A few years ago I travelled solo to Egypt for a bit of desert action, followed by a meet-up with a friend from home. Together we took a short flight across the sands to Jordan, where we would squeeze in as much as possible in a week. Using past emails to family from overseas, this is a continuation of our journey to a country that remains in my top 5.
Brooke and I have completely squeezed the most out of Jordan. I’m back in Cairo, exhausted after sleeping approximately 8 hours in the last 3 nights, but very content. There has been so much to see, only made possible by starting each day at sunrise . Jordan has been an incredible destination and more sandy sojourns are definitely on the cards.
The open space of the landscape sunsets, nights spent in lively cave bars, as well as the outstanding hospitality of Jordanians, has finished this trip beautifully. We have also spent the last fours days with the most travelled person I’ve ever met – a Swiss guy called Michael who shared our jeep hire costs and generally added loads of insight.
Throughout Jordan’s natural spaces, it’s often compulsory to walk with a local Bedouin guide, as the rock formations and pathless gorges can be confusing and dangerous. The view of rose and white coloured rock peaks is often broken up by ice cream like swirls of colour; candy striped in some places, and with every turn a new perspective presented itself. One day we walked through a super green lush valley used by a local Sheik to herd his black faced sheep. We uncovered some rock dwelling scorpions and sat to simply watch a chameleon doing it’s thing. The tranquility of the space was only interrupted by the ethereal wind as we scrambled, rock hugged, and water hole hopped the morning away.
For me the natural highlight of this country has to be Wadi Rum – a 75,000 sq km National desert park. I became mesmerised by the red dirt, ancient rock carvings and gorgeous local faces. Ultimately relishing the joy of space and the liberating feeling of being uncrowded. Topped only by a sentimental sunset with Brooke sharing the Ipod head phones while we sipped on vodkas - one of those times that you feel completely free but grateful to be sharing the moment with a friend.
Brooke is now in Istanbul, and I’ve got a lot of miles to endure in waiting lounges and three plane changes back to Australia. My excess baggage not helped by some excited carpet purchases in Egypt and Jordan. I just can’t refuse a good ethnic textile opportunity!
I’m going to miss this part of the world.
For extra desert inspiration I can recommend this thought provoking book :
“Men come and go, cities rise and fall, whole civilizations appear and disappear – the earth remains, slightly modified. The eart remains, and the heartbreaking beaty where there are no hearts to break. I sometimes choose to think, no doubt perversely, that man is a dream, thought an illusion, and only rock is real. Rock and sun”.
Edward Abbey, Desert Solitaire: A season in the wilderness.