Today saw us move from the rugged mountains of Petra, through the austere desert landscape of the Wadi Rum, to the seaside resort of Aqaba. Quite a set of transitions.
We began in the beautiful grounds of Beit Zaman as we boarded the bus for another day of exploring this southern desert of Jordan.
After an hour or so of driving we entered Wadi Rum and prepared to board the jeeps for adventures that required no walking – well, almost no walking.
After a while we stopped at a Bedouin camp where we were offered traditional hospitality, met some of the locals, and played a trick on the other tour members by having Clare arrive in full burka as the wife of a local Bedouin looking for some lost sheep.
It was a delight to see his face when I walked up to him and introduced myself in Arabic: Ana baba. Hiya binti. (I am the father. She is my daughter.) He spoke no English, but I had enough Arabic to negotiate a reasonable price (30 camels), much to the amusement of the Bedouin who enjoyed our sustained joke at the expense of our travel companions. To raise the stakes even further, our guide (Sam/Suliman) suddenly “noticed” that Clare was missing, and asked if anyone knew where she was. I replied in Arabic, Barafesh (I don’t know), which deepened the fun for both the Bedouin and the guide. When Clare finally removed her head covering, there was surprise and relief – and a sense of having been fooled.
We stopped at the hideaway where Lawrence of Arabia met with Arab leaders during WW1, and crossed the old Ottoman railway line he encouraged them to blow up repeatedly.
Finally we enjoyed a 4 jeep race back to the Visitor Centre, the last few minutes of which were captured on video.
After lunch at the Visitor Centre we got back on our bus for the shot trip to Aqaba, where we checked into our very comfortable Radisson Blu hotel resort.