Wednesday, November 11, 2015

Wadi Rum...Not a Beverage!

Author T.E. Lawrence, commonly known as “Lawrence of Arabia” played out his story during the Arab Revolt of 1917-18, in this valley (wadi) near the Jebel Rum Mountains in an utterly out-of-this-world landscape also called “Valley of the Moon.”

As British officer, T.E. Lawrence, spoke fluent Arabic, making him valuable during the war effort. Also valuable, was the man sitting in the backseat of our vehicle with us as we crossed the desert floor surrounded by stunning sandstone mountains. Suddenly, "Backseat" Bob was speaking Arabic with our driver. Stunned, I turned to him with questioning eyes. It turns out this Parisian, living in Dallas, was born in Alexandria, Egypt. A delightful gentleman, he had us covered by knowing the language.

We've enjoyed our treks to Petra, so it was time to see new territory while docked in Aqaba. The beauty of Wadi Rum is difficult to describe: herds of camel roam freely over granite and sandstone that has been ground by time and wind into a fine sand. The surface of mountains and outcroppings look like “dripping bowls of ice cream,” the surface flowing, caught in time. The stone is not one color, but many, and on the darker surfaces, petroglyph's were scratched like road signs to tell stories, often warnings to the travelers carry goods through the valley....”beware of bandits.”

I thought of the sharp contrast between my life at home – hectic, filled with responsibilities, the ease of driving anywhere to buy anything and the life of the Bedouin who live in small villages with goats and camels. The walls and roofs of their tents, consist of black handwoven fabric made by the hardworking women of the tribe, while the men sit, drinking tea, smoking and talking all day.

It was a stunning drive though the Wadi. One vista more beautiful than the last. A day like today is an important reminder that there is so much to see in the world and it is often, thankfully, very different from what we see during our usual day-to-day routines. While I brew a cup of morning tea at home on my stove, a Bedouin is removing an ancient kettle from an open fire and pouring hot tea in his small glass cup, sitting on a colorful handmade rug that covers a rock ledge.

Jordan is a welcoming country and Aqaba is one of our favorite ports in our great big wonderful world.

Petroglyphs from around 2 -4 AD

OK, I did take a few camel pics!

The surface of the sandstone is "melting"

Tea time in a Bedouin tent

Lawrence of Arabia carved in the sandstone surface ,

Bedouin version of Starbucks

Tea brewing in the kettle over an open fire