Saturday, 6 September 2008

Aqaba and Wadi Rum 01/09/08

With my dives not starting till ten I have a cruisy morning, enjoying my relaxation time lounging around the hotel. After a quick breakfast I head over, meet the guys and get my gear together.

There were no other takers for diving today so the guide's all mine, perfect :) Gliding silently through the coral I'm well impressed with the variety of things to see, one of the advantages of having low expectations. Everyone I've talked to said if I have already dove in the Red Sea in Egypt don't bother here, it's nice to be pleasantly surprised. The guide leads me round a shipwreck before heading in and popping up in an air pocket. Well impressed, first time I've ever done that!

After a brief break it's in again, this time sticking to the coral gardens. One of the biggest ugliest fish I have seen in my life appears in front of us, so ugly it makes the huge stone fish next to it look cute :) Rounding a bend to find a rock covered in lion fish is the perfect way to finish leaving me glad I opted for second dive.

Meeting back up with Steph I'm stoked she saved me some lunch after splurging at the Movenpick. So with nothing holding us back it's in the car and up to Wadi Rum.

The drive goes quickly and before we know it were haggling with the Bedouins trying to get a good deal on a tour and a night in the desert...well, I'm haggling anyway. Steph decides she's got better things to do with her life and offers to give the guy whatever he wants :) One way to ensure we have a happy guide...

Which he is. Khalid is awesome, the type of guy who could sell ice to the Eskimos and and with his big friendly smile it's impossible not to like him. Racing us through the desert in his four wheel drive we check out a big natural arch, some rock paintings and a huge sand dune before arriving at our "camp"...

Shit, here we go...

Having imagined a bedouin camp to consists of Bedouin families, goats and camels I'm rather surprised with where we are. Clean little tents are lined up in a row with a permanent building housing flush toilets. The only bedouins to be seen are Khalid and the two guys that will cook us goats, no camels, no Bedouin families. Then, just to top it off our bedouin experience a truckload of Australians and Kiwis show up on the back of a truck. Wonderful :)

I have to laugh, here I am paying $40 (actually, Steph's paying most of it as that was the deal if we weren't going to bargain :) ) for the privilege of sleeping in a tent in the desert with a tourist group. What's going on?!?

After the initial shock wears off I have to say the experience is great. Dinner is fantastic and lounging round the camp fire smoking nagile, drinking tea and chatting to the tour group it's a perfect way to spend the evening.

Deciding to sleep outside Steph and I grab our mattresses, find a flat patch of sand a short distance away and call it a night. Lying under the desert stars the timelessness of our surroundings can really be felt. A truly magical place!

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