Before the trip one of the things I was most excited about was not Petra; nor the Dead Sea but the desert at Wadi Rum where I wanted to live like the nomadic Bedouin tribes have for thousands of years. On arrival in Petra I saw a one day tour (including overnight stay) which would give me a good taste of the place and satisfy my desire to the most part. It was an early start (06:20) as the bus made its way to the centre where our tour group of six dumped our big backpacks and sat around drinking tea whilst waiting and waiting for something to happen.
Finally, at around 10am the 4WD hit the sand tracks and the building-site-town that is Wadi Rum was replaced by sandy desert and an awesome landscape. It wasn’t long till our first stop; a rock climb up to a fig tree next to some water known as Lawrence’s Spring which had a great view of the desert. As the only one climbing in sandals it wasn’t as easy as it could have been and I even had a slight slip on my descend whereby I grazed the back of my leg a bit.
Every time the the jeep stopped the six of us looked around wondering what we were stopping to see as it wasn’t always obvious. That wasn’t the case at the sand dunes where we walked up the soft red sand which took about 20 minutes to ascend and one minute to get down. Sandals wasn’t a good idea here either and it really did feel like my feet were on fire when coming down.
Anfaishiyya mountain (below) and its 2000 year old petroglyphs was next featuring some interesting inscriptions depicting camels, hunting warriors and various animals.
That was followed by Lawrence’s House (above right)or rather what was left of it. Lawrence of Arabia supposedly supposedly stayed here during the Desert Revolt and stored weapons there. Wadi Rum was used in the 1962 film adaptation as well as ‘Transformers: Revenge of the Fallen’ (where it represents Egypt) and the 2000 movie ‘Red Planet’ where the surface was used to depict the planet Mars.
The natural arch bridge (below) called Um Fruth rock was a highlight and the photos below say far more than any words can.
When I saw the tour pamphlet said we would have a few hours to tour the surrounding area of the Bedouin camp where we were staying I wasn’t filled with too much enthusiasm. However, it was fascinating to just wander around, climb the rocks, mess about with the wild camels (I never knew that they ate their poo. A fine example of instant recycling!) which I did with Swan (from Korea) and take a load of photos.
Our accommodation was a camp-bed in a tent but I never used it as I decided to sleep outside after our traditional barbecue dinner. Its not everyday you get the chance to sleep ‘under the stars’ in a desert is it?! To be honest, it sounds way better than the reality as the desert is a very cold, windy place at night and after seeing a few shooting stars I soon lost interest and pulled the blanket over my face for protection. After a long day I must have drifted off to sleep fairly quickly but all-in-all I didn’t sleep too well that night. Having said that I must have slept a bit as I did miss sunrise! The picture below right is of my sleeping headquarters.
That wasn’t quite the end of the adventure. I have done a camel ride (in Broome in Western Australia in 2001) before so didn’t feel the need to do it too much as its slow and not-so-comfortable. However, when we stopped at a shop back in Wadi Rum we saw a local boy with a camel and thought we might as well just offer a small price (1JD or $1.4 if you prefer) for a chance to take our photo’s of each other on his camel. Of course he agreed and even took us on a one-minute tour.