More than anything, Wadi Rum’s vast desert landscape makes it a wonder. Its moon-like surface is littered with huge rock formations, making it look like a Martian surface. It is around an hour’s drive from Aqaba and a desert wonder. Today, I ventured into the deep deserts of Wadi Rum. My driver, Issam, had to drop his car on the way because a car cannot travel deep into the desert, navigating its jagged rocks.
We finally took a truck with an open back to venture deep into the red sandy desserts crisscrossing the sandy dunes. I sat at the back of the Toyota Truck with Issam. The most amazing thing was seeing the large rock formations. Their sheer, huge Igloo-like tents were all over the desert terrain. These were to emanate for travelers and nomads who wanted to stay back and enjoy the night sky of the desert.
We then saw a large column of camels moving along with their nomadic keepers across the desserts.
The best part was venturing into the echo valley. This is a gorge where the echo comes back to you if you shout your name or clap your hands. It gets cold when one walks deep into the gorge, and there is a welcome tent made out for travelers who are served tea and khajur.
Sandboarding is the most exciting sport, apart from camel rides. This is where young kids carry large sake boards and sit over the dunes down a steep slope. Sandboarding is similar to skateboarding. The only difference is that it has over-slope dunes instead of ocean waves of icy slopes. This was the first time I saw sand skateboarding, and I loved it. I also walked to the top of a sandhill to enjoy the wondrous view from the top of a rock.
Wadi Rum is 60 Km from the city of Aqaba and is a wonder of sandstones and red rock. Wadi Rum is also mentioned as the city of Irum in the Quran.
We then ventured into a part of Wadi Rum where the shooting of Lawrence of Arabia took place. On the red sandstone is carved the face of Lawrence Olivia, who played the iconic role.
This was a place where the Nabetians once lived and thrived. There are huge tents that serve food and tea to fellow travelers, and they manage to catch a conversation with some local Sheiks, who are big fans of Shah Rukh Khan and Bollywood Films. Again, my role in the movie Rab Ne Bana Di Jodi played a significant part in forming friendships. The locals were intrigued to see a Bollywood city in this part of the world.” I also took a picture with Amitabh Bachan. He had come here years ago for a film shoot; I even managed to sell that picture for 500 rials, “a sheik told me getting very excited.
I walked with Issam deep into the rocky valley and finally found a huge rock, a perfect spot where I could just sit and meditate. I meditated full OSHO style, seated like a spiritual Guru on top of this rock, all the while Issam was making my videos.
We spent four hours just wandering around the valley, walking on its dark red sandy dunes. My shoes got covered in dust, but the experience was worth it. The price of hiring a guide is 75 riyal, and if one so wishes, one can also spend the night under the stars in the valley; there are enough igloo-like Martian tests in the area.
We returned by the evening, but the experience was worth it, and I was excited to see another wonder of Jordon, the desert and rocky terrains of Wadi Rum. It was the first time I saw people doing sandboarding, a new learning.