NOTE: This blog appears out of sequence, because of Internet problems. Sherri Wood Emmons is now at home in Indianapolis, and will post a final reflection on her experiences in Jordan in the next day or so.

The Dead Sea, Jordan

Tonight’s blog will be short, because our hotel here has only one computer with Internet access, and there’s a line of people waiting.

This morning we left Petra to visit the great desert of Wadi Rum. This is where Lawrence of Arabia led the first revolt againt the Ottoman Empire. It’s also a drop-dead gorgeous spot. We watched a caravan of camels trek across the red sands and climbed rocky cliffs that jut straight up from the earth.

We left Wadi Rum and visited the port city of Aqaba, where terrorists fired rockets at American ships this past summer, only to kill several Jordanians who were working on the docks. The areas is known as the “Red Sea Riviera,” a beautiful place of palm trees and families picnicking by the sea. It’s also the only port and ocean access in Jordan, and the place where American warships dock.

“The incident” (as we call it here) of two nights ago has changed this country perceptably. Today, on the 100-kilometer or so drive from the Red Sea through the Jordan Valley to our hotel on the Dead Sea, we passed through no fewer than seven military checkpoints. Our driver’s credentials from the Jordanian Board of Tourism, which have whisked us through so many security checks in the last week, were of marginal influence today. Simply checking into the hotel was a time-consuming ordeal involving metal detectors, luggage checks, and a whole lot of waiting.

Althought it’s been a bit “inconvenient,” I am glad of the security, of the armed guards posted in the hotel drive and the cement barriers that were erected just yesterday in front of the hotel. And I am glad there are so many other people from around the world who are staying here (even though many of them are now waiting for this computer!) .

I’m glad to be here, and I’m glad so many others from so many countries are here. Jordan relies on tourism for its life-blood. If the tourists leave now, this country’s economy will be in real trouble.

I ask you again tonight to pray for the people of Jordan, thousands of whom took to the streets today in Ammon to protest the violence that has devastated their city. Please pray that the world community will not turn its attention too quickly from this holy land, and that the city of Amman and the peple of Jordan will feel the same warm embrace of care and concenr from the world that we have felt so deeply in the last few days.

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