After an exhausting day in Petra, we managed to get ourselves to Aqaba, where we were highly embarrassed by the fact that we couldn’t find any energy to go out with your truly cool hosts. Fortunately, we regained that energy the next day and had two awesome days so scarily close to Saudi Arabia (my short shorts would not have been appreciated those 15 km away…).
How was Aqaba? Awesome! Thanks to our wonderful host, we even had a glass-bottom boat ride, hit one of the nicest beaches, and, well, simply had a lovely time. You know that feeling, when you are going to your couchsurfer’s place, having noooo ideaaaa how your time in his/her place will be? Well, then I do hope you know the feeling when everything turns out to be even nicer than you could have imagined.
This is, basically, the theme of this pseudo-conclusion-like entry on the Middle East: kindness.
I was travelling in Israel, Palestine, and Jordan for three weeks, have couchsurfed (including staying with a friend’s…friend’s friends (!)) with eight different hosts, and have experienced so much kindness that I have no idea how this one single blog post can account for it. What do I want to account for exactly? It is an old Palestinian lady sharing some of her sweets with me on a bus, and her daughter explaining to me how to reach my meeting point building in Hebron. It is the kind people on the Jordanian border not asking for any money for my water and even adding a can of coke to go with it. It is a taxi driver who, after having stopped at his friend’s place on the way to Amman, brought a coffee for me as well. It is two security guards who, after having seen me sort of doing nothing on the street, offered me some water and coffee in their workplace. It is an Israeli guy who gave me a ride from Eilat to the other side of Israel and even stopping on the way for me to take some photos of the Dead Sea. Needless to say, it is all my hosts who were soooo incredibly nice to me and with whom we shared an insane amount of chats, food (oh that food!), and laughs.
I really don’t like summaries as short as one word – they have the tendency to oversimplify things and leave them appallingly incomplete. Yet, if someone did ask me to say one word that comes to mind when I remember my time during these travels, it would definitely be kindness.
As I like to say, I am young, so I have my excuse to be naïve and to be what people see as naïve sometimes, which is to simply trust people. As I also like to say, fuck it, I’d rather start by trusting people and then, who knows, get terribly disappointed with the Human Kind, instead of starting with that disappointment and mistrust (that I always find very strange to see in some young people). Couchsurfing, in addition to the “yay, I can stay in whatever places for free!” factor, does teach you about trust, and how that trust and kindness extend to all continents and to people you didn’t know a day ago.
In my first post about this trip, I wrote that so many things happened during it that I can’t even wrap my mind around it. Well, what I have blogged about in this final entry is definitely something I could and I did reflect on. No over-analysis needed here, just a great deal of genuine gratitude.