Some things Jordan truly does better than America: hummus, in-restaurant babysitting, and carpooling, to name a few (I've seen three nuclear families and two sets of grandparents stuffed into a diesel Mercedes -- I bet that thing flies down steep inclines in neutral). But, having recently visited "the Grand Canyon of Jordan," Wadi Mujib, I can safely say America does big, deep, wide canyons better than Jordan.
Jordan, however, has cooler overlooks. American park services, ever skittish for fear of lawsuits, generally put up fences or railings to keep drunk, blind, or severely uncoordinated people from plummeting off a precipice to their various forms of misfortune. Being much more laid back about all that "safety" jive, all Jordan has between Samsung-toting Japanese tourists and a nasty human pinball ride to the rocky stream a couple thousand feet below is a 3 ft. tall wall some bored shepherds put up back in the 1980s to keep their sheep from dying gruesome and woolly deaths.
Wadi Mujib's got dogs though. "Awwwww," we cooed at the little ball of fluff pictured above with Halen. The attention must've really tickled her, because she squatted and took a whiz as we gawked. Charming.
"You want dog?" the Jordanian man selling really lame rocks in the parking lot asked. "How much?" my mom blabbed, violating the unspoken but widely-known rule that you never show interest in something that a guy standing behind a table full of really lame rocks is selling.
"20 dinar," he offered.
"How much is that?" Mom asked me under her breath.
"About 20 dinar," I explained.
"Is that a good deal?"
"Mom, we just watched the dog pee on it's own hind paws. Bad deal."
"But Savannah and Halen like it so much," she protested, watching the kids take turns stroking and nuzzling the puppy. I cringed. Needless to say, we made sure the kids thoroughly sanitized their hands and all other exposed body parts with disinfectant and baby wipies when they finished.
When we'd drunk in one last look at the mediocre Wadi Mujib and it's fluffy dogs, we made our way back to the car. "Take dog with you!" the man called, apparently desperate to rid himself of the puppy with the poor aim.
Your problem, pal. Welcome to parenthood, I thought as we eased back onto the highway. Cute, fluffy dog or no, Shannon would've killed me if I'd have brought home a puppy with stinky paws.