Henry Poon's Blog

Wadi Rum

From Petra, we went out to the desert, Wadi Rum. This is the same place where famous movies were filmed, like The Martian, and some of recent Star Wars reboots. But it’s probably best known for it’s connection to Lawrence of Arabia, who spent some time in the desert during the Arabian revolt against the Ottoman Empire during World War I.

Our tour took us through the desert in a pickup truck. All we had to do was sit in the back and admire the views. At first it was a little bit disorienting because I literally have never sat in the back of a pickup truck before. I’d seen it many times in movies and what not, but that was it – especially from news clips where insurgents in Iraq or Afghanistan would do it, so it was pretty hard to not compare my experience with that.

Along the way, we stopped by some old carvings on the rocks (so called petroglypths) from the Thamud, an ancient civilization that existed around 8th century BCE.

We hiked around the desert a little bit, and stayed in the desert for the sunset. I normally don’t pay attention to the sunset, but it was pretty amazing to see how fast the sun actually set. Once the sun touched the horizon, 30 seconds later, it was gone.

For dinner, the staff at the camp prepared a feast for us – zarb, they called it. It’s similar to the chicken/lamb on rice meals we had in the previous days, but this one was cooked underground inside a barrel. This was the best meal in Jordan by far!

That night, we stayed in a camp in the desert. The best part about it was being able to see stars without all the light pollution in the city, and hanging out with the rest of the tour group around a campfire.

The worst part of it was the actual camping. There was some running water, but no hot water. To make it worse, we had to leave the next morning at 04:00 because we had a couple hours drive back through the Israeli border in time before it closed (what kind of border crossing closes during the day?).

The desert was our last destination in Jordan, before we went back into Israel/Palestine (not to take sides here…), to visit the Dead Sea and Tel Aviv.

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