From Aqaba, Wadi Rum is a logical next stop because it’s only 60 km away and it being an outstanding desert landscape. Or in the case of my new friends Petra and Tommy, an overnight trip. I met them at the dive resort and have persuaded them to join me in this expedition. I’m really glad that they gave in because it would have been very expensive for me to do it alone, and it will not be as fun.
I booked with the Bedouin Whispers as recommended by the Jordan Jubilee website, a one-stop Jordan travel resource. The trip would have costs me 80 JOD and together we only have to pay 35JOD per person inclusive of the jeep tour, all meals, and sleep. The taxi costs 20 JOD from Aqaba and a tourist fee of 5 JOD. (1 JOD = 60 PHP = 1.45 USD)
It is possible to just go to the Wadi Rum village and find accommodation and tour but I didn’t know that. There is no shortage of guides, only tourists, same with Aqaba and most probably of whole of Jordan. So it’s a mystery why they deny visas! Anyway, I’m quite happy with our guide and would recommend him.
Bedouins are nomadic people who lives in the deserts and bred camels, goats, and sheep. They live in tents woven from goat’s hair that are extremely resistant to harsh desert environment yet easily dismantled when it’s time to move to a greener pasteur–literally.
I’m excited with this tour because we’re not only going to the protected area of Wadi Rum, but we are going to sleep in a Bedouin tent inside Wadi Rum. Most people stay in the village and do a Wadi Rum jeep tour. Wadi Rum incidentally has just been inscribed a Unesco Heritage Site on June 25, 2011, 2 days before I arrived.
Lawrence of Arabia
If you’ve not seen the film, you may at least have heard of T.E. Lawrence of Arabia, the British army officer and writer who made Wadi Rum famous. Although later it was found by modern historians that he never actually crossed Wadi Rum. Anyway, the film is set in Wadi Rum and this spring was named after Mr. Lawrence.
That is not the spring obviously, the spring is up there!
We have to climb! I really wanted to stay behind, but this is our first stop and I don’t know if the rest of the trip is all about climbing. I’m afraid that my trip is going to be a complete waste. I’m really scared, but I decided to do it. I have the right shoes for it after all–Columbia Techlite! They said this is the beginner’s trail. So if I don’t do this, I won’t be doing anything here. And so we climbed…
But before I had time to relax and enjoy my triumph, I was posed with another dilemma, going down. :S
I really couldn’t have made it without the help of Petra. She is an experienced climber and possibly could climbed this wearing stilettos. Tommy carried my precious D90 camera and you can see in the photo, Petra had my Eagle Creek Compass bag. Haha.
The rest of the day’s event is less dramatic but none the less stunning!
Burdah and Um Frouth Rock Bridge
Another climbing bit which would be awesome if I could do it, but I couldn’t. My legs wont take me. Petra and Tommy did. Petra is really quick with this and Aodah said that she climbed like a lizard. And that Tommy, a cow. I have great fear of slipping and dying from a fall.
This mountain is famous for its formation and Nabataen and Thamudic inscriptions and drawings. The Nabateans are ancient Arab people that lived in Petra and around Arabia. They are mentioned in the bible as people from Canaan. It’s surreal to be faced with something that was put there some 3000 years ago. It’s a freaking time machine!
After lunch and rest, Aodah dropped us in the middle of the desert and told us to take a scenic 5 km stroll. The scenery changes as you go, and walking through the valley between sheer sided mountains of sandstone and granite gave me a strange feeling of scuba diving on land.
It’s not the usual 5 km stroll in the park because it’s really hard to walk in the sand. We’ve to constantly stop and pour out sand from our shoes, me at least. I still have red sand in my shoe case which I purposely didn’t clean out.
And speaking of Red Sand, Wadi Rum is the set for the movie Red Planet–Mars. And just to add on its Hollywood resume, it is also the set for Transformers: Revenge of the Fallen.
Our final stop before we get to our tent is the sand dunes. We really tried to do as much as we can in one day. So we did a fun climb, a lot more difficult than the walk. It’s almost like this dream you have trying to run but can’t. I contemplated sliding down, but didn’t. Nobody dared me, I wouldn’t do it freely. Hehe.
Wadi Rum is an amazing place! It’s a very visual tour for me. I’ve never seen anything like it before and it blew me away.
At night we stayed in a Bedouin camp. They actually market it as getting a genuine Bedouin experience so when we arrived and found the camp empty, I was surprised. Where are the women and children? I was confused when Aodah said “goodbye, see you tomorrow” and left us to the care of his brother.
And so I found, this genuine experience is a simulation. The families now live in the village, and it make sense as there’s electricity, water, stores, and schools. Bedouins still bring their animals inside the protected area. Today there are about 37 Bedouin style camps inside the protected area which are like hotels but camps. Anyway, it’s still a wonderful experience, the night was warm enough to sleep outside under the million shooting stars.