ultramarinus – beyond the sea

CAMELS & DUNES, Wadi Rum, Jordan

2006.05.23.

On our second day in Wadi Rum, we had a small breakfast when we get up. Soon after, our guide came to the camp and brought along three camels. The camels were skinnier than I imagined. It was our first time to ride a camel. We were kind of excited but also worried since we had heard enough negative experiences about camel riding. The guide made a “shuzzz” noise and made the camels to lower their bodies. One by one we climbed onto the camel. It turned out that my camel was actually the friendliest, relatively well trained and disciplined. Forgot how long we were on the camel back, maybe an hour, or an hour and a half, in the open desert. As the morning went by the desert was warming up quickly. On the camel back, I often adjusted myself to find the “best” position, balancing myself while taking pictures and preventing the numb feeling on my thighs. Every time we passed by a cluster of plants (looked pretty dried up), at least one of our camels would deviate from the group, lower their heads and pulled out a bunch of leaves to enjoy some causal snacks. This always caused a stir among all camels since all of our camels, including the one rode by the guide, were tied together one after another with ropes.

From time to time, we would get off the camels for some short walks, or climb a rock mount to check out the distant view. We ended up riding the camel for around three hours, and it really wasn’t the most pleasant experience. Perhaps because of the heat or lack of good bush around, one of our camels was a little grumpy at a point that it went on a strike by refusing to walk and kneeing down all of a sudden. I was glad that at least my camel seemed content and calm. Every time we got off the camel, we could hardly walk. The “desert mountains” near and far dominated the landscape everywhere we went. At last we were led to the Khazali Canyon. We didn’t have time to venture deep into the canyon, but far enough to see the dramatic sunlight shone through the narrow gap high up and reached the canyon floor in a dramatic way.

After the Khazali Canyon, our Wadi Rum experience was almost over. We did a bit more camel riding, had a brief lunch, a short nap, and rode back to Rum Village. While we waited for our hired taxi at the Visitor Centre, we went into the official Wadi Rum shop. I bought a black T-shirt with the Rum-art (ancient rock carving of animals) printed on it. In late afternoon, we reached Aqaba at the southern tip of Jordan right by the Gulf of Aqaba/ Red Sea. For some reason, we ended up having Chinese food for dinner. It was a decent size restaurant on the second floor of a commercial building. We weren’t the only table there but of course it was not full. I wondered if it would ever get a full house.

Riding a camel is one of the most popular way to tour Wadi Rum.
The camels looked quite skinny but had no trouble carrying us around.
Our guide led the way in front.
Sometimes, it took a while to urge the camels to stand up.
We rode the camel for almost three hours. It was a tiring experience.
Riding a camel allowed us ro enjoy the desert scenery at a slower pace than driving a 4×4.
We get off the camel several times, allowing our guide and camels to take breaks throughout the journey.
Our camels enjoyed their breaks near a valley.
Occasionally we would climb up one of the many rock mounts for a desert overview.
Climbing a rock mount was always an interesting break from the camel ride.
Climbing the rock mounts allowed us to rest our legs from riding the camel.
The camels would check out any plant they passed by, despite the plants looked pretty dried out.
Despite their sometimes ill temper, the camels were actually quite friendly.
Near the end of our tour, we stopped by the Khazali Canyon, a narrow slit in a rock mount of Wadi Rum.
Other than camel, 4×4 was the only other practical means of transportation for touring the Wadi Rum.
Panoramic view of a shaded spot where we took a nap.

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