The Red Sanded Desert – Wadi Rum

After getting back from a week of traveling Friday evening, I somehow managed to plow through handwriting and then typing an 1800 word research paper in Arabic, going to an engagement party and catching up on my regular homework assignments. I am now in the middle of my last week in Jordan, studying for my final exams and reflecting on all my great memories.

I have a few days left here in Amman, but I think I’ve made up my mind about the best thing that you can see in this entire country, and that’s Wadi Rum.

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Three of my friends here and I decided to ditch our planned group trip to Dhana Reserve, get in touch with a bedouin living in Rum village and instead spend two nights in the magical red desert that is usually referred to as the set and inspiration for the movie “Lawrence of Arabia” and the very fictional book “7 Pillars of Wisdom” by T.E. Lawrence.

Wadi Rum is absolutely the biggest must of Jordan because it is incredibly fun while being awesomely serene and beautiful. The teenaged son of our bedouin contact led us around for several hours a day in a jeep tour, pointing us up mountains and saying “hike this trail all the way and you will find Nabatean inscriptions,” “that tree you can see way up the mountain is Lawrence’s spring! climb up!” and so on and so forth. We saw various sites that get their importance from the legend of Lawrence, but also a variety of beautiful natural sites, and then the remains of Nabatean temples and Nabatean and 1600 year old Islamic inscriptions on canyon walls.

Nabatean Inscriptions

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There was a lot of riding in the jeep just taking in and enjoying all of the sites, the red and yellow sand of the desert, the sandstone mountains of the most unique shapes and colors punctuating the landscape.

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The sunsets in Wadi Rum are absolutely gorgeous, and I’m really lucky and glad that I got the chance to watch two. By night, we ate dinner cooked in our camp by an Egyptian man that spoke slang in a thick accent. As soon as the clock struck 9pm, the stars would begin coming out. I’ve gone star gazing before on a few occasions, but these were absolutely the best and brightest and most plentiful stars that I had ever seen during my life. The night sky is absolutely one of the best reasons that everyone should want to go Wadi Rum.

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In the mornings, the sun woke us up in our raised tents around 7:00am. The highlights of the second day were climbing to the top of a land bridge, watching my friends attempt sandboarding down some very tall dunes that were very hard to climb, walking through a caravan of camels, some of which were curious and some of which were ready to bite me, and finally, getting my long-awaited camel ride through a portion of the desert.

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The day was followed by a sunset more beautiful than the first and another night of stargazing. Leaving to Petra the next morning was rather sad, because even the tremendous Nabatean temples, tombs and ruins could not compare to the natural beauty of the Rum desert

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