Allow me to set the scene for you:
“Petra by Night” is a thrice weekly event with performances by Bedouin musicians and storytellers held at the iconic Treasury in southern Jordan. Brown paper sacks with candles placed inside are used to illuminate the ancient ruins and create a stage area for the performers.
As Kristi and I hiked through the candle-lit canyon on the way to Petra, we lingered towards the back of the large group in order to have moments of peace by ourselves. As a result, we were the last to arrive. Mats were spread out around a rectangular stage area for spectators to sit on. When we arrived, all the mats were occupied, so they had us sit on the steps of the great building. We were essentially on display for everyone to see.
The below photo will give you an idea of what the event looks like, except that on the night of our visit there were a lot more people and the crowd extended around all three sides of the candles. (photo courtesy of Colby Brown)
As you can see, we were perched above the crowd, on display for everyone.
As we watched the gorgeous ceremony, I set up my flimsy travel tripod and took some photos. The tripod I was using magically telescoped from the size of a pencil to about 4-feet tall. It was super light-weight and functional, but it was about as sturdy as a newborn giraffe.
After performances by the musicians and storytellers, the emcee of the event then called for a two-minute moment of silence.
I was getting hot so I decided to take off my rain jacket.
I was slightly sweaty and my jacket clung to my skin.
I struggled to free myself from the jacket, but instead I became further entangled. The nylon jacket made ungodly noises in the quietness and drew the stares of many people.
Kristi glared at me disapprovingly.
In the deep silence, the jacket sounded like a loose tarp on a semi-truck flapping in the wind on a highway.
In my epic struggle with my rain jacket…
my foot slipped and accidentally bumped the camera…
which tumbled forward and scored a direct hit on one of the candle-sacks.
It extinguished the flame and sent up a plume of smoke.
And made a loud “BOOSH’ noise, which drew the stares of hundreds of people.
What happened next was nothing short of mortifying. Without thinking, I SHOUTED (spontaneously and appropriately I might add),
My F-Bomb boomed throughout the crowd and echoed in the narrow canyon.
It wafted out and into the ears of nearby Bedouin shepherds…
to the crowded streets of Cairo…
through Al-Queda terrorist camps…
and throughout the Middle East.
I felt the warm tingle of adrenaline course through my veins and felt the weighty stares of hundreds of people upon me.
Then, spontaneously and in unison with Kristi, I began to giggle uncontrollably. There was nothing else to do at that point.
Luckily, my camera was unharmed. But, to this day, I still have red sand in my camera that shows up on low-light photos and I am sure that there are people all around the world that still talk of the time that a guy dropped an F-Bomb during the moment of silence at Petra by Night.
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