Wadi Rum, Jordan, Asia
Today went so much smoother than I had expected, it was really nice surprise! I left my hostel at 9:45am, got a taxi straight away and arrived at the Israel – Jordan border within about five minutes. I paid my exit fee of 107 shekels (about £20), and walked through the Israeli border without even one question! Everyone else said that they had a ridiculous hassle entering and leaving Israel, but I didn’t get asked one question on either part of the journey.
I walked across the border into Jordan, got my free visa (which other people later told me they had to pay 20 Dinar (about £20) for, and then walked right into Jordan without a question either. I must just have a very trust-worthy face 🙂
I found a taxi right away that was going to bring me to Aqaba center where I was then going to wait for a bus to get up to Wadi Rum. Instead, the driver agreed to bring me all the way to Wadi Rum for 30 Dinar, instead of the normal 39 (which was posted at the border crossing). He was a really nice guy named Ibraham. He used to be an English teacher but he quit that to become a taxi driver/guide. He took me through Aqaba and a detour through a freight highway that was built through the mountains so I could see something besides just highway. This is a beautiful country!
I went from the reefs at South Beach, through the jagged mountains outside of Aqaba, to the desert of Wadi Rum, all within an hour. Ibraham dropped me off at the office for Bedoin Expedition Camp and I met Eghab who manages the camp. I hung out at the office for a couple of hours, grabbed some lunch and used their free wifi, considering I knew I wouldn’t have any at the camp for the next two days.
Eventually I was driven out to the camp which was about 15 minutes outside the village, in the middle of the desert. There weren’t really even dirt roads we used to get here. They pretty much just knew the general direction of the camp and headed that way. It was totally bizarre. The driver had also picked up a couple and their baby on the way out of Wadi Rum Village, and I was really impressed that the baby never woke up on the whole ride into the desert. It was not a smooth ride. The scenery was pretty amazing though.
I got to the camp, dropped off my bags in the dining room/lounge area, and then went out for a walk for a couple hours. It is possibly the quietest place I have ever been. I climbed up on top of some rocks and sat there for a minute and the only thing I could hear was my heartbeat. It was really strange, but awesome. I got back to the camp and chilled out for a while and met a few other travellers who had arrived today as well. A bunch of us climbed up onto the top of a mound to see the sunset which was pretty cool, and then came back down for dinner. They had cooked our dinner in the ground, which I guess is a tradition for Bedoins. We saw them dig up the food (which was all contained in a cylinder, not in dirt) and then enjoyed a pretty great feast.
As nice as this place is, I don’t really want to stay here for another whole day and night, so I’m going to Petra tomorrow a day early. There is a lot more to see there than there is here, so I’m going to head there in the morning. There are two Aussie girls (Joey and Liz) heading the same way so we’re all going to share a taxi from Wadi Rum Village to Petra. At least this way we don’t have to worry about catching the one bus in the morning, and it will drop us off at our hostels. That seems a much better option to me.
So I took a few pictures tonight of the sky, which is incredibly clear. It reminds me of the sky when I was at Ayers Rock. We are so far removed from any cities, that there is no ambient light so every star is amazingly bright. Unfortunately my pictures didn’t come out as well as I had hoped, but that’s ok. I enjoyed sitting out in the desert staring at the stars for a bit. I don’t think I’ll forget that for a while.