Hummus, Couscous and “Cheeeeeese!”

Christian Tour

There’s one on every tour, it seems: the guy who ends up in way too many of your photos. Not because he’s photogenic, but because he’s everywhere. We had that experience at Petra.

First, a little background: My husband and I had always dreamed of traveling to the Holy Land and finally got a chance to join Kay Arthur and her son David for a Christian tour with Precept Ministries. We opted to take the pre-tour extension to Jordan. What a great decision that was! Our tour started at an unbelievable underwater observatory in Eilat. Imagine scuba diving, only you don’t have to carry all that ridiculous gear. (Or get wet. Or even swim. That’s my kind of scuba diving.) Then we traveled to Aqaba, where were able to unwind and take in the beauty of the Red Sea. Standing there on the shore, imagining it parting in two—well, it’s hard to put into words.

But the destination at the top of my husband’s list was Petra. He’s an architect, and so seeing this massive carved structure was a bucket-list kind of experience. Sure, we’d visited other ancient buildings like the Roman Colosseum, but this wasn’t something someone built—it was carved, right out of the stone face. No room for mistakes there. You can’t exactly re-chisel a column that accidentally ends up being too skinny, right?

So when we arrived, he had nearly filled up our camera’s SD card before the Treasury even came into view for the rest of us on the tour. He had an amazing day. (We both did, though I wish I’d worn better shoes than my flats, which are comfy but not exactly appropriate for hikes in the desert.) When we got back to the hotel, however, and started scrolling through the photos, we kept running into a certain “friend” who had inserted himself into a hilarious number of scenes. What kind of friend? The four-legged, single-humped, everywhere-in-the-desert kind. There we were, ooh-ing and aah-ing over the wonder of Petra—the painstaking details, the rose-colored rock—and then: camel. And another camel. The same one with the matted cowlick and bright red saddle blanket. Over and over and over, getting in the way of our enthusiastic memory-making. The last time this kind of photo-intrusion happened, it was Uncle Hal at our wedding reception. (In fact, they both sort of had the same cowlick.)

Anyway, it cracked us up. “Um, you didn’t see the camel while you were taking those pictures?” I asked my husband.

“I was documenting one of the ancient wonders of the world,” he said. “I wasn’t focused on camels.”

So now, it turns out, we have an even richer memory. An amazing Christian travel experience at Petra. A beautiful gallery of photos. And our photo-invading camel mascot to introduce to the folks back home. Now…to come up with a name for him. Any suggestions?

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