Wonders of Wadi Rum, Part One – Unexpected Gifts And Arab Guides

“Don’t part with your illusions. When they are gone, you may still exist, but you have ceased to live.” - Mark Twain, Following the Equator

After a couple of uneventful days of rest in Aqaba, I headed into town to catch a bus to Wadi Rum for a night.  The bus was not leaving for another two or three hours and I began to think that I would miss out on the chance to see very much of the park.

For those who are not familiar with Wadi Rum, it is the desert area most well known for T.E. Lawrence and his role in the Arab Revolt.  In fact, much of the movie “Lawrence of Arabia” was filmed there.

The taxi drivers in Jordan are fairly aggressive in recruiting people and I got to the point where I mostly just tuned them out.  But one guy said he knew a driver who was taking two others to Wadi Rum and I could join them for just a couple dollars more than what I was planning to pay for the bus. I agreed to check it out.  We walked up to a store and waited for the taxi.

The car arrived and things seemed totally legit so I loaded my bag in the trunk and got in the car.  The couple in the car, Maartje and Jean, were incredibly nice.  They were going up for the day and had hired a guided jeep tour, which was something I had considered but had marked as well out of my budget at that stage.

We talked about travel, the beauty of the French countryside, and other things over the 45 minute ride to Wadi Rum.  I got my bag and paid the admission to the park.  My plan was to go to a local camp where I would stay the night and walk around that area during the evening.

And then came the most amazing surprise.  Without any prompting whatsoever, Maartje and Jean negotiated to get me included for the same price they were already paying and then refused to take any money from me for the tour.  Suddenly, I was going on a guided jeep tour of the park absolutely free.

I have to say that riding across the park in an old jeep was a much better way to see the sights.  We visited the remains of Lawrence’s house, climbed an amazing rock bridge, drank tea brewed from a small fire, and then asked if we could walk across the last couple of kilometers to where we were going to share our dinner.  We had an amazing time all afternoon and then I had the chance to give back because the camera battery on their camera died off on them.  I took photos for both of us that I have now sent on to them.

We made our way to the small camp where we had a great dinner of chicken, cheese, yogurt, and tea.  After we finished dinner and said our goodbyes, another adventure began for me.  But you’ll have to check in for that tomorrow…same bat time, same bat channel.

Now for some photos.

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