After leaving Qasr Burka I get on my rented Hyundai to go back to civilization. My friend makes a sign to go straight and follow the road marked by other cars. Towards the sun. So after an hour of dust clouds , due to the fact that I mounted the small spare wheel so the sand slips into the space under the fender, I arrive on the paved road and reach Ar Ruwayshid, looking for a tire shop to repair the cutted wheel. The owner is sitting on an old chair watching an old soap-opera in a very old TV with faded green colors. I show him the tire: immediately he sets to work, patching it. But inside metal wires still come out, so I ask him if I’m safe, if “no problem?” and he assures me that no, “no problem”, I can arrive to Amman.
Then I take the road towards the capital, but there are a couple of stops before.
The first is Qasr Amra.
The word qasr means small palace and it’s one of the most visited desert castles by tourists.
Built around the eighth century, actually the complex included a castle. Today there are only its foundations and a series of rooms, probably used as a royal retreat. But inside there is something unbelievable: a series of frescoes in very good condition, infact the site is UNESCO world heritage.
The images are very bizarre: not only hunting scenes, but also the zodiac, non-local animals, and even a bear who plays guitar and naked women.
I suppose that caliphs didn’t go there only for hunting…
I leave the site and after a half hour of driving I reach Qasr Kharaneh.
The function of this place is still not clear. Infact, the structure does not assume a military use and the lack of nearby water sources and its distance from main routes do not even suggest it was a caravanserai. I visit the courtyard and the interior rooms located on different levels.
This man is the guardian:
And when I leave the “castle” I watch a spectacular show: the orange of the sunset strikes the baked sand-walls, creating this golden effect:
It’s time to go back to Amman. But after just ten minutes of driving on perfectly paved road I hear a burst, black smoke starts coming out from under the car that becomes unstable. I slow down and slowly I approach the edge. I already know what happened.
The same tire burst, it’s not reusable, definitely. And still I’ve not jack. My attempt to use the small valley of the kerbside is not fine: I try to put big rocks under the car to lift it, but it’s not enough, the wheel does not come out. I just have to ask for help.
Standing at the edge of the roadway, I move my hands on the few passing cars, all huge white suvs, to make them stop. 10 minutes pass, then 20. And other 20. After almost a hour I’m losing hope, evidently rich people are not very helpful. Suddenly a car slows down, approaching to me. Three completely white-dressed boys come out, smiling. In a basic english they ask me what happened to me, I explain the incident and I show them the wheel and, with gestures, I make them understand that I do not have the jack. At that moment I learnt how to say jack in English. But neither they have it.
So two of them help me lifting the car and the third removes the tire and slips the spare wheel. I thank them very much “thank you, shukran!”, They smile, tell me “welcome, welcome, afwan” and leave.
In the evening I go to the rental company where I make my complaints to the poor condition of tires to obtain the change of all 4. They do it. Obviously I omit my little trip into the desert…