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MP on tour, or not

Wadi Rum – Lawrence of Arabia country

After a quiet night spent watching bad action movies in my hotel (shout out to the Edom Hotel in Petra, a great budget hotel) I set out again the next morning for my second day in Jordan at Wadi Rum and Aqaba. First stop was back up the hill for a scenic shot looking down at the beginning of the Petra Suq.
then back in the car for the drive to Wadi Rum where I swapped the air-conditioned Landcruiser for a covered pickup for the drive out into the Wadi. Leaving the town behind we quickly found the desert.
The Wadi is huge and I only had time to explore a small section. It’s a stark but beautiful lanscape of sanstone cliffs rising high above the wadi floor.
First stop was Lawrence Spring where a small green bush marked the spot up the cliff where water ran out of the cliff.
The Nabateans had left their mark here as well, scribbling all over a large flat rock nearby.
A quick cup of sweet Bedouin tea and a lie down in the shade later we set out into the desert again.
There are Bedouin camps throughout the wadi
We crossed the plain where the great battle scene from Lawrence of Arabia was filmed, or for my younger readers, where one of the Transformers movies was shot more recently.
My camera started running out of battery at this point. Not surprising considering the workout it had at Petra the day before. But I managed to squeeze in a few more shots. Some more Nabatean carvings inside a gorge in the mountain from the previous photo.
The view looking back over the wadi from atop a rock bridge.
And again but with some bloody tourist standing in the way
And the rock bridge itself
A happy looking camel back in Wadi Rum town
It was a beautiful if forbidding landscape. If I had more time in Jordan I think I’d like to buy a camping permit and spend a few days exploring and sleeping in the same caves that sheltered the Nabateans. But this was a two day trip. Back in the car for the drive down to Aqaba, Jordan’s port town where Egypt, Israel, Jordan and Saudi Arabia almost neet at the top of the Red Sea gulf that runs down the East side of the Sinai Peninsula.
My time in Aqaba was free so I wandered down to the local beach where I relaxed and watched the many glass-bottomed boats take local and foreign tourists out to see the fish and coral in the gulf. I struck up a conversation with one of the boat operator who was moaning about the shameless “topless” female tourists, where topless meant that their heads were uncovered. The friction between traditional values and the tourist dollar is always evident in the Middle East.
The sun set and I headed back into the city to wander through the local souk. Apart from a jar of Nescafe I didn’t find anything inspiring to buy but I was accopsted by a barber who offered to trim my by now quite scruffy beard. He set to work with a pair of scissors and a cut-throat razor and by time he finished I had had a full Jordanian metrosexul treatment. On the spur of the moment I also had him take about 8 inches off my hair which left me considerably lighter.
Time had run out and I headed down to the ferry terminal for the crossing back to Taba and the bu ride back down to Dahab. The next day in Dahab was spent lazing around on the cushions at the hotel and uploading the Petra photos. And enjoying the view from my new upstairs room.
Then it was time to travel again and I got a lift down to Sharm el-Sheikh for the flight back to Cairo where a few hours later I got on the plane to Lilongwe.
I hadn’t checked my flight details thoroughly enough and it turned out that my flight stopped in Khartoum as well as Nairobi so I had the pleasure of spending an hour on the tarmac in Sudan’s capital, looking out as scores of armed guards stopod around the plane while it was refueled. Then off again to Nirobi where I had a breakfast Pilsner while waiting for my fourth and final flight to Lilongwe where I turned up exhausted at the Korea Garden Hotel.
Finally in Malawi…
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