One thing I love about travel is figuring out how things work. You are constantly exposed to new people, new ideas and new puzzles. After a while, you get a pretty good idea of what’s going on. But other times, you discover that you really are as clueless as you look.
Let me explain.
Last year while hiking down Wadi Dana we came across a flock of sheep, and were amused to see one of them standing in the only shade anywhere to be found – beside the shepherd’s donkey.
It was a warm day. For someone sporting a thick coat of wool, it had to be a lot warmer. It was pretty clear this was one clever sheep, getting out of the sun any way she could. Or so we thought.
Later we were telling the story to Jamal. He laughed, and then explained. The shepherd takes one special lamb and pairs it with the donkey. Eventually, as the lamb grows older, she bonds and gets to the point where she never leaves the donkey’s side. Then, the shepherd places a bell around the sheep’s neck. So when the shepherd moves the flock, the special sheep with the bell follows the donkey, and all the other sheep follow the bell. Meanwhile, the shepherd knows they are all following him, because he’s riding the donkey. Brilliant in its simplicity. And of course, if it hadn’t been for Jamal explaining what was really going on, we would have completely missed it.
One small lesson learned. So many more to come.