A Night in the Desert, Wadi Rum and Amman, Jordan
Late in the afternoon, we left Petra and drove into the spectacular desert scenery of Wadi Rum, where friendly Bedouin hosts greeted us at a comfortable camp beneath the towering rocks and cliffs. Ol and I were determined to get back in the good grace of our guide, after ‘getting lost’ in Petra. We spent the evening and night relaxing at the camp, and enjoying a delicious traditional desert meal.
I was surprised by the large size of the Bedouin camp. I was even more surprised by our private tent. It was like something from a movie! The walls of the tent were covered with tapestries and the floors were covered with beautiful hand woven rugs.
When we entered our tent, it was spacious and clean. Not a speck of sand could be found anywhere, even though we were in the desert. I was surprised to find that our tent had electricity and a full modern bathroom! Our tent was amazing! I was mad when I found out that Ol had not taken any photos of the inside. Maybe he was caught up in the romance.
The camp was large and our group was not the only group staying there. Around twenty guests gathered around the large fire pit enjoying hot sweet tea before we were summoned to dinner.
Unbeknownst to us, our dinner was being barbecued the traditional Bedouin way, buried under the sand in pits. The Bedouin cooks invited us to watch dinner being uncovered in the desert sand. On the menu was chicken and vegetables baked in clay pots and served buffet style.
After a delicious dinner we returned to our tent. Our romantic night lasted less than thirty minutes. The bad weather that our guide had predicted arrived in the form of a vicious sand storm. I thought that our tent was going to collapse on us with each gust of wind. Each time our roof would go up and down I would scream. I’m not sure what our neighbors thought was going on in our tent.
After several hours of this I finally put on my noise cancelling headphones and went to sleep, When we woke up in the morning it looked like a tornado had hit the camp. Furniture, roofing, and tent poles were blown about the area.
The storm was the main topic of conversation at breakfast. After breakfast, we climbed into jeeps for a tour of Wadi Rum. It was chilly, but the sun was shining. Ol and I climbed into the open back of a pick-up truck with the newlyweds from New York. We spent the morning exploring the spectacular desert and mountains.
The desert here, with its towering rust colored rocky ‘jebels” awed TE Lawrence on his visits during the Arab Revolt of 1917-18 and was later made famous in the film Lawrence of Arabia.
We stopped and climbed sand dunes and drove by a movie set where one of the Star Wars movies was filmed. This desert location was also used as the set of “The Martian” starring Matt Damon. The highlight of the tour was an hour long camel ride to another Bedouin camp.
After spending the morning in the desert, we drove back to Amman for a tour of the city. Amman is known as the ‘white city’ due to the sheer number of white limestone buildings. Amman’s rich history dates back millennia, with numerous excavations and renovations uncovering remains from the Neolithic period as well as the Hellenistic and late Roman to Arab Islamic Ages.
We toured the Citadel - the former home of the ancient Temple of Hercules, the Umayyad Palace, and a Byzantine Church. We also visited the 6000 seat Roman Theatre, which dates to the Roman period, when the city was known as Philadelphia.
We also visited the Amman Museum where we saw the only copper Dead Sea Scrolls. It was amazing to see these, especially since we had just seen many of the other scrolls at the Israel Museum in Jerusalem. Also on display at the Amman museum is the oldest known human sculpture in the world.
After the museum, we visited the main mosque of the city and watched the prayers being broadcast to all 3,000 mosques in the city. We behaved all day and were now back in the favor of our guide.
After one more night in Jordan we said goodbye to our guide and his amazing country. The next morning we drove to the airport for our flight to Egypt to continue our tour. There were six of us continuing on to Cairo. We were all on the same flight.
Continuing on to Egypt was Jean from Portland, who is from Missoula, Montana where I was born. She had also lived in Spokane, Washington a few miles from where I grew up. Jean reminded me of home and a few times, I could swear that we are related. Also, continuing on with us were the newlyweds from New York, John and Christina. And the final member of our group was Lillian, the retired pediatrician from Canada.
We were all excited about our next adventure in Egypt. For all of us, it was a bucket list trip. After we boarded the flight, I asked Ol if he had my cell phone. “Why would I have your cell phone?” He asked. “Because I can’t find it!” I replied.
When we landed in Egypt, Ol turned on his phone and checked the “Find My Iphone” app. My phone appeared on a map of the airport in Amman. I had left my phone at the gate as we were boarding the plane for Egypt! I couldn’t believe it! A part of me was once again lost in Jordan!