One of the inspiring things to do while visiting Jordan is to spend a day or three out in the desert in Wadi Rum. Basically, it is a comglomoration of various desert scapes that are elevated even more so during sunrise and sunset. It was so awe inspiring that Lawrence of Arabia was partially filmed here. I guess that also relates to the fact that Mr. Lawrence also walked through the place and had a spring and his house named after him. I am very unfamiliar with Mr. Lawrence but Dan wrote a comment about him earlier on the blog so I linked it here.
Nowadays, for tourists it is a quick stop for some desert life. I had passed on some of the Sinai desert stuff basically because I have been out in the desert for the last three months and am pretty off about it. Wadi Rum had an aire about it so I figured I would check it out.
The morning that I was going to catch a bus out to the little village of Wadi Rum, I ran into a couple from China who were on a three week vacation. They asked if I wanted to split a cost for a cab and to share a tour. I was originally planning on doing an overnighter in the village and a full day out in the desert, but secretly I preferred not to as I really only get full enjoyment of sleeping under the stars in the desert when I am surrounded by 30 Muslim Sudanese men (see Sudan posts before making any weird assumptions of me.) They had already worked out a decent price on the taxi so adding me made the price relatively close to what the bus was going to cost, and I wouldn’t have to wait an hour or two. Nice.
The couple were on a three week vacation through the Middle East. The wife/girlfriend? worked in “a regular company in China” and the husband/boyfriend? worked in telecommunications and just finished a stint in Iraq (North Iraq is fine, Baghdad is fucked up. New Iraq Government is the key problem not the US. Also fucked up.) Her name was Lilly and his I forgot, bad with guys names.
We ended up working out a deal and bypassing the usual government regulated tour operators and ended up going with his “cousin” for $50D versus $65D. The tour was basically a 6 hour drive through the alternating desert landscapes stopping at all the highlights finishing with a sunset. Red sands, rock bridges, Lawrence of Arabia stuff, inscriptions and rock art, pretty much rounded up the trip. This was all wrapped up with a sort of argument between me and the driver. He thought he was going to be the smooth Ali Baba and park behind a mountain so that he could leave as soon as the sun set over the mountain. I knew exactly what he was doing and waited to see if he was going to move us or take us back. When he said that was it, I pointed out the definition of a sunset, where we were supposed to be on the map, and the slashing of his payment by half if he didn’t fulfil our agreement. We quickly were taken to the sunset spot to view the setting of the sun.
After our run through the desert, I opted to go back with them to Aqaba as the option of sleeping in the desert or in a hotel at a beach resort town wasn’t a hard decision for me.
Tags: China, desert, Jordan, Travel