Thursday, 28 October 2010

Day 3 GARP Aerial Adventure

Today we were visited by a television production crew working for National Geographic, who are making a new documentary about Lawrence. The doc will focus on Lawrence’s role in developing a strategy for modern guerrilla warfare.

One of the excellent side benefits of this visit was that some of us, together with members of the film crew, were privileged to have the fantastic opportunity to fly in a Jordanian Airforce  helicopter from Ma’an right down through central Jordan along the line of the Hijaz railway.  
This incredible trip, was made possible by King Abdullah and Prince Mired, and enabled the lucky team members to view many of the main sites we have been working on for the past five years from the air, which provided a stunning perspective on all of these locations we have been walking, digging, measuring and recording during the times we have been here. Some of these views were hitherto unseen by any of us, and provide a superb data set which will facilitate further understanding of the work for years to come. 

Making the most of this extraordinary opportunity, we took hundreds of photographs, some of which are on the blog tonight, and also some video footage which, due to the nature of the internet connection here is impossible to load at present, but will appear on the blog once we are back in the UK. Together we hope these will provide an altogether different perspective on the work for us and others interested in the project, as well as aiding in the research itself. We now have aerial photographs of many of the sites we have discovered.

The aerial footage will enormously enhance the quality and value of the tv documentary, making it possible to explain to the general viewer the importance of space, distance and mobility in the guerrilla war in Southern Jordan.  We  would like to publicly express our huge thanks  to Captain Mohammed Jamel Qawaqzeh, Captain Issam Olimat and crewman Makram Hussein, the aircrew who were superb professionals and excellent hosts for our trip.

Another significant highlight of today was the wonderful meal which was served to us in the middle of the Desert at Tel El Shahm. This marvellous feast was made entirely by traditional methods with an oven in the sand, and the chicken cooked in eastern herbs and spices together with the accompaniments served to 45 people was an astonishing achievement given the harshness and heat of the desert environment. 

Again great thanks to our Jordanian friends and colleagues for enabling this meal and indeed the whole day, with special thanks to Mansour for being overall in charge and organising everything, Zeyad for his general organisation, Salah and Ahmed, and others, for their provision of the meal itself. 

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