Of Asses and Evil Men

8-1Through cultural misunderstandings I seem to have lost some ground with our Bedouin workers. Hopefully we can continue having a good working relationship during next week – the last week of excavation.

It all started about three days ago. A donkey – ill from eating trash – parked itself in front of the concrete bungalow we have been using to store our excavation gear. Over the course of several days we watched it suffer as its health deteriorated badly and we were afraid it would die there. Read the rest of this entry »

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7-2It’s been a while since my last posting. Things have been really picking up here. On a positive note, both Marita and Jeremy returned from the hospital. Jeremy is already back working in the field and Marita is well on her way to a full recovery. Everyone else seems to be in pretty good health.

July 4th came and went. Bill got a great price on some hamburger and we had a cookout on the rooftop of the Shokini (our residence). We even had sparklers to play with once evening set in! For us it was actually Canada Day (July 3rd) and the 4th of July rolled into one. There are more Canadians on this excavation than Americans, but no one seems to mind. Read the rest of this entry »

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Friends head home, but our work continues

6-1The last couple of days have been pretty trying for us. Three of us who were signed on for the first half of the expedition left for home the other day. Maggie, Tu Phong, and my roommate Eric left us.

To add to the sadness, two of us were hospitalized for stomach illness. Jeremy – one of my other roommates – was in the hospital, but seems to have recovered quite a bit. His girlfriend, Lindsey, stayed with him at the hospital for the last several days and nights. Marita, on the other hand, had to be evacuated via ambulance to Amman. We hear she is doing better there under the care of an American trained physician, but it will be a long recovery. Apparently she contracted some sort of stomach virus. When I last saw her she looked like “Death warmed over.” Read the rest of this entry »

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Heat Exhaustion and a Trip to Petra

5-1The heat here is brutal! By mid-afternoon at the dig site it has reached, on occasion, 48 degrees Celsius (I think that is 130 degrees Fahrenheit). On any given day we have about 5-7 people who can’t go to the field due to both heat exhaustion and hydration problems or from some sort of stomach illness. Luckily, I have remained fit this whole time. Part of the reason that I have been so fortunate is likely due to having lived through San Diego summers for most of my life. Most of the team is from Canada and I believe that for many this is their first time in such a warm climate.

We had another close call out in the field last week. I was working in my square when one of the square supervisors, who doubled as the expedition medic, came up to me for a second opinion on the health of one of the volunteers. Word had gotten around that prior to joining the Marines in my youth I had been a Navy Hospital Corpsman. She told me that the girl was lying down in the shade and was suffering from a pale complexion, nausea, and a weak pulse. She had also stopped sweating. Read the rest of this entry »

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A Trip to Wadi Rum

4-1Wadi Rum was amazing! A group of us got up early on Sunday morning (our weekends are Sunday and Monday) and met our taxi driver outside our building at the roundabout. Maggie really hooked us up with a tour agency that charged us 55 Dinar per person for the trip through Wadi Rum, and 10 Dinar per person each way to Wadi Rum. And they handled all of the arrangements. I’ll get the name of the agency and post it in my next installment.

We arrived at Wadi Rum around 9 am, where we met our tour agent and the guide who would lead our camels through the Wadi. I must say, riding a camel was not nearly as uncomfortable as I was expecting it to be. My roommate, Greg refused to come with us because he had a really bad experience on a camel in Syria. Apparently on his trip they traveled for over 25 kilometers at a gallop on an ill-cushioned saddle. According to him, he couldn’t walk for almost a week afterward. Our experience was the complete opposite. Although we were a little saddle-sore (the insides of our thighs being a little sensitive), it was actually quite pleasurable. Read the rest of this entry »

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Excavations on the “Mystery House” and the Strike

3-1This morning we got off to a late start. Everyone was up at 4 am and downstairs waiting for the bus by 4:30, but the bus didn’t arrive until 5 am. By the time we got on site and resumed excavating it was about 7:30.

Today’s excavation on the “mystery house” went extremely well. We exposed the western wall, which is still intact for the most part. My section of the square (the eastern wall) was somewhat more difficult to excavate. There is a lot of fill (crumbled rock and masonry, where the wall has collapsed) and so it was very time consuming to dig around the rocks enough to work them loose from the sand. Read the rest of this entry »

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