Camelphobia – #photographicmemory

In #photographicmemory, Features, HOME, LIFE by Sam Prance

#photographicmemory is a feature in which we ask someone to write about a nostalgic photo of themselves. It was created because sometimes you can find out more about a person by asking them to describe a photo than by asking them a ton of questions. It was also created because it’s nice to look at pretty photos.

10432543_10152855202564378_2427378249457719056_nI have an incredibly forgetful memory when it comes to holidays. Whether it’s the name of somewhere I’ve stayed or how old I was when I went somewhere – I always manage to forget something. Nevertheless with any trip, there are always a few aspects, both momentous and trivial, which manage to stay with me.

Last November I travelled to Jordan to see my girlfriend who is currently studying Arabic in the capital Amman. This was an important trip for us because I hadn’t seen Chloe for six weeks, and this visit turned out to be a great preparation for our following spell of 13 weeks apart. We decided to turn our short eight day reunion into a mini-holiday, so Chloe sorted out a trip to see some of Jordan’s highlights which, from walking the canyon-like passageway into Petra and indulging in shawarma tasting in Amman’s downtown, are all now likely contenders for the long term memory bank. 

Our first touristic stop, however, was the Dead Sea. It was here that I foolishly decided to taste some of the water to test out the salt content. Remember in primary school when the teacher would demonstrate the limits of solubility by pouring in so much salt into a glass of water that it would no longer dissolve? There was always one person stupid (or daring) enough to try it out. I was that person. After the initial shock of the water, we just floated around wondering what it would be like to swim across the sea over to Israel. Obviously it was completely impossible for a number of reasons, but one can dream. Fun fact here though, there’s this thing called ‘Type 1 Jerusalem syndrome’ where a visit to a spiritual place can suddenly and inexplicably trigger a belief that you’re the Messiah. How cool is that?

I digress. After a bone shattering ride on a camel with irritable bowels and sewage breath, we arrived at a Bedouin campsite and settled down for the night. The next day we visited the 4th Century city of Petra. If you’ve seen Indiana Jones and the Last Crusade, you may remember ‘the Siq’ which leads up to the famous Treasury. With equal excitement (but with fewer villains), we walked through an ancient city completely carved in rock. Even TV personality/idiot Karl Pilkington was mildly impressed by Petra, which is a big deal coming from a man who once described one of the Wonders of the World as ‘the Alright Wall of China’. Travelling around such an amazing place with someone you haven’t seen in a long time made the trip more than just a normal holiday, but rather an exciting opportunity to reconnect and make up for time apart.

This picture reminds me of the unforgiving pain of a ride on a vindictive camel, the tranquillity of the outdoors, Jordanian culture and food, and the rewards of managing a long distance relationship. If you haven’t already been to Jordan, get a ticket and go.

Avoid the camels though. I really hated the camels…

Anil Manji

Anil is a third year English Lit student at the University of Edinburgh. He has an obsession with puns and can often be found watching Friends or Lord of the Rings. In other Anil related info he loves hockey and once ran a marathon. He enjoys bringing up the latter in conversation and third-person auto-bios probably more than he should.

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