into place—as they often do when I’m traveling. I was on the verge of committing to an expensive couple of days (I was going to experience Wadi Rum no matter what) when something wonderful happened…

One of the Bedouin guides I’d been talking, a man named Atayak, decided to invite me as his guest.

“I’m finished working for the season and I’m now officially on vacation. I just need to get back out into the desert and find my camels that I left there. Want to join me?” he asked. I would only need to pay for food, he said. He’s a camel racer, by the way.

Chicky Bus–The Ultimate Chicken Bus Adventure (conclusion)

Chicken Bus Epiphanies.....Cheesy smugglers, a Guatemalan marriage proposal and more misadventures--all part of the one and only Chicky Bus Story.

Checking things out
I stood to the side of the bus, waiting for the pre-border officials to check things out. They came off the bus carrying the large garbage bag I’d spotted, which appeared heavy judging from how they carried it. One of the men pulled a knife out his pocket and cut a slit in the bag and then reached in.

The suspense, meanwhile, was killing me and Krista. What illegal substance or product would someone have hidden inside a garbage bag? And why hide it in a garbage bag in the first place? I got as close to the officials as I could and eavesdropped as stealthily as possible.

“Hay queso al dentro,” the taller official said. There’s cheese inside.

I almost laughed, but didn’t. It was a serious moment, judging from the looks on the officials’ faces.

“This is silly,” I said, in Spanish, to the heavyset man/fellow passenger, who was wearing the Goofy t-shirt. “I can’t imagine why it would be illegal to cross the border with cheese!”

Chicky Bus–The Ultimate Chicken Bus Adventure (pt 1)

Back of chicken bus

Part 1

“I’m so glad we went for the better bus. How about you?” I asked Krista, relieved that we wouldn’t be on a chicken bus for our 8-hour ride to San Miguel, El Salvador.

“Absolutely. I’m sure it was worth the extra money we spent,” she said, sipping her café con leche and finishing her breakfast at the Café de la Revolución in Leon, Nicaragua, where we’d just spent the night.

The taxi pulled up, and we crammed our bags into the trunk and got inside with two other travelers. Minutes later, we were at the bus station, a place that appeared and felt chaotic to us but made sense to those who were part of the system. There were no signs or any indication of which bus was going where and when—just small signs in the front window of each bus, with the name of the destination. The challenge? Figuring out if the bus was coming or going.

“There’s your bus,” the taxi driver said, looking pleased that he’d spotted it so quickly in the madness of a busy weekday.

“That’s it?” I asked, incredulously. “It doesn’t look like it looked in the brochure back at the travel agency.” It was yellow and looked like an old school bus. (Note: It probably was one.)

Got a minute (OK–1.5 minutes!)? Then, check out this video I made of a parade at the Yogyakart[more]

Capture the Color Contest Entry: 5 Travel Photos from Off the Beaten Path

Capture the Color is a meme-style travel photography contest where bloggers are asked to share photo[more]

8 Ways An Indonesian Village Led Me to Live in the Moment

Staying in a village can really put you in the moment–for a multitude of reasons–and tha[more]

Trippy Travel Photo #20: Golden Chicken Fern–West Sumatra, Indonesia

Trippy Travel Photo #20 is of a ‘golden chicken fern’–aka, Cibotium Barometz–[more]

15 Highlights of Indonesia: Destinations and Experiences I Enjoyed Most

I’d love to share my ‘top 5′ destinations or highlights of my 8-week stay in Indon[more]