vast, echoing and godlike

wadi rum
Forgive our lack of posting last night but our Bedouin style campsite while devoid of high-speed Internet, provided us with an amazing day and night in the Arabian wilderness. A place Thomas Edward Lawrence eloquently described when he opined:

‘No man can live this life and emerge unchanged. He will carry, however faint, the imprint of the desert, the brand which marks the nomad; and he will have within him the yearning to return, weak or insistent according to his nature. For this cruel land can cast a spell which no temperate clime can match.’ ” Thomas Edward Lawrence, “The Seven Pillars of Wisdon”

Indeed, it is hard for me to not mention T.E. Lawrence when discussing my trip to Jordan. It was January and freezing cold when Chuck Holton forgot to pick me up at BWI Airport after I had just enjoyed a week in the “Sunshine State”. When I finally did get home, I took advantage of the wife and child remaining in the warmth of Florida, and fired-up my two DVD set of the David Lean classic, ‘Lawrence of Arabia.’ It was shortly after that viewing that Chuck called with a peace-offering of a chance to travel to Jordan. How could I resist?

Larwrence's WellIt was, after all, at Wadi Rum where the aforementioned epic was filmed. It was also in this “Valley of the Moon” that T.E. Lawrence helped launch the Arab Revolt of 1916. A place that Lawrence of Arabia described as “cathedral with open sky” in his book The Seven Pillars of Wisdom. A book named after the name for seven natural columns descending in height located north of Wadi Rum. Natural structures thought to have resulted from an emmense crack in the surface of the Earth causing an enormous upheaval of granite and sandstone.

While other members of the trip described this moonscape similar to that of the deserts of Arizona, I think the following quote from the Lonely Planet hits the nail on the head describing this incredible desert as :

“… just one giant sandy history museum. Nearly every valley, mountainside and watering hole has a relic of the past: Thamudic, Safaitic, Nabataean, Greek and Arabic graffiti litter the cliff faces, a rich repertoire of rock art replete with hunting scenes adorns cave walls, there are rudimentary stone age shelters scattered throughout the gorges and, near Jebel Rum, there is even an ancient Nabataean temple.

While we didn’t stay at the “Captain”s Camp” of Time Magazine fame, we were certainly treated as kings, our should I say ‘sheiks‘ at Bait Ali.

Mike Hare enjoying the riches of Wadi RumThere we enjoyed charming hosts, running water and comfortable cots … the later of which were greatly appreciated after a bumpy four hour tour of the desert in a 4 wheel drive truck. We even had a chance to enjoy some tea as we sat on carpeted floors in a genuine Bedouin encampment which was followed by watching the sun set.

To quote Mike Hare from our group, … if Petra is the “oil” of Jordan, then Wadi Run is the silver.

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One thought on “vast, echoing and godlike

  1. Mom Peters

    What a picture painted with your words, son. Would
    we get that service if we went there! Wow! Enjoy!

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