Thursday, March 3, 2011


Thursday, December 8th, 2005 Wadi Rum

We’d all agreed to have an extra adventure today before leaving for the airport in Amman. So it was 6 am wakeup calls and on the bus by 7 am. We were all wearing our dusty clothes from yesterday as we were headed for the Wadi Rum National Preserve in the desert. We would be exploring off road in open trucks!

It was an interesting one and half hour drive each way to reach our destination; we saw small towns, a villa belonging to royalty surrounded by a forest of trees and a lot of desert views. The forest of trees bespoke of $$$$$ in this country of brown earth for the amount of water it took to grow and preserve such a beautiful stand of trees.

As we passed through the higher elevations the weather was windy and cold but as we reached the lower planes of the desert the wind died down and it warmed up a bit. One of the last stretches of highway was one that has been designated as an emergency landing strip for airplanes. Very wide and straight with strict prohibition on stopping and/or parking just in case they need to use it for an airplane! We learned that the narrow gauge railroad that is used to haul phosphate to the port at Aquaba for shipping around the world is the width of two horses’ rumps? That’s per the guide. The highway was loaded with trucks hauling oil from Aquaba to Amman.

We finally arrived at Wadi Rum National Preserve. Our “jeeps” are 1970’s Toyota pickup trucks. We split up with four in each truck and started bouncing through the deep desert sands to see the desert of Lawrence of Arabia. We stopped at one dune and tried to slide down after climbing to the top; didn’t work very well, a piece of cardboard would have helped. The preserve has mountains made of soft sandstone with granite added by God to provide strength and color. The artist we’re told was the winds of time. Stunningly beautiful and always changing as the desert is truly a living creature.

Near the end of our drive we stopped at a canyon created by two mountains that came together to create a joint tight enough to prevent anyone from escaping when Lawrence of Arabia used the area for his prison around 1917. The creative Bedouins had a rest stop set up for us with hot tea and of course, opportunities to purchase some of the merchandise. Several of us purchased a full Arabic headdress that Bedouin women wear in public known as a burqa. It may make a great addition someday to a costume.

A long ride back to the hotel, hot showers, pack the bags and quick lunch; then we were ready for the three hour ride back to Amman and the airport for a flight to Cairo.

Arrived safely in Cairo at the hotel where we reclaimed our luggage and stayed for one night. Early the next morning we left on a ten hour flight home to the U.S.A.

We arrived home to a house full of company…our children from San Francisco…about 10 pm on Friday night. Saturday night was our annual Christmas Boat Parade party and we hosted about seventy-five people for a party!

How do you host a party the day after a trip? Lots of preplanning and work before you leave! By Sunday evening we both hit the hay early for a good and long night of sleep.

Hope you’ve enjoyed sharing our trip as much as I’ve enjoyed writing this journal. Posting it again has been a fun journey down memory lane; I'd forgotten how much fun we had on this trip. And, we've remained friends with several of our tour mates over the past six years since we traveled to Egypt and Jordan together.

Tomorrow I will begin a new adventure for you: a two month trip that we took in 2000 that will take us north from Paris into Belgium and then to Holland. We continue down through Germany and Austria before entering Italy. After several weeks in Italy we'll head back into the south of France and then dip into Spain...our first visit there! We complete the journey by traveling in France for another few weeks before arriving in Paris for our trip home.

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