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Married to a Bedouin

by Marguerite van Geldermalsen

I'm hoping to make it to the ancient city of Petra in Jordan on my year long trip through Europe, Turkey and Egypt; so when I came across this book I was anxious to read it. Marguerite van Geldermalsen was just another twenty-something backpacker from New Zealand traveling with a friend when she came to Petra. She really didn't even know much about Jordan or Petra but was looking for adventure. Mohammad Abdallah Othman was a souvenir-seller who convinced her to stay with him in his cave. He must have been quite the salesman.

They married, had 3 children and lived in that cave, carved out by the Nabataeans 2,000 years before. Her story is fascinating, although somewhat unsettling to me. Clearly, I have my limits. She had no electricity, no running water, no heat and especially, no privacy. Hiking down to the water supply with a donkey and loading up the jerry cans with water then trekking back to her cave just doesn't cut it for me. I must say, Mohammad definitely had charisma and initiative; but even so, I just don't get it. She did become a part of their tribe and it was a very close knit community. Furthermore, she had a level of independence the other women didn't seem to share, often sitting with the men while the women clustered together in a separate tent. Marguerite and Mohammad visited her family in New Zealand and stayed for several months; he even managed to get a job. But, they both realized that they missed the closeness of the extended family back in Jordan and the free and easy way of life, dropping in on each other, constantly surrounded by friends and family. So Petra is where they made their life.

This is a compelling story of converting to a completely different way of life, language and religion. Marguerite is an interesting person and her descriptions of the various characters she lived and worked with make for great reading. I think I'll be viewing Petra with a completely different viewpoint.

If you're thinking about going to Petra or just want to read a story that you will become completely immersed in, you can find
Married to a Bedouin at Amazon.

About the reviewer

After 5 years of planning and millions of hours on-line, Claire and her husband Chuck are traveling through Europe in a motorhome for one year. Follow their journey at European Adventures

Posted by Claire312 15:38

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Very nice review, Claire! And, I agree with you - not my type of living conditions but it seems to work for Marguerite.

ps: Happy to hear your got the prescriptions thing marked off your list. I'm not sure you can OD on cholesterol meds. Heeheehee!!!

by Isadora

Claire- I just got back from Petra a few months ago and I highly recommend that you make sure that you take the tour of "Petra by Night". If you don't know about it already, you get to go into the site as far as the Treasury while the Siq is all lit up by candles. Then you sit down in frnt of the Treasury and enjoy some mint tea and listen to a mini Bedouin concert. It was our first view of Petra and it was amazing!

by Heather

Thanks to both of you for your comments.

Heather, thanks for the tip about taking a tour of Petra by night. It sounds perfect.

by Claire312

What a great and fascinting adventure, I wish you a great luck and enjoyement I am sure that you will enjoy each moment of your trip, as you seem to be a very lovely couple.. Jordan contains many exciting sites and stories of the first man's history ! where are you now and what about this part of your dream ? I hope to hear from you soon ! take care of each other !
Greetings and best wishes from Mustafa !

by Mustafa

Just wanted to let you know we took your advice to did the Petra by Night tour. Amazing and all thanks to your suggestion! We really enjoyed it and appreciate your telling us about it.

by Claire312

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