Being a New Zealander, the stark, barren landscapes of the Middle East (or at least, the five countries I have visited so far) are always startling. Nature doesn’t bestow its bounty on all the world.
I wrote this about Jordan at the time:
My overwhelming memory of Jordan is the landscape, the sand, and the dust, the dust devils, the endless dust. New Zealand is not only rich in soil, covering our bones, but rich in coverage as well – our land is draped in green, and beautifully adorned with rivers, beaches, snow, and trees. Jordan on the other hand feels like a land stripped bare, down to the skeleton at times. There seems to be nothing holding the mountains together, these mountains of dust and rock and scree. They appear to be in desperate need of soil, veins of water, and vegetation to pull them together. It was extraordinary and beautiful and yet painful to see.