|Me: ||And as agreed, we will pay you 15 JD for the taxi.|
|Driver: ||15 JD!?! No way. There are four of you. You pay 30 JD. [He then gets on his phone and speaks to someone who apparently agrees with him that 30 is the only possible price, and a good one at that].|
|Me: ||30 JD! We made a deal that you would drive your car with me and my guests (two of whom I did not know) from Wadi Musa to Wadi Rum. The number of passengers is irrelevant..|
|Driver:||Fine, you pay 25 JD.|
|Me:||15 JD, no more.|
|Third & Fourth Passengers:||If you charge us more than the bus, we are outta here.|
|Driver: ||It is not possible to make the drive for 20 JD.|
|Fourth passenger:||OK, see you. |
[DSM Note: at this point the driver realizes his potential 20 JD fare is walking away, leaving him with the originally cut deal of 15 JD ]
|Driver: ||OK, OK, 20 JD.|
And as soon as the deal was struck I dove right into the front seat, and Jesse milled about futzing with her shoe to avoid the middle seat – it was our taxi after all. And as we drove off with the sun was rising we felt a little guilty (but not too guilty) about putting the 6’3” Czech math teacher in the middle seat and were on our way to spend the night in a Bedouin camp in the middle of the desert.
|Panoramic shot of Wadi Rum|
A few hours later we arrived at the Wadi Rum National Park and met one of our guides Nial (pronounced, Nail) and hopped into his beat-up, run-down, duct-taped pickup truck that would take us to the camp. Once at the camp we discussed what we might do that day and were told there were a number of available activities, including the 2–hour jeep tour, the 4-hour jeep tour, the 6-hour jeep tour, and the all-day jeep tour. Camel safari was available but immediately rejected. For free we could wander around the desert by ourselves. We opted for the 4-hour tour, and after some slight haggling over price the next thing we knew was that the same rickety, falling apart at the seams, pick-up truck was our desert jeep! This jalopy would be careening us through the desert Through lands so rugged and inhospitable that even the heartiest plants and animals struggle to survive there. But since the other option was to ride on a camel, we hopped into the bed of the pick-up amid a pile of blankets, pillows and, to both my relief and dismay, a seemingly large number of spare parts.
|View of the camp after we hiked up a large dune near the camp.|
Who would have ever thought I'd prefer the walking to taking a jeep?
Well, maybe you would think this since walking was free...
|Our Jeep for the desert sarafi.|
Here I nap while waiting for the start of the camel races we were to witness.
|Dave, Awar, our Bedouin driver, and Jesse|
|Camels wandering the desert|
|Dave and Jesse on top of the giant arch.|
Can you tell who is who?
|Dave on top of the arch by himself|
|After many hours of the desert safari we felt right at home in the "Jeep"|
|The desert sands took on a deep red hue as the sun set.|
That night, following a mediocre dinner of chicken and rice (more quantity than quality), an obligatory sheesha (hookah), and a brief adventure in star-gazing, we retreated to our unheated tent.
In the desert as soon as the sun sets the temperature plummets, and this night was no exception. With a low in the 40s, we were prepared for the worst. Our luggage was totally empty because we were wearing every article of clothing we had – starting with our best Patagonian purchases – long-underwear onesies. We shut the light and got underneath the six blankets they had provided and surprisingly, warmed up pretty quickly and slept soundly. At sunrise, when we woke, the desert was sparkling. It had been so cold that night that the ground was literally covered with a thin layer of frost. We were both glad to be heading to Dahab, Egypt for some R&R in the sun at a fancy Starwood hotel – woo-hoo for starwood points!
|Snuggling for warmth under our many Bedouin blankets|
Some more photos (including the Bedouin bathroom facilities) are below.
The rest can be found here.
|Sunrise in the desert.|
|The interior of our Bedouin tent.|
|Bedouin Bathroom - Exterior|
|Bedouin Bathroom - Interior.|
Better than expected.
|Dave at the base of the giant arch.|
|Lounging in front of breakfast.|
|Jesse's disaster with the fire-pit. Thankfully, the fire had been out for hours before she stepped in it.|
|"Grand Central Bedouin"|
Light streams into the smokey tent where we took all of our meals.