Where We Be
|Wadi Rum, Jordan -- Camel Ride
|These goats thrive in the desert...and the goat cheese we ate in Jordan was fantastic
Certain things are de rigueur if you want to be
considered a respectable tourist (and who
doesn't?). Riding a camel through the desert is
one of them. Without question a camel ride is a
touristy thing to do; you certainly don't see
many Bedouins doing it: they prefer Jeeps. And
after jouncing around for an hour or so you'll
understand why: it's not all that comfortable.
But that's beside the point, isn't it? The point is,
it's romantic: camels are the ships of the desert,
and once upon a time before Jeeps they were
the only viable option for long-distance desert
travel. If you squint your eyes you can almost
imagine yourself on an ancient camel caravan
carrying silks and spices across the desert...
until a Jeep goes barreling past you, that is.
You may find, like us, that riding a camel is
something you only need to do once in your life.
If so, do it in a place like Wadi Rum on a camel
with good Silk Road pedigree. All kidding aside,
Wadi Rum is one of the most beautiful deserts
you'll ever see, and camels offer a quiet and
traditional way of experiencing it. Sheer-sided
mountains rise up dramatically from the desert
floor, giving you something cool to look at as
you sway from side to side. Since both legs on
the same side of a camel rise and fall together,
it makes for a rocking motion that really does
feel a bit like being on a ship in the desert.
|A solitary camel stands in front of a rock monolith. Each time we saw a camel with no rider,
the boy leading our camels would hiss and speak harshly in Arabic to keep it at a distance.
|Hold on tight to the pommel so you don't pitch forward as the camel kneels down (front legs first) to sit.
Our camels seem to be mugging for the camera now that the ride is done.
|Lawrence Spring is the endpoint for our camel ride. The view across the desert from here is one of the prettiest in Wadi Rum.
|Do you seen the green fig tree left of center? We hiked up to it for the view and to see
the spring where Lawrence of Arabia is said to have washed during the Arab revolt of 1916.
|After a short but steep hike we relaxed in the cool shade of this open-air tent and drank hot sweet tea
|While we relaxed, our guide (in black) and his friend showed us various items for purchase,
including Bedouin head scarfs, sandalwood, myrrh, and a mix of herbs for making sweet tea
|Enjoying being Bedouin for a day!
|The Desert Highway cuts a straight path south from Petra to Wadi Rum. You can see the mountains of Wadi Rum rising in the distance.
|This dramatic locale marks the beginning of our Wadi Rum adventures. That's a genuine goat-hair Bedouin tent in the foreground.
|We passed several Bedouin villages like this one along the Desert Highway. Small herds of goats are a frequent sight.
|Lovely Wadi Rum is sometimes called a desert of mountains. Some of
the sandstone and granite mountains rise as high as 5,500 ft (1,700 m).
|An hour of camel riding is just about perfect...enough to give you a feel for what it's like but not so long you can't walk when you get off
|Riding tall in the saddle on our ships of the desert (don't you just love mixed metaphors?)
|Squat shadows near midday