Light, camera, action! You may not know Wadi Rum, but you might have seen it if you’ve been to many movies where there are miles of endless sand and strange, sandstone mountains in the background. Wadi Rum means Valley of the Moon in Arabic.
The Star Wars movies, the Martian with Matt Damon, the Transformers, and Lawrence of Arabia were all filmed here, just to name a few.
We rode in pick up trucks with padded bench seats for six and took off across endless miles of desert. Thank goodness for cushioned seats…it was certainly a wild ride sliding and bumping on the sand!
These sandstone mountains have been carved by the strong wind that blows across this desert. Actually, Jordan is 85% desert. Five percent of the people in Jordan are Bedouins…nomadic people who live off the land, moving from place to place, keeping sheep and goats, following the grazing lands and water supply.
The striped tent on the right above, is a Bedouin shelter, where they offered us a welcomed hot cup of tea to warm our freezing hands after being in the harsh, cold, 55° wind this morning. That large rock in the forefront is a commemorative memorial to Thomas Lawrence, the real Lawrence of Arabia, who lived in a tent, on this spot. He worked as a liason during the Arab revolt against the Turks during the Ottoman Empire. His face is carved into this rock, and I have to tell you, Peter O’Toole looked a lot like the real guy.
Carved by the wind for centuries, these mountains look like nothing I’ve ever seen before. They give the appearance as though the mountains are melting, like hot fudge dripping down vanilla ice cream on a blazing hot afternoon. Zoom in on the photo…they are just mezmorizing, mystical, and other worldly.
This ancient petroglyph shows a camel caravan trading frankincense and myrrh along the trade route through Petra. Archeologists have traced this back to the Nabataeans of Petra, which dates this back to the 4th Century BC. It’s a mystery how these markings could last such a long time given the fact that the sandstone mountains constantly shift and change. What secret skills did these people know?
This exotic expanse of desert is a place that has become known for tourists who want adventures with the local Bedouins guiding you though for trekking, rock climbing, sleeping in luxury tents, or just riding camels through the terrain.
I think I need to go home and watch Lawrence of Arabia again. It will have a lot more meaning to me now that I’ve tried to cross a bit of this desert myself.