Thursday, November 15, 2007

Wadi Rum

Though we've visited the breath-taking-ly beautiful desert of Wadi Rum before and Dear Husband and the boys have camped there a couple of times, the ladies had never experienced desert camping at its finest. This being Oldest Daughter's senior year, she requested a night in Wadi Rum before leaving home. We invited some friends to join in the fun and headed down to Rum for a wonderful night and two days.

The ladies are at the "entrance" to Wadi Rum in front of Jebel (mountain) al-Mazmar. Recent legend (Can there be urban legends in the desert? With the increase of the tourism and the temptation it brings for starting legends, maybe so.) has it that T.E. Lawrence called this mountain "The Seven Pillars of Wisdom". This, apparently, is a fabrication made up for the promotion of tourism--perhaps? The name of Lawrence's most famous work, The Seven Pillars of Wisdom derives it's name from Proverbs 9:1: "Wisdom has built a house; she has hewn out her seven pillars." The mountain is never mentioned in his book. (from The Rough Guide to Jordan)

At Rum village we loaded our guide's 4-wheeler and headed into Wadi Rum.

These very pregnant white camels belonging to our bedouin guide, followed us into camp. Buying price: about $15,000 for the pair. They're from Saudi Arabia.

As we unpacked our gear into the wool bedouin tent, our guide, in true bedouin style, welcomes us with some golden tea flavored with wild sage.

Sandstone worn through the ages until the mountainsides look like melted candles makes for great climbing as well as beautiful scenery.

Lizard tracks (notice the continuous tail track)

Tracks from something very small
Camel tracks

Our guide insists that these inscriptions, found on a mountainside near our camp, are authentic. I was thinking Nabatean, but a guide book suggests ancient Thamudic, the Thamuds being a cousin tribe of the Nabateans.

Wide open spaces and sand as far as the eye can see provided energy-expending fun for kids of all ages. It truly warmed my heart to see how much fun they were having!

Younger son is the only one of my kids I trust to try a stunt like this and not hurt himself.

Highlight: Climbing to the top of a BIG sand dune and running/jumping down together.

Way, way fun.

A trip to Wadi Rum will teach one to appreciate the beauty of the desert.

Being treated to a beautiful desert sunset, we were a little concerned that the clouds would obscure the famed star display which we were looking forward to seeing that night. We shouldn't have worried. The stars, which I was not clever enough to photograph, were spectacular. We even observed quite a few "falling stars".

Returning to camp just after sunset, we arrived just in time to watch our guide, Miziyad, dig up our supper. Yes, that is what I said, dig up. He had prepared the famous desert dish, zarb, for our entourage.

Chicken, potatoes, tomatoes, and onions are cooked over hot coals in an underground pit. For insulation/cooking, the pit is covered first with foil, then a pan, a wool blanket, and finally, sand.

The food, cooked to perfection, is lifted out of the pit and served. They had also prepared salad, rice, and a wonderful vegetable dish for us to enjoy. Delicious!

Dear Husband enjoying the a serene early morning desert

And I can manage to find a flower, even in the desert, even in November:

Anabasis articulata


Kathleen Hamilton said...

Wow, Melissa! That is so beautiful. What a wonderful time. And that supper!! Sounds fabulous. Your pictures are just great. Though it makes me sad to see you say about your daughter, "before she leaves home."

MagistraCarminae said...

Oh Melissa- wish we could join you there! How lovely!
Chris in NM

Sam said...

wow that looks awesome..i wanna go i wanna go! is it still goable there in january??? i have got to go there before leaving jordan..!!

desert mom said...


I really hope you can visit Wadi Rum before you leave Jordan. Will you still be here in the spring? That would be a nice time to visit, but I think January would be too cold for desert camping. If that is the only time you can go you could at least go in for the day, weather permitting.

I really should post more pictures of the sites around Jordan as these Wadi Rum pictures have prompted at least one email and phone call from family members who are now a little more eager to visit.

Kathleen, God is blessing us with a really great senior year for Lauren but I am having regular melancholy moments thinking about her leaving home next year. I know you understand.

Maida said...

Awwww.. Mrs.manning.. This was a realy great blog. It made me cry!!! I know how you must be feeling about Lauren leaving... but there is ALWAYS visits! ;) and if she is close to me.. then i'll take care of her! :D I HOPE SHE COMES TO TEXAS.. (crossing my fingers!!!) :D
I love you Mrs.Manning... and I wish i were there to share this momment.. but ill be coming home SOON! :D LOVE YOU!
GOD BLESS YOU AND YOUR FAMILY that i missssssss soooooo MUCH! <3