Hitchhiking on a Party Bus in Jordan


Leaving Petra, we joined a tour bus full of Jordanian women–heading 130 miles in the wrong direction. We don’t know why we did this, considering we weren’t exactly sure where they were going or when they would arrive to our intended destination, but we knew it was going to be an adventure. We hopped in, and were immediately offered zaatar and butter sandwiches and cups of tea. Then the music cranked up. “Annie! Mike!” “Come dance,” said the ladies in harmony. The bus was going 50 miles an hour on snaking roads, but they didn’t care. These seemingly conservative woman, cloaked in hijabs, were ready to cut loose and we weren’t about to hold them back. Chanting our names and spinning us round and round, we laughed until our cheeks hurt.

Little did we know the party was just getting started. We reached the Wadi Rum desert as the sun was setting over the red mountains, and we couldn’t understand why they would want to see this legendary landscape in the dark. Then we saw the strobe lights bouncing off the dunes. Two dance floors were set up, one for men and another for women. Our new friends ordered three hookahs for our table, further extending the invitation into their worlds. There wasn’t a single westerner at this party…and we felt so honored to have experienced the light and warm-hearted spirit of the Middle East. 

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