Desert-haters, beware: Jordan is not the vacation destination for you. It seems like 90% of the country is vast, dry, uninhabited - and yet, for the most part, eerily beautiful - desert.
After our adventures in Petra, we were ready for some relaxation, and Wadi Rum (one of Jordan's most picturesque deserts, located about one hour south of Petra) was just the place for it. We arrived at our camp in early afternoon. (For those of you balking at the fact that Jake and I went camping, don't worry: the tents had beds and there was indoor plumbing!) It was a cool place, made even cooler by the fact that we had the whole place to ourselves for the night. After sitting around and enjoying the views for a few hours, we had a late lunch and then headed out in Talat's jeep for an off-road tour of the region.
Our camp in Wadi Rum
Even though April is high season here, we only encountered two or three other cars during our three-hour drive, which made the experience even more special. Jake's pictures don't quite capture just how quiet, beautiful, and surreal Wadi Rum really is, but they should give you some idea:
In addition to enjoying the meditative beauty of the desert, we also goofed around a little with Talat and Sami (our driver). Here's a few of my favorite pictures from the day:
We ended the trip by drinking some tea and watching the sunset atop some particularly red sand dunes in the middle of nowhere.
Back at the camp, we feasted on fresh local lamb and arabic salad with Talat and Sami, and spent the rest of the night relaxing around the camp fire and looking for shooting stars. The beds in our tent were very comfortable, although we would have slept better if it weren't for the howling of the wild dogs and the incessant "shrieking" of a local camel.
Yesterday, Sami drove us through Wadi Araba (another desert!) to the Dead Sea and on to Amman.
The shores of the Dead Sea - that white stuff is salt!
After four days of Middle Eastern buffet food, we were craving something a little different, and eventually settled on the Benihana at our hotel. Teppanyaki never tasted so good!
A few final observations on Jordan:
- Bedouin tea: The Bedouins (the local people that live in the desert in Southern Jordan) love to drink tea, and boy do they like it sweet. When Talat makes tea, he adds about two-and-a-half HANDFULS of sugar to a small pot! It tastes good, but I think I developed a few cavities and an increased risk of Type II diabetes over the past few days. Talat told us that his father drinks about forty cups of the stuff every day; he must be on a constant sugar high!
Talat making Bedouin tea
- Camels: We've learned a lot about camels during our time in Jordan (and Dubai). They are really tall, they can run almost as fast as a horse, their "bark" is one of the most obnoxious noises ever known to man, and apparently they mate sitting down (although voyeurs would struggle to witness this because camels are very shy and don't like to "be romantic" in front of an audience). I'll miss the camels...but luckily for me, Jake does a pretty decent camel impression! (PS: I wanted to post a funny camel video that we made in Petra here, but we don´t have the bandwidth to upload it right now. It will be posted soon though, so look out for it!)