Friday, June 18, 2010

Wadi Rum, Canadians and the hottest Jeep ever (Tuesday, June 8)

After crossing from Egypt to Jordan on the ferry from Nuweiba, we made our way to Wadi Rum, a pristine nature reserve in the southwestern Jordan. This is the land of Lawrence of Arabia, home to his 7 Pillars of Wisdom, where he (supposedly) rallied the disparate Arab tribes in the beginning of the 20th century in the Arab Revolt. Wadi Rum has thrilled me ever since I saw Sean's pictures of the place in 2004 or some other such forever time ago, so I was pumped.

We got a rude awakening at Bait Ali, our luxury campsite just outside the reserve. We had been super excited to indulge in a night at a fancy camp, for the outrageous price of 30 JD a night (about $42, or TWICE what we normally pay). But! The price was 30 JD PER PERSON. Uh, $84 to camp! Wha?!

Aaaaand, then we got over it. We were in fucking Wadi Rum. And then we got over it even more, because we met the sweetest of brothers, Arun and Anup, traveling through the Middle East for a few weeks. We cajole them into sharing a 4WD trek with us in the morning, and after a few terrifyingly close encounters with a giant white spider with a red head, we go to bed.

In the morning, we lay eyes, for the first time, on our trusted steed. Please note the pop can sealing the gas tank.

And, we're off!

At Lawrence's castle. Basically his Hamptons house. I look little.

Choi sees sand dune. See Choi jump. See Arun laugh.

All over the desert are interesting Nabatean inscriptions and carvings of camel caravans and other such images of daily life. Near such inscriptions? Odd rock enclaves that are just the right size for two Canadians.

All of this was cool. The highlight of the trip, however, was definitely clambering up the giant, smooth stones that lead to a stunning rock bridge. Going up the rocks? Not so bad. Walking across the bridge? Not cool, guys, not cool.

Gabe, because he is crazy, decided to go higher up. On the recommendation of a barefoot Bedouin guide, he strips off his shoes and proceeds to make me very nervous. I employed the tactic learned on the Kalalau, and just stop looking at him.

But like it always is, the terror was worth it. We'll miss you, boys! And, of course, Canada, our home and native land! Til next time.

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