A Travellerspoint blog

Food in the desert

Rum Village, Wadi Rum, Jordan

semi-overcast 13 °C

During a longer-than-expected hike through the desert in Jordan (not lost, just not quite sure where I was), I began to wonder about life in such an arid place and about possible food sources. There are people living out here - the Bedouin - desert people who live in goat-hair tents and have adapted to the climate that rules their life.

Traditionally, Bedouin people lived in nomadic tribes meaning that agriculture could not have been in practice. Instead, the Bedouin were herders, relying on their goats for meat and dairy produce. In addition to this, they cooked with ingredients that they traded with people from settled communities, such as rice, flour or sugar. The nomads were also known to hunt small animals like desert hare, lizards and locusts.

With no goats or locusts in sight, my mind turned to the sparse vegetation of the desert. Amid the rocky crags that pepper the otherwise endless expanse of wind and sand, I eventually stumbled upon a pleasant surprise. A small, wild watermelon was sitting on the sand, a bright green, lively contrast to the dry red dust that formed its unlikely habitat.

After this revelation I began to find other sources of life and possible sustenance. Small succulents, with thick, water storing leaves indicate that despite what it looks like on the surface, all the required elements for life can be found here. Tea is an important part in the Bedouin custom of welcoming guests and it is usually flavoured with herbs that can be found in the desert, such as sage or mint.

While I didn't manage to find either of those herbs, I did eventually come across a Bedouin goat-hair tent, complete with overpriced tea and tourist knick-knacks. I guess there's no stopping evolution.

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Posted by dzito15 08:20 Archived in Jordan

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