Day 24: Wadi Rum
Wadi Rum Travel Blog› entry 44 of 54 › view all entries
We had to say goodbye to Alessandro last night. He was picked up at 6 in the morning and brought back to Rum village, from where he could take a but to Amman in order to catch his flight back home tonight.
I was sad to see him leave. Despite his limited English we had had such an incredible amount of fun with him these past 5 days. Really great company to have around.
We also had to say goodbye to Sabah. We were done with the Jeep and the walking part of the tour, so it was time for him to leave and go pick up his next group.
The two guys who had prepared dinner last night drove Alessandro to Rum, leaving us three, Derk, Will and myself, all alone in the camp.
Just when we started to wonder whether or not we would be picked up a guy in traditional Bedouin clothes walked into the camp: “Hi, I'm Sallah, I'll be your camel guide for today”
The best way to experience a desert is by camel, so we had arranged that we would return to Rum village by camel back.
Camel riding is a strange experience. It is much more bumpy than riding a horse for example and it takes a while to get used to the feeling of the motion and to be able to sit without thinking you're falling off all the time.
On top of that, these animals are quite high. You're sitting at least 2-2.5 metres above ground! Not recommended for people prone to suffer from vertigo!
Travel by camel is not fast. To travel from the camp to Rum village takes about half an hour by jeep, it took us nearly 5 hours to travel the same distance by camel. Sure, camels can run (they even have camel races in this country) but if you aren't in a hurry it is much better to leave the animals to walk in their own tempo, even is this means letting them stop every once in a while to nibble on some fresh flowers or a little bush.
Fortunately we had a full hour's tea break halfway.
But despite the pain camel riding is a surprisingly relaxing experience. Once you're used to the rocking tempo it is just so relaxing, I really loved to just sit there and soak up the fantastic desert atmosphere and the surroundings - I even closed my eyes at times to enjoy the silence and the gentle rocking.
Once we got to Rum village and had to walk on our own legs again it was a strange sensation. Not just the muscle aches, but I also felt as if I was falling over all the time, and the ground just seemed so unnaturally close.
Sallah invited us to his house for a tea and a hearty lunch (once again stunning us with the genuine and humble hospitality of these people)
After lunch we arranged for a taxi to take us to our next destination, Aqaba, the southernmost city in Jordan. This took several hours, because first we had to wait for our luggage to arrive from the camp (the guys who had done the barbecue last night were supposed to have taken care of our luggage, but they had left in the morning while we were still sleeping to drive Alessandro to Rum - slight miscommunication).
And of course, with 99% of the tourists in this country travelling in a tour group there was no onward transportation out of Wadi Rum and we had to arrange for a taxi to come from Aqaba to pick us up.
We spent several hours just sitting and waiting at the visitor's centre. A bit of a waste of the afternoon, but then again, after the camel trek I could barely walk any more, so I didn't mind lying down in the soft sand and closing my eyes for an hour or so.
The past three days had been the highlight of this trip. Or well, maybe not *the* highlight, as there have been many many highlights, but at least one of the highlights. Three days without a watch, without electricity, in the middle of nowhere, just absolutely terrific.