A day and night in Wadi Rum

Trip Start Sep 27, 2008
Trip End Oct 18, 2008

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Bedouin Roads

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Saturday, October 11, 2008

On October 10, we headed to Wadi Rum--leaving Petra early in the morning. We were to spend 2 days/nights in the desert, riding camels, 4-wheeling and hiking to enjoy the landscape. We began with 3 funny British tourists and 2 Bedouin guides.

I learned some things in Wadi Rum. Here they are in no particular order.

1) Riding a camel is no easy affair. They kneel down, and you climb up. And then they stand up--back end first, which sends you nearly over the front. And then up comes the front. Camels are tall--the ground is way down there. My camel, Lulu was a chatty five year old (Seriously, she grunted, hummed and snorted into the other camels' ears just about every minute of our time together).

2) A camel saddle is not comfortable. First of all--it begins with a piece of wood shaped like this: ^ to fit over the camel's hump. There are 2 horns to hold on to...and likely to keep you in the saddle and on the camel during the standing up/lying down process. Then a few pillows and blankets are strapped over the wooden ^. There are no stirrups. After about 20 minutes of legs dangling, you can no longer feel your legs. We learned by watching the Bedouin to put one leg up and over the camel's neck--almost side-saddle. This let the blood flow again. Alternating legs was a necessity.

3) Taking pictures from a moving camel is hit or miss. They plod along and it's a bumpy ride. Makes for interesting angles I suppose.

4) Walking in the sand is slow-going and tiring. Camels are smart to take their time--loping along in relative silence (well, not Lulu). It's actually quite peaceful. You can hear the desert silence, the breathing of the camel beneath you.

5) Climbing a sand dune is a serious work-out.

6) Wadi Rum has red sand. It's a beautiful copper color...and sparkles like snow in the sun.

7) Sand gets into everything. Inside your shoes, inside your socks, in your mouth, ears, nose, eyes, hair, food, tea, water, backpacks...and let's hope not too bad in the cameras. Two months later, and I'm still finding the red sand of Wadi Rum.

8) There are a million more stars in the desert. Holy cow at the stars!

9) I'm not a camping girl. Sleeping in a bedouin tent was an experience I'm glad to say I've done...once. The goat hair tents were beautiful and kept us warm in the desert's cold night air. Old mattresses that were like lawn furniture pads were laid out on rugs in the tents and we had an old duvet. Everything smelled old, unwashed. Bryan said it smelled like camels. Lulu didn't smell THAT bad. The old style (hole in the ground) toilets were in a small room built against the huge rock shielding camp. Four stalls and 3 sinks were lit by candles--and 2 small stained glass windows. Despite the sleeping and toilet experiences--we ate a wonderful meal (Hunger makes a good sauce as they say in Ireland), and I slept like a log. And I did enjoy sitting in the cold morning air watching the sun rise--and then brushing my teeth out in the wide open desert.

10) Sitting around a camp fire just before the sun comes up and enjoying a cup of tea and a laugh is a great way to start the day. The British folks slept near a Polish couple. Apparently, the Polish guy made a variety of noises in the night that kept a lot of people awake. Their wit and sarcasm had us all rolling--

"He sounded like a camel...like a dozen camels...like a pregnant camel plus birds".
"Maybe it's the wife?"
"I don't think she's the size to produce such a sound"

When the Polish guy came over to the camp fire, the British guy asked "How'd you sleep?"
The Polish guy, "Lovely".
"Incredible!" said the British guy.

We sat there laughing in the warmth of the sun and the heat of the fire--eating boiled eggs and drinking tea.

11) When it's time to go, it's time to go. We decided to forego another day/night in the desert and hopped on the truck when it left for the village. The Bedouin Roads guys were great about our sudden change in plans. We got in our car, joined now by the 3 Brits who needed a lift to Aqaba and headed out.
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