Monday, January 28, 2008

Tonight we dine in Wadi Rum!

The words screamed by Anthony Quinn's character "Auda Abu Tayi" repeated over and over again in my head as our car sped through the desert.

"Tonight we dine in Wadi Rum!"

This is where we were going. We were going into the desert, we were going to where Lawrence of Arabia gathered together the Howeitat tribe with the help of Auda for the attack against Aqaba.

It was also the location of what was reputed to be some of the most amazing scenery in the world.

We arrived into the Bedouin camp around lunch time. There we relaxed and took in the light, cooling wind and the colourful tents of the Bedouin.
By mid-afternoon, we were ready to head out into the desert proper.

We jumped onto the back of a ute and were ready to go!
It was as promised. A sweeping desert as far as our eyes could see.

The sand was incredibly fine and throughout the dunes, large rocky hills and mountains protruded out, as though they were growing out of the sand.
Standing in the sands under the enormous rock formations gave us all a feeling of smallness....
.... incredibly small.....
Whilst standing on the side of a sloping dune, surrounded by two large rock formations, Oliee demanded suddenly that we all stop talking.

We listened to his request and stopped talking.

We all realised why he wanted us to be quiet.

..... nothing.

There was no sound.

Absolutely no sound.

All we could hear was the ringing in our ears.

The sudden feeling of solitude that this created amplified the awe we had for standing in this place.

But after all that quietness, we couldn't help but be a bit noisier. The perfect opportunity presented itself when we reached the side of a steep dune. Throwing ourselves off the side of this dune was incredibly fun! As we ran up and down, we were covered in sand... but it was worth it.
The tour of the desert continued.
Even as the sun slowly set, the sights and colours we saw were spectacular.
Everywhere I looked, the magnitude of the desert's size was overwhelming.
The dunes were beautiful, particularly when framed by the perfect sky, completely devoid of clouds.
We stayed long enough to watch the sun slowly setting behind the hills. Another beautiful thing to behold. The red light that it cast made the desert in the distance look like it was on fire.
After the sun set, the temperatures dropped, and they dropped quickly. I was disturbingly unprepared. With only a couple of thin shirts on, I was soon freezing with my teeth chattering.

The minute we returned to the tents, all four of us made straight for the nice warm fire.
As we waited for dinner, I spoke to the head of the camp.

I spoke to him about my curiosity in the region and the Bedouin tribes.

He smiled at me and told me that his tribe and the camp we were staying in, was indeed a Howeitat (!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!)

He then completely made my trip by telling me that he was also a descendant of the great Auda Abu Tayi. He agreed to have his photo taken with me. Looking at it, I could almost see the image of Auda in his face.
As the night grew even colder, we grew hungrier. It wasn't long until we were called over for food though.

We sat down, and I realised that I was doing what I had hoped to do for years.

I was dining in Wadi Rum!

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