Since we’re all stuck at home right now and travel has ground to a halt, I thought I would share some of my old travel memories to provide something to look forward to, or at least to dream about.
I had the good fortune to visit Petra in mid-February 2020, right before the coronavirus hit. It was one of the most beautiful places I’ve ever seen, reminding me of a cross between Cappadocia, Machu Picchu, and the Wild West. I could write a book on it, but for now I’m just going to focus on the amazing animals of Petra.
In Petra the Bedouins are everywhere, riding around on donkeys and mules, yelling to each other, and offering rides to tourists, which makes it a very lively place and not like a dead city at all. The number of animals is astonishing: puppies, donkeys, camels, mules, and horses, many of which take shelter in the tombs. The puppies are adorable, but there are too many of them; they really should spay and neuter their animals. One Bedouin merchant with kohl-lined eyes saw me watching some puppies and asked if I wanted to bring one home for free. I said I wished I could!
Here are some of my favorite animal pics I took in Petra (and a few from other places in Jordan).
A donkey, a mule, and a dog stand watch in the Siq leading into Petra.
A ball of Petra puppies, keeping warm by huddling together.
A mother dog in the Siq
A horse sleeps in an ancient tomb.
There’s a dog sleeping in the space beneath the Silk Tomb.
A cat on the way up to the Monastery.
A dog keeping us company in the Siq.
Camels near the Treasury.
Not in Petra – a henna-dyed cat in Wadi Rum.
Camels in Wadi Rum.
Camels in Wadi Rum.
My traveling companion and I rented a motorbike in Koh Phangan, a beautiful island in the Gulf of Thailand. I mean that he rented the motorbike – I just held on for dear life. I got used to it after a while, and it was a good way to see the island, but what I really liked about it were the passengers it attracted. These were cute, friendly island dogs, and it looked like they were well taken care of. But the best thing about them is that they are scooter-trained. Yes, you read that right. It happened twice that, while our bike was stopped, a random dog would get on the platform and stand there, waiting for us to take him or her . . . somewhere. They know exactly where to stand for balance and are expert hitchhikers.
The first time was this dog, a beautiful white one. Since we were caught off guard, we eventually forced her to get off – but not before posing for a few pictures.
We thought it was a fluke, but later that day another dog got on our motorbike and did the same thing. This one was also much more stubborn, and we couldn’t have gotten her off without really pushing. So we started driving – very slowly – with her on it. She was really good about it too, staying completely still, tongue flapping in the breeze. Every once in a while we would stop and make it clear to her that she could get off. At one point we stopped next to another stray dog, thinking she would like company, but they started growling at each other so we hightailed it out of there. She got off to stretch her legs when my companion stopped to look at something, but hopped right back on when he mounted the bike. She finally left us for good when we got to the major town of Thongsala, where there was a pack of stray dogs to welcome her. We guess this is a normal way for them to get around the island – hitching a ride with humans!
There are lots of other friendly animals in Koh Phangan. Take, for example, the cat who joined us for dinner at our hotel.
And this lovely lizard.
And don’t forget the elephants!
No, this elephant does not have a disfigured trunk, it just looks that way.