Riding Camels in the Wadi Rum Desert to Dining on the Nile

Day 12 – October 23rd, 2011
Jordan

Looking for some excitement we ventured to the Wadi Rum Desert on a guided tour to go for a ride through the desert in jeeps. Blankets were draped over the top of the jeep to provide shelter from the sweltering heat. It was another beautiful day with temperatures soaring to 30s+. Being in the desert the terrain was rough and bare…I was happy to seek shelter from the sun under the blankets covering the back of the jeep. Benches lined the sides of the trunk where we all sat.

The views looked similar to Sharm el Sheikh, beautiful mountainous surroundings. We enjoyed approximately two hours of uninterrupted touring thought the desert, travelling in our jeep convoy. Throughout our travels we saw small villages and huts where members of the Beaduoin tribe lived. Roaming the desert using only the sun and stars, they’ve inhabited the land for years.

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Stopping for a break to visit one of the small villages we were given the opportunity to ride camels. When in Jordan…

I always thought camels were gentle creatures but they seemed surprisingly angry. We approached the first group of camels and were greeted by grunts and groans. Blankets were placed in between the hump and the saddle which was intended for extra comfort (I think)…

However, the blanket was so bristly and the camels hair was coarse and itchy. It wasn’t a good day for jean shorts. I hopped onto the camel holding the handles on the saddle for dear life. I’ve never witnessed a camel getting up before…and it’s safe to say they’re very awkward with their motions. The camel I was on leaned forward while getting up on its back legs…I noticed my grip on the saddle was a white knuckle grip as I prayed I wouldn’t get tossed off on my first attempt. Riding around the desert, there was nothing in sight except for red mountains along the horizon and reddish sand. There wasn’t a single cloud in the sky. Riding the camel was the best $5.00 US I have ever spent.

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The tour of the Wadi Rum Desert was certainly worth every penny. The security presence in Jordan was very strong as well. Many military checkpoints and trucks equipped with machine guns. We even had a military guide accompany us on our bus to and from the cruise ship.

We were back to the boat safe and sound by 2pm, which was just enough time for an afternoon by the pool and a few games of Cribbage.

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Day 13 – Monday, October 24th, 2011
Luxor, Egypt

By 8AM temperatures had already reached 25 degrees celclius. After completing our customs check in we headed down to the bus where we were greeted by some more guards. I raced to try and get the first spot on the bus (since Shawn and I were always the last to get on the buses), but to my surprise, being first did not pay off either.

One of the challenges with going on bus trips is that you can never predict who will be joining you on the trip. My day was spent beside a man who had some of the worst body odour that I’ve ever smelt. Body odour early in the morning, sweltering heat and bus windows that do not open, made for a long day (over 8 hours were spent on the bus today).

The first 3.5 hours were spent travelling to Luxor, Egypt. Throughout this trip we were forced to stop every 10 minutes for military check points. Armed guards sat in what looked like tree forts. You would know if a guard was actually in the tree because you were able to see their guns sticking out the sides. We were provided with lunch at a restaurant along the Nile River. Shawn and I snagged a table for two along the windows. The hotel was beautiful and the buffet was huge. Food lined three long tables and fruit sculptures sat as centerpieces. We enjoyed a lovely meal with a gorgeous view then headed back to the bus to start our drive to the Valley of the Kings.

Upon arrival at the Valley of the Kings we were swarmed by little kids and older gentlemen trying to sell calendars, pictures and souveniers. They were extremely persistent, it was difficult to navigate through the crowd of them. I felt like we were being pulled in every direction.

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Since excavating work was still being completed in the tombs, camera and cellphones were not allowed…and since the guards all had guns, I wasn’t in the mood to test this rule.

To enter the tombs you had to walk down a lengthy narrow walkway in the dark. There was some lighting along the side where the railings were. It was very crowded and muggy and a case of claustrophobia ended up getting the best of me. I was able to make it to the tomb, see the amazing preservation then quickly ran out.

The sites were breathtaking, however, the men and children selling souvenirs were extremely overwhelming. It was difficult to enjoy a moment of silence to take in all of the sights.

On our way back to the bus one man approached Shawn and asked if Shawn would trade me for 100 camels and 50 chickens. Thankfully Shawn said no. I always thought I was worth a few more chickens, haha.

I was happy to stay on the bus after that trip. Our trip ended with a four hour bus ride back to the boat. The ride home was quiet as everyone was exhausted. Shawn let me have the window seat, the sky was lit up with an abundance of stars. I’ve never seen so many stars in my entire life. This was a very relaxing end to a long day.

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