Jordan, Wadi Rum

BEST WISHES FROM THE DESERT

Best wishes from Desert wrote Fuad the owner of the Bedouin camp in Wadi Rum at the end of his email.

Finally, I confirmed the schedule and cost of the tour with Fuad after two months of extensive discussion via email with all kinds of questions. Fuad answered all questions patiently and in detail.

I arrived at the end of my waiting which made my heart flutter and (if possible) dance with pleasure. Today was the day of my departure from Wadi Musa to Wadi Rum. Although it rained heavily last night, this morning the weather was very beautiful. Not a single sign of the commotion that occurred last night. I woke up early before sunrise, my body felt refreshed after resting for a full day. My body was no longer aching and all my fatigue was gone. A good sign that I would enjoy a pleasant time at Wadi Rum. When checking out, I only saw one man from China who was going to Wadi Rum. The hostel was still quiet, only a night guard snored from inside the sitting area.

I was relieved and happy to decide to stay in a hostel the next day. The weather changed dramatically from a sunny morning suddenly to bad weather during the day. It started with heavy rain before noon and then followed by strong winds for hours.

Besides I was hesitant to go to Petra or stay in a hostel on the second day. I bought a Petra ticket which valid for two days for 55 JD or $ 77. I thought about it all night until I fell asleep. Around one in the morning, I woke up when I felt my whole body aching, especially my legs and feet. I never walked that far with difficult terrain and hot weather. Good thing my sister gave me a pain relief balm. Last night after bathing I rubbed it all over my body and this morning, too. I ate breakfast at ten past five minutes then went back to sleep to continue my rest. By noon I felt better and could sleep soundly without pain.

 

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Evening lights from the city of Petra.

 

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I ate breakfast at the hostel’s verandah. The morning light was so lovely and the hostel was quiet. I had a peaceful breakfast. Then the weather shifted drastically in the afternoon. It was rain and storm all day.

 

This complicated journey also requires long preparation. The first choice was to join a tour group that I joined in Galápagos, Ecuador. But the date did not match my arrival in Amman and the tour price was several times more expensive than I was traveling alone. Especially after reading a lot from many travel bloggers traveling to Jordan, especially women traveling solo, I found Jordan was not difficult to navigate. I wanted to test my guts. Of course, I’m worried, but I’m sure I could do this trip myself, especially after traveling across the United States.

Fuad contacted the bus operator to pick me up at one of the hostels at Wadi Musa. The minibus arrived on time and crowded with travelers who want to go to Wadi Rum. Travelers from various countries mostly come in groups. There was a group of energetic seniors from South Africa, three friends from Australia, and some from other countries.

Besides a driver, there was also a conductor who was fluent in English. The conductor counted the passengers and asked for names, nationality, and where to stop. I mentioned the name of the Bedouin camp owner and several others just asked to be dropped off at Rum Village. The journey for 1 hour and 50 minutes began when the bus exited Wadi Musa. The journey to Wadi Rum as far as 112 km started when the bus went on Kings Hwy and then connected to Route 35. After that continued to Desert Hwy to Wadi Rum Road.

This short trip was very pleasant. The conductor arranged for us to stop at one of the ‘lookouts’ which was right on the mountain. A beautiful morning view with mountains brown, golden to gray and blue sky colored with white clouds. The bus operator was a creative person so that passengers did not get bored, he entertained passengers by playing the national anthem of each country. Every passenger whose national anthem played obliged to sing. I deeply moved when I listened to my national anthem Indonesia Raya reverberating in the land of Jordan. Each passenger also applauded and cheered every time the songs ended.

 

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The landscape from the lookout on top of the mountain. It was truly gorgeous up here. The traffic was not much along the way to Wadi Rum.

 

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When the bus arrived at the Wadi Rum Visitor Center, the conductor asked every passenger who did not have a ticket or Jordan Pass to buy a ticket. Fuad told me in his e-mail to ignore the people waiting outside the building. They spent time there looking for tourists, they even lied that they worked for the Bedouin camp owners. They could convince anyone that many deceived. He would not wait there and neither would the guide who worked with him wait there. They waited at his house in Rum Village.

I walked straight to the Visitor Center and bought a ticket. Fortunately, because of the fasting month, no one waits outside the office. I bought an entrance ticket to Wadi Rum and walked back to the bus. The conductor asks each passenger (again) who their operator was. Some passengers don’t have operators, so he will drop them off at the entrance to Rum Village. The conductor not only dropped passengers off but he made sure the passengers didn’t forget their luggage and made sure no passengers were left stranded. After 5 kilometers of driving, the driver and conductor drove me to the house of the Bedouin camp owner. It turned out that a group from South Africa descended on the same place. Fuad welcomed us at the gate and introduced a volunteer from Spain, Maria.

I felt relieved after entering the sitting area which attached outside the house. The long journey from first starting to do the planning until I arrived at Wadi Rum. It felt strange. For some reason … anti-climax ?? or serendipity??

Fuad also told me that I could join another group. They were four male travelers from Germany who did not mind me joining. Apart from that, I didn’t need to pay more since I extended one more day in the Bedouin camp. Hooray !!!

I was with a group of seniors waiting for a guide and a car to take us to the Wadi Rum Desert. While enjoying hot tea provided by our host, we shared our travel experiences. They always traveled together every year. They were brothers and sisters, friends, and husband and wife. Blend into one another. When they tried to explain their relationship, they laughed because their explanation confused me. Even though they were a group above the age of 70, they are young and fit. They not only walked to the Treasury but also the Monastery. They all could climb the steps of more than 800 yesterday. Even when the weather is very bad they can still have fun.

 

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I took this photo when I stepped out of the Visitor Center. I did not recognize until later that the background of the office is the well knows rock formation of The Seven Pillars of Wisdom. The name came from T.E. Lawrence’s or Lawrence of Arabia. He served as a British liaison officer when the Arab Revolt against the Ottoman Turks from 1916 – 1918.

 

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Continued…

 

 

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