This is a very popular sport among the Bedouin in the winter. In south Jordan the main racing centre is at Humeima, some thirty miles to the north of Wadi Rum, but at least one Friday morning a month there are likely to be races in Wadi Rum. Ask your guide about them if you are interested.
The riders are usually young boys, since they are much lighter. The races are run between the Visitors' Centre and Khazali, according to the distance.
The custom is for the supporters to tag along in cars and cheer the riders on. A camel that has won several races, or even one that is putting up a good performance, can be sold for high sums to buyers from Saudi Arabia and the Gulf.
There's a wicked game that the Bedouin play in the desert not just in Wadi Rum, but all over. It is just as absorbing as chess although the games don't go on for as long.
Called "sieja" it is played with what is handy; small stones, twigs, olive pits and even camel droppings! The "board" is laid out in the sand, and the game is to surround and remove the otherplayer's "men".
The goats in Wadi Rum
The goats in Wadi Rum wander around during the day in search of pasturage. It is usually the young women and the children who look after them, going with them in case of any trouble and bringing them back in the evening where they given food and water before being shut in for the night against predators (there are still wolves around!).
Most families possess a donkey, and it will go with the goats, carrying food and water for the girls or the children. It is also very useful coming back in the evening, to carry anybody who is sore footed.
The Bedouin women make cheese from the goats' milk. it is boiled and then strained and finally the resulting past is shaped into a round and left to dry. It can be kept for years like this if necessary. When it is to be used, it is soaked in hot water and softened into a paste again. It is usually used then to cook meat or chicken.
Bedouin immunization against scorpions
The mother of a friend told me how she protected her children against scorpion stings :
"I did it for all of my children. When the baby was very small, less than a week old, I took the poison sac from a scorpion (my husband found it for me) and crushed it into some oil. Then I rubbed the oil well into the baby, all over his body. I did that every day for a week. Sometimes the baby had a slight fever afterwards, but not always. And after that, for all his life a scorpion can't hurt him!"
"Does it work?" I asked my friend later. "Yes, maybe" he conceded. "I was climbing somewhere I shouldn't have been, and a scorpion got inside my shirt. It stung me perhaps three or four times. The bites swelled up a bit and turned red, but they were never worse than any mosquito bite and I didn't do anything to try to cure them. They went away in a few days. My father walloped me, though" he added reminiscently.
Posted by Lulu
Making Bedouin coffee
First you grill the beans and the cardamon. Then you grind them up in a pestle with a mortar. You pour hot water on them and reheat the mixture. Then - you only have to drink it! This coffee is pale in colour, almost the same colour as honey, it is "Arab" coffee, not Turkish. But it is very good!
Note the pestle, mortar and coffee pot in brass that are waiting for to be used. Many older men have a "full set" of coffee pots in brass, all sizes for all occasions. For the moment my friend contents himself with a medium to small pot - they are very expensive.
Traditionally the head of the family makes the coffee. He should be "clean in heart and body" or the coffee will not be good!
Posted by Lulu
Drinking camel milk
The first time I drank camel milk, it seemed thin and uninteresting, but I am getting used to it. Camel milk is supposed to be very healthy, possibly because there must be practically no fat content at all. One never hears of cream or butter from camel milk, although there are numerous stories of people living for weeks on nothing else.
For some reason it is absolutely delicious with tea. Incidentally the Bedouin are just as used to drinking tea with milk as are the British!
Winter camp for Beduin families
Here is an littel vilage with school & Mosque ,where the Local Beduin tribes spend the Winter months
The Desert Patrol that riding camels borned years ago to protect the Jordan borders and to take controls over beduins. Today it's very difficult to see them on camels because they use cars.
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