I soon tired of his company and his alcohol-loosened behavior towards me, but he spotted some friends of his--five Bedouin men drinking and singing in a cave--and we joined in. I couldn't resist the siren call of the music.
A master oud player, Isa, explained to me that Bedouin-style oud is very similar to the Arabic-style and he demonstrated some basic techniques. Soon he was playing a popular old song and everyone was singing and clapping along.
Isa made up one or two verses about me, and we all smiled and laughed and danced, but through it all I couldn't quite stomach the sheer amount of liquor being consumed. ("Tea is Bedouin whiskey," is a common saying in Petra. I'm inclined to say that in Petra at least, whiskey is the Bedouin whiskey.)
As I left, Abdullah bade me a sloppy and prolonged goodbye, speckled with pleas to see me again and anger at my refusal. And though I yet again felt exhausted by the interaction, the joyous music and singing buoyed me through and the strain's of Isa's oud lingered with me.