08 July 2012

jeep tour
siq carvings
sand dunes
cards and dinner

Breakfast in the shade of the car.

An early start to the day, as these bedouin tents collect heat quickly.  Proper ones can have the walls raised to allow a breeze through, but these ones are fixed.  Breakfast was simple.  Bread, candied sugar, jam and hommes.  Followed by Chai.  Noting to blog about really, but we have to put something in here! As the camp has no shade in the morning, we ate next to the car in the little bit of shade it provided.

We were scheduled to do a tour with Awad today, and we were hoping it wouldn’t turn out like the accommodation.  A few points on the map, and covering about a quarter of Wadi Rum should take us about four hours.  First off Khazali Siq.

A very narrow canyon

A small split in the rocks across from where we were camped.  This was in the shade at least.  Climbing up into it, we walked along for a short distance, before we came to a wall.  When it rains the water from both sides of the hill gather and rush down this siq.  One area that would be a nice little waterfall brought an end to our walk.  Andrew scaled it and walked on to find there was another ascent just up from there, and did not want to go further.  On coming back out, Awad joined us.

Nabataean rock carvings in the Siq

He made sure we did not miss the Nabataean rock carvings on the wall that we had overlooked on the way in.  This was mostly engravings of stick figure people and feet for some reason.  The Buddhists must have come through this way at some time…

A short drive through the sand brought us to the Wadak Rock Bridge.

This bridge might not be strong enough to hold us, so we did not climb it

This is a small rock bridge over some rocks (hence its name)  It is too fragile to walk over, so we just went to look at it.  Not very impressive, except as a monument to the fragility of rock, and the power of wind and sand.

This one is strong enough to hold Andrew

The next rock bridge, Umm Fruth Rock Bridge is a lot higher and longer.  It is a small climb to the top of the hill, and from here you can walk over the bridge itself.  Apparently in the past they had ropes so you could go down the other side, but there are no longer there.  Looking down, it is quite high, and fairly wide.  Anna stayed at ground level for this one, as we wanted to get some photos of us on it.  While we were admiring the view from the top, Anna was checking out the wildlife at the bottom.  There was a small bird flitting in and out of the shade.  There is supposed to be a lot of wildlife in the desert here.  Onyx, Hyena, cats, lizards and birds, but besides the small birds and lizards, we did not see any.

Onto Burdah Rock Bridge.  While we were driving, Awad pulled up in the middle of nowhere.  We thought it was just to look at the view, and did not realise that we were at our destination.  The rock bridge was visible in the distance, however it would take hours to hike up to it.  As we had been bumped around in the back of the vehicle for a while, we decided to sit in the shade for a bit and re-hydrate.  As we sat there talking Awad decided to show Andrew Bedouin Goh.  It is a board of five by five squares.  You place two of your pieces at a time untill the board is full bar one square (Awad was coal, and Andrew pebbles)  From there you move one piece to an adjacent open square.  If you get an opponants piece between two of yours, you can remove it from the board.  If you can move it again to take another piece you can, otherwise it is the other players go.  Repeat untill one person is down to one piece (as they can no longer take the others).  Awad let Andrew win, and we all piled back into the car.

Andrew was allowed to drive the next section.  This was an experience.  Within five metres the car was stuck in the sand, and Awad had to drive it out.  On attempt number two, Andrew found that the accelerator did not really work unless it was flat on the floor.  It went 95% of the way easily, but this only kept the vehicle turning over.  Hence getting it bogged.  Going too slowly.  Pushing it flat, we could get some acceleration.  The steering wheel was attached sideways and was a bit disconcerting holding it this way to try and keep the car going straight.  It was a bit of fun cruising around the sand.  In the back was another matter.  People were being thrown from side to side, and Anna was almost bounced out the back.  In this way we reached Lawrence’s House.

Left overs of Lawrence’s house

This was our next destination, and the reason Wadi Rum is so famous.  It is a bit of a disappointment.  There is nothing there.  A small wall next to a rock.  Most of the wall is destroyed, and the rubble is strewn everywhere.  We had a small look around, climbed the hill and found a bedouin tent flat on the ground around the corner.  We joked that it had been left there after Lawrence.  It even had a teapot in the corner.  There was also some carvings in the rock here, that is supposed to be old, but who knows.

We were most of the way through the tour now, and Andrew was vetoed from driving any more.  No one else wanted to so we continued on to the big Sand Dunes.

Sand Dunes (or in reality : one really big dune)

These had been the ones we walked to yesterday, so were no big surprise.  They were big though.  Big and Orange.  Big, Orange and a single bush growing on the side.  In contrast to the vivid sky blue sky behind.  They are a sight.  Andrew decided to climb to the top.  This was before he realised how high they were, how hot the sand is, and how steep the climb.  Still he made it to the top.  The easy way would have taken him up the crest of the dune from the bottom, but he decided to walk up it halfway on one side.  Each step creating a miniature avalanche of sand that obliterated footprints on its way to the bottom.  The others wisely sought out shade and watched.  On coming back down, he took his shoes off and emptied a miniature dune of sand on the rocks.

Not sure how old these carvings are

Our last stop was the Map that Lawrence made.  This is a rough carving of Wadi Rum on a flat rock.  In the past there had been a massive rock slide, and this rock is sitting there with the sheared side up.  Awad poured water onto it to make it clearer.  The map is very rough, and I think his mental map would have been better.  Still it was interesting, as nearby there was more Nabataean graffiti that had survived the rockfall nearby.  This was mainly camels, people, and what looked like a cowboy riding a camel throwing a boomerang.  Apparently it is just the people passing through writing what they were bringing, and what water there was.  This was the end of the tour, and we were driven back to the campsite.

The rest of the day was spent playing cards, sleeping, and otherwise just lounging around.  Dinner was the same as yesterday, and we sat watching the sunset with cards in hand (we had to finish the game of Joker before we lost all the light).  It was not too bad, and with a few more (working) amenities, it would have been really good. Awad tried and made us a campfire with the mandatory teapot brewing. Nice, but once again a bit of privacy would have been appreciated.

We discovered that the only bus out of here was at seven in the morning.  So it will be an early morning for us.



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