Sunday, December 25, 2022

Wadi Rum and a Camel Dumb

Our last day in Jordan was about to unfold.

The bus stopped at a scenic overlook on the way out of town and we could see a tiny Petra from above. I thought that was a cinematic end to that quest.

Speaking of cinematics, Wadi Rum has served as a filming location for all kinds of films including Lawrence of ArabiaPrometheusThe Martian, Rogue One: A Star Wars StoryStar Wars: The Rise of Skywalker, DuneJohn Wick: Chapter 4, etc. It seems that if you want to pretend to be in the desert or on Mars, this is the place. I downloaded an app that shows you a map of filming locations and what scenes correspond to them.

I'm sorry but whenever I see a bunch of beat up Toyota pickups in the desert I think Al Qaeda.

There were camel petroglyphs in the rock.

I about died getting on this camel. Its saddle wasn't tied tight enough and it was sliding all over the place when the camel stood up. Camels' legs are so goofy that the initial standing up portion of the ride feels like riding a mechanical bull. Luckily Ali was on hand to yell at the camel herders and get me a replacement camel.

In fairness to the Beoduins I am partially to blame for getting a bum camel because I was the last one to mount up. I was having too much fun documenting other people's angry camels.

We had our Christmas lunch in another moon base structure. I had honestly forgotten that it even was Christmas but they had a friendly Christmas tree inside.

I mentioned to Ali that I was in the market for one of the awesome coats I kept seeing the Bedouins handsomely sporting. He made it happen. One of the locals who "knew a guy" made a special trip in his truck and brought several styles and colors for me to inspect. I think it cost a little less than $40. 

I had officially become one of the cool kids. The other people in our tour group saw me buying this coat off the back of a truck and were BIG jelly. Hello is this the Jelly School? I have a tour group here who is extremely jelly, and I was seeing if you could take them in for a few weeks?

Strangely I don't think I ever knew the candy coated almonds I buy at Italian grocery stores are actually referred to as "Jordan Almonds". Well they also had Jordan chickpeas so I was forced to get involved.

We had to immigration check point to get back into Israel was horrid. I'm still hazy on the details, but I think that Palestinians aren't allowed to use the Israeli airports so they have to leave the country over land then fly out of Jordan. So I got the feeling that we were caught up in a system that was purposefully made to be horrible. There were conveyor belts we had to put our luggage on to be scanned, then there was an area we had to sit and wait in for the luggage to go through. There was a screen everyone trapped in this holding area had to watch for their passport number to come up on before they were allowed to continue through the process. Another family from our tour including some sort of Canadian embassy employee was also trapped in this process with their three young children. Things took so long that we were worried that the bus would leave without us. I think it was the most unpleasant border experience I've ever seen.

We overcame our border obstacles and were able to make it back to Jerusalem with our luggage intact.

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