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Into Jordan - Wadi Rum

JORDAN | Thursday, 29 May 2008 | Views [942]

The wide open red spaces of Wadi Rum

The wide open red spaces of Wadi Rum

After legging it up Mt Sinai it was great to chill out at our seaside camp at Nuweiba on the gulf of Aqaba the next day. The snorkelling was pretty nice with stacks of lionfish and morays hanging around. You know the diving is pretty second rate though when the only highlight of your dive is the dive master's ability to blow perfect bubble rings.

Jordan was our next stop. In order to get there without going through Israel, a ferry to Aqaba was our only choice. Notorious for running late, we sat on the wooden benches in the departure lounge (read: tin shed with no air con and splintered wooden benches) and hoped for the best. Unfortunately for us the ferry was well on its way to setting a new record as our 2pm departure ballooned out to 5pm, then 7pm, then 9pm. Finally we managed to get away over nine hours late and collapsed into bed at 3am in Aqaba!

Our trip into Wadi Rum the next day made up for the ferry though. Famous as the stomping ground of Lawrence of Arabia, the landscape is spectacular. Huge wind sculpted red sandstone escarpments rising out of the sandy wadi floor to a clear blue sky made for endless photo opportunities. And with hardly a tourist in sight, we had the place virtually to ourselves for the whole day! With our own real life Sheikh for a guide, we explored tight, windy canyons to find  2,000 year old Nabatean rock art, sipped super sweet herbal tea with the local Bedouins and raced down huge sand dunes. Climbing up onto the 20 metre high natural rock bridge was especially cool.

That night we camped out in the Wadi, dined on a bedouin hangi, were serenaded with Bedouin tunes and enticed the local desert foxes to our camp with our left overs. Even being being woken up by a symphony of snoring in the middle of the night had a silver lining. As Catherine and I relocated our matresses outside, we got to watch the landscape become illuminated as the moon rose into the clear night sky over the neighbouring escarpment.


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