A hot wind from the Arabian desert makes our little walkabout in Aqaba more than a nightmare in 46 degree (115 F) heat of the afternoon sun. Stepping outside, I can barely breathe. (Now I regret having that glass of rosé with lunch.) But nothing will stop us from embarking on our Wadi Rum adventure tomorrow.
I get us off the ship before 8am, and we’re up there in the desert in an hour – in Wadi Rum, the valley of small mountains – before the heat gets really bad. (Of course, there’s some brilliant organisation on my part!)
The feared open-sided ‘jeep’ in reality turns out to be an enclosed 4WD, with a good Bedouin driver to expertly slide over shifting sand, and miss most bumps.
Entering into this ‘valley of the moon’, the “The Seven Pillars of Wisdom” looms. Wadi Rum may be best known for its connection with British officer T. E. Lawrence, who passed through several times during the Arab Revolt of 1917–18. In the 1980s one of the rock formations in Wadi Rum was named “The Seven Pillars of Wisdom” after Lawrence’s book penned in the aftermath of the war, though the ‘Seven Pillars’ referred to in the book have no connection with Rum.
Back to the ship before 12 in time for a shower, and lunch. We didn’t bother with the eco-walks or climbing mountains in the searing heat like some other poor souls.
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