Fresh from the Red Sea, John and I headed back into the desert for another night. The visibility had cleared up completely overnight (swirling dust clouds had vanished), and the blue skies and red sand of Wadi Rum awaited us.
Before making our way to the campsite for the night, we were scheduled to take an afternoon Jeep tour. Our ‘Jeep’ turned out to be a Toyota pick up truck with cushions and a canopy. (Not exactly what I had expected.) Riding in the fresh breeze was probably more comfortable than being squished into a car in the heat, though, and we had much better views than if we’d been crammed into the backseat.
Seeing camels roaming wild in the desert made me delightfully happy. I’ve never seen a group of camels that wasn’t domesticated and wearing saddles, so I liked the thought that these camels were free to roam the beautiful desert sands as they see fit. Of course, its possible that they aren’t wild at all and are actually part of some breeding camp. This thought led to a lengthy discussion between John and I about whether or not people breed camels for meat, and if you could even eat camel meat (we later found out in Egypt that they do, and you can.) I prefer to believe they are living freely in the desert as nature intended. Our driver stopped at many different spots where we could climb up the rocks. After hiking around at Petra, we didn’t feel the need to climb up this mass of boulders.
The next stop was a huge sand dune, which we did climb up. The deep red sand was super fine and very soft.John went up the hill like a man…and rolled down it like a child. He was laughing so hard while rolling downhill that he kept getting sand in his mouth. The sand also collected in his hair and clothes and plastered to his sunscreened skin. As a consequence, we found this deep red sand in hotel rooms/beds/bathrooms for the next several days.
The guide told us these are ancient carvings, but they look more like recent graffiti to me. Camel-themed graffiti, but graffiti nonetheless.The desert is a very peaceful place.The rock bridge – another climbing spot. John went to the top, but I decided to stay at the bottom. I’m quite clumsy these days (I fell down the stairs in our hotel in Amman three times), so a steep rock face without steps seemed like a bad idea.These ruts are as close to a road as you get in the middle of the desert.As our tour of the desert concluded, we drove into camp for the night. Slightly more rustic than our camp near Little Petra, we still had a full bed in our tent and access to (mostly) functioning bathrooms, and the dining tent had a full fireplace and beautiful traditional decor. For dinner, the guides cooked chicken, potatoes and onions in a pit under the sand where it roasts like an oven. Delicious.We claimed a nice spot on the dunes to watch sunset over the desert. I’m not sure how many sunsets I’ve photographed in this past year, but I’m still not really sick of it. The view is always different.
The chilly winds kept us from enjoying too much time by the campfire in Wadi Rum, but we spent a good hour lounging on cushions, staring up at the star filled sky while sipping ‘bedouin whiskey’ (which is just super sweet sage tea) and listening to the bedouin guys play music. I’ve never seen such a clear night sky with so many stars.
The next morning, the guides drove us back into civilization ‘Jordan style’ – meaning eight people crammed into a car (four in the back seat, two in the passenger seat, and two in the driver seat.) It was our last day in Jordan, and we spent most of it driving back north. Perhaps a few stories about driving in Jordan soon…