Ruins and wildlife: Jordan by Matthew Teller
“You see them?” Ahmed Shaalan, ranger at the Shaumari Wildlife Reserve, swung the safari jeep around and roared dust into pudding-bowl skies. His eyes were better than mine, but then I saw them too, beyond the jittery gazelles—Persian onager, a critically endangered subspecies of wild ass. For perhaps ten minutes we drove alongside the herd, all velvet flanks and don’t-care donkey eyes, before they bolted.
I must have been to Jordan 30 times. If that sounds like too much of a good thing, my defence rests on combining pleasure with work. When I wrote the first edition of the Rough Guide, Jordan was tangential, a difficult place you might dip into for a whiff of ancient history—Petra, and so forth—but not somewhere you could