Friday, December 2, 2016
Wadi Rum Desert
Anyone that knows me, knows that I am a Bucket List kind of girl... and that many things on my bucket list have to do with travel and animals. Ha ha... so naturally I have always wanted to ride a camel... preferably in the Middle East. So when I was looking into riding camels in Jordan and saw that I could do a 2 day camel trek through the Wadi Rum desert PLUS stay in a Bedouin camp, I was sold. Thankfully Deb was up for it too, so I signed us up.
I was excited for this part of our trip. I wasn't sure what to expect. I had never ridden a camel before. When I told people we were going to be doing it for 3 days people usually grunted and got a disgusted look on their face... so I was just hoping that I wasn't going to hate it. Thankfully I didn't. I did think that there would be other people though. We went to the company office to drop off our stuff and get instructions of how everything was going to go and other people were at the office so we figured we would have company on the camels, however all of those people were doing the Jeep Tour. Deb and I were the only ones doing the camel trek. We would be seeing everyone else back at the Bedouin Camp for dinner.
So Deb and I dropped off our stuff and left with our Bedouin guide to get the camels and start the trek through the desert. Getting up and down on the camel for the first time was .... different. Thankfully you have handles to hold on to because they only get up one side at a time... so learning their groove is something to get used to. Then it was hours on the camel. At first it was really bumpy because I wasn't sure how to sit on the camel since there are no stir ups or anything. Once I learned how to position myself on the camel, it was quite pleasant. Our guide didn't speak hardly any English, so he was really quite, he would just smile while he did his thing and while we were riding the camels, he occasionally would sing a Bedouin chant. Deb and I of course would chat and laugh about this or that... but we also had a lot of time where it was completely silent, and the camels are also quite and there was nobody around for miles... just us on our camels in the middle of the desert. It was very peaceful and I actually really loved it. I liked the slow pace of it instead of zipping around on a jeep. I loved taking in the desert and the quite and just pondering about different things. I honestly was just excited to ride camels, I wasn't expecting to have this beautiful and peaceful meditation time in the desert... but that is kind of what it was. This was our view for the trek.
Then we would go to one of the sites of the desert (where the jeeps were stopping) and we would get off the camels and go explore and then come back and get back on the camels to travel somewhere else. One of our first stops was to check out some petroglyphs. Petroglyphs are so rad. Isn't it amazing that so many years later, we can still see them? Pretty amazing.
A lot of the other stops were to do a little rock climbing and check out arches. It was funny because Jordan reminded me so much of Utah. We would stop to check out an arch and those arches are the highlights of the desert... what people come to this desert to see and I found myself not being that impressed by them. I mean... they were cool, but Utah has better ones. Ha ha. So snobby to say it like that. I still loved them, it was just less impressive since we have them too. Here are some of the sites from the Wadi Rum desert. So beautiful, I loved every minute of it.
Then we would stop in the middle of nowhere and our guide would pull out packed lunches from my camels pouch he had on and then he would gather rocks and sticks and make a fire and make us tea in the middle of the desert while we ate our packed lunches and the camels rested near by. I always gave my leftovers to my camel so that it would like me even more. Not that it didn't like me, my came was super great. I just always thanked him for letting me ride him. After lunch we would lay on the rocks and soak in the sun and take a little nap. Since it was a little on the colder side, laying in the sun felt awesome.
Then after riding our camels around the desert all day, we finally got to our Bedouin camp. We were the first ones there... so we got our stuff from the main tent and we found out which little tent we were going to be staying in and took our stuff there. I don't know what I was expecting the came to be like, but it was pretty big. They had a big main tent, where everyone hangs out and eats... then there is a bathroom/shower area, and then lots of individual tents where everyone stays. Pretty cool to stay at a place like that out in the middle of the desert. So we all ate dinner together in the main tent around the fire where they of course cooked us tea... always have to have tea. They cooked the meat in the ground like Hawaiians do with their pigs. It was so good and the meat just fell right off the bones. This was my Thanksgiving meal. I wasn't mad about it. What a delicious meal. Deb and I ate and sat next to a Kiwi couple (Kiwi = From New Zealand) that we really enjoyed talking to. So we chatted with them until we all decided to turn in and go to bed. Deb and I quickly found out that everyone that was there at the camp was going back home the next morning. We were the only ones out of the group staying 2 nights. We figured a new group would come the next day. Not what happened. Ha ha... turns out, Deb and I were the only ones at the camp the next day, so they cooked dinner and breakfast just for us. Entertained just us and because it was just us and we were so cold the first night, they told us we could go into any of the other tents and take as many of the blankets as we wanted to keep warm. So Deb and I had 3 or 4 blankets each that we piled on the top and bottom of us... which did keep us MUCH warmer the second night. It would have been nice to have other people to talk to the second night since the Bedouin's didn't speak a lot of English, but we also didn't mind it being just us either. We sat by the fire drinking tea and I wrote in my journal and we just relaxed and enjoyed. There was no connecting to Wifi, so it is like camping... which I really enjoy. Oh... and the stars at night.... INCREDIBLE! If it weren't so so cold, I would have sat out under the stars for a long time just staring. It rarely gets clearer and brighter than that. I wish I could have captured it.
I can't tell you how much I loved this camel trek. I would do it again in a heartbeat. Was I a little sore from riding the camels for 2 days... absolutely, but this ended up being one of my favorite parts of the trip because it was slow paced and beautiful and peaceful and didn't feel crowded and touristy. It was new and exciting but also relaxing with lots of time to reflect. It is exactly the type of experience I wanted on my Middle Eastern trip and I got it. I'm thankful it worked out and that Deb wanted to also do it and that she enjoyed it as well. What an experience.