To pass the time whilst we waited, we played a game of “tig” which some of you may remember from your playground days. Much to the locals’ amusement, there were about a dozen of us 20-30-somethings running around outside the terminal like idiots.
|Homeless, posing on the ferry from Egypt to Jordan.|
|The gang catch a breather at the Aqaba terminal after our game of tig.|
|L to R: Ish, Pat and Tanja doing 'the serious pose' after their massages.|
There wasn’t really much to see in Aqaba, in fact, I think we were well and truly out of season. Even though Aqaba had plenty of dive schools and apparently many more dive sites just offshore, and even though we’d just had a whale of a time diving in Egypt, across the pond the notion just didn’t seem as inviting here. The one thing Aqaba did have going for it was its people: everywhere we went they were just friendly and willing to help out or just banter with you. It was such a relief after our time in Egypt and we soon learnt from day-to-day dealings that it wasn't just the people of Aqaba that were awesome, it was the people of Jordan in general.
|Ronaldo struggles to keep his tent from blowing away.|
We spent the rest of the day doing not a lot…it was cold and extremely windy and there were flies EVERYWHERE. We passed time making the most of the wi-fi and tooting on the customary sheesha pipe in the relative shelter of a gazebo/Bedouin tent down near the campsite bar.
|Son goes for the 'baffled' pose.|
|"Dis how make proper I-talian coffee...eeets sincredeebull!"|
|Can't remember who that was way up at the top there...|
The truth is, he’d got lost on misadventures a number of times before (e.g. his marathon swim off the coast of Ghana - which, again, he didn't tell any of us he was doing!) and each time our concerns and moans had proved unjustified as, every time, he’d eventually show up shuffling his way back to the truck in his two over-sized orange Crocs...and usually wielding some strange, but dirt cheap type of food or drink that had been the sole purpose of his mission. I seriously think Yoich could open up a specialist safari company in Africa; buy up a load of old jeeps with ‘Hunting Safaris’ emblazoned along their side and simply add the word ‘Bargain’ in front.
|The rock/mountain Yoich walked to.|
Aside from this mishap, it was another great bush-camp with unforgettable scenery. As if to mock me for comparing part of my 43 week "holiday" to Shackleton's gruelling two and a half year Endurance Expedition, the air became bitterly cold as dusk descended upon us and we half-expected snow to fall overnight...we just weren’t sure whether to be dread it or look forward to it. Those who hadn’t gone to bed seeking early shelter in the comfort of their sleeping bags were left huddled close together around the dying warmth of the fire and reminiscing on adventures of recent months. Gab swore he was going to relive those warmer days by camping under the stars like he had done in Sudan. This proved a short-lived plan as the under-side of the truck’s table (used as shelter from possible snow) was no substitute for the Sudanese night sky and Gab’s Mediterranean blood just couldn’t withstand these temperatures.
|Berbs takes in the view, looking back at where we'd just walked from.|
We wandered about half-way down Khazali Canyon before reaching a dead end and turning around to ‘mmm’ and ‘aaaah’ at the ancient engravings. Only half an hour or so past before we began the journey back. Before we set off properly, we stopped by for a tea in a nearby Bedouin tent complete with open fire, 8 year-old waiter / souvenir salesman and Arab noblemen (in truth, they were just guides, but they looked noble in all of their traditional Arab get-up).
|Berber has a crack habit.|
|Ronaldo does some rock-climbing to see if we can get any further down the canyon.|
|That's right, this Bedouin kid is on his mobile. I imagine he's texting "M8 u wdnt belve how far i got on Call of Duty 2 last nite!!!"|
By this point, everybody had split into little groups and Berbs, Elisa, Ronald and I all walked back together...another couple of hours later, we were back at the truck and had about an hour to find some lunch (in this case for most of us, a falafel sandwich).
Wadi Rum was undoubtedly a beautiful place, but I'd recommend anybody who goes there to avoid walking it. There's loads of interesting formations to climb, trek or marvel at but we only got to see a little bit and as such, I can't tell you that the juice was worth the squeeze. Next time, I’ll be taking the 4x4 tour of the park.