"Where you staying?" the Bedouin asked. "Why you not stay with me tonight - in my cave." He seemed enthusiastic. And we were looking for adventure.'
Thus begins Marguerite van Geldermalsen's story of how a New Zealand-born nurse became the wife of Mohammad Abdallah Othman, a Bedouin souvenir-seller of the Manaja(h) tribe, and lived with him - and their children - and a community of about one hundred families - in the ancient caves of Petra in Jordan. It was 1978 and she and a friend were travelling through the Middle East when Marguerite met the charismatic Mohammad and decided that he was the man for her. Their home was a lofty two thousand year old cave carved into the red rock of a hillside. She became the resident nurse and learned to live like the Bedouin: cooking over fires, hauling water on donkeys and drinking sweet black tea, and over the years she became as much of a curiosity as the cave-dwellers with tourists such as Mary Lovell and Frank McCourt encouraging her to tell this, her extraordinary story.