March 4-5, 2009
From Petra we headed south to the national park called Wadi Rum – a big desert not far from Aqaba. To get there we took a bus from Wadi Musa. It was a 2 hour ride starting bright and early at 6:30 AM.
Our plan was to just get to Wadi Rum and then figure things out – where to sleep, how to get around, etc. But on the way, our bus conductor offered us a pretty good deal: 30 JD each for a 24-hour tour including a 5-hour jeep ride around the desert, sleeping at a Bedouin-style camp, plus dinner and breakfast. We took his offer.
For this desert safari we were joined by 4 others. There was a couple, Fiona (Australian) and Scott (Kiwi), and there were two Koreans who met recently on their travels – Kyoung-Whan (guy) and Heywin (gal). Pnina and I spent most of our time with Fi and Scott (we actually met them once over dinner in Wadi Musa). Scott & Fi had been working in London for a few years and were on their way home (to Oz); they decided to take a few months and make their return into a big trip. They plan to reach Nepal not long after us. While in London, Fi worked at Burberry on their shoe line, and Scott worked in construction.
Fi and Scott with their “footy”:
Heywin (Kyong didn’t want to be photographed):
The tour was a lot of fun. It was partly the sights and partly the company.
First stop. We scrambled up this mountain-side to reach a spring near the top:
The spring was nothing special, but the view from above was great:
Second stop – sand dune (to the right):
It was a breathless 10 minutes to climb and less than 1 minute to descend, and it was so much fun that we had to do it twice:
Next stop – old paintings on mountain-side. They were pretty small and underwhelming:
Pnina with our guide:
They say Lawrence of Arabia lived here once. There’s not much to see now:
Watching a natural stone arch in the distance. Unfortunately we didn’t have time to reach it:
But we did have time to reach this other arch and climb it:
Final Stop. We weren’t really sure what the attraction was here – just another small dune. But the views were great and we had a blast jumping off the jeep:
After our 5 hour drive we ended up at the campsite. There were still a few hours of sunlight. We spent our time playing dice and passing the rugby ball around.
Playing dice at the campsite:
Watching the sun go down:
After sunset the temperatures dropped quickly. We all filed into one of the heated tents. That’s right, they had a fireplace with a chimney inside the tent! We had a traditional Bedouin meal – chicken, potatos, and onion cooked in an underground oven, served with pita and rice. I thought the food was so-so. Pnina says it’s crap – she’s had better Bedouin food before. Anyhow, the tea and the atmosphere were good.
All-in-all Wadi Rum was a very worthwhile stop. Even though we’d seen other desert landscapes, this one was impressive, unique and beautiful.
Around the World
The International Crimes Court (ICC) issued an arrest warrant for Bashir, the president of the Sudan, over crimes he committed in Darfur. Bashir rejected this warrant, claiming that this is a new form of colonialism. He also forced a number of NGO’s to leave the country.
Michael Jackson announced a new world tour. People are wondering if he still has the energy to deliver the kind of performance he did when he was younger (he is now 50).