Wadi Rum Desert, April 2012

My latest entry comes to you from the south of Jordan where I hired a Bedouin guide to show me around Wadi Rum desert.  The region was made famous by a British Colonel T.E. “Lawrence of Arabia” who fell in love with the area and fought alongside Arabs and Bedouin in the Arab Revolt to push back the Ottomans in the early 20th Century.  The landscape is spectacular with towers and domes of sheer granite and sandstone rock formations strewn among shifting sand dunes.  The cliff faces are etched and hollowed out by the winds that whistle through the valley.  Indeed some of the formations easily resemble Kata Tjuta or Uluru from the red centre of Australia.  Perhaps I could have imagined myself there if it weren’t for the pale pillars of rock stretching for 50km or more like sandstone pawns on a desert chessboard.  It is a harsh and rugged beauty that I came to appreciate by following in the footsteps of a Bedouin.  From a tented camp we explored the area on foot, by 4WD and atop a camel.  The sensitive nature of camel-riding injuries have, however, made me rethink a more extended camel trek over the Sahara desert I had planned for the future…

Luckily respite came in the form of a soak in the Red Sea – I have spent the last couple of days relaxing at the port of Aqaba along Jordan’s short coastline.  Scuba diving is acclaimed in the fertile currents of the Red Sea – and after several forays under the waves I can confirm that the coral is colourful, but that fish around the world are mostly the same… and just a little bit different.

And so I set my compass to the north again..

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