This week we all traveled to Wadi Rum to experience life for the first time in southern Jordan. The four-hour bus ride was filled with Arabic karaoke and trivia on Jordan. By the time we arrived at Wadi Rum, it was clear we were in for a life-changing experience and a severe culture shock.
Amman, being the capital of Jordan, is arguably the most developed part of Jordan and the closest overall to a Western lifestyle. Wadi Rum is the complete opposite of that. There are no buildings, shops, restaurants, or traffic. The views consist solely of pink and red sand that graces the tops of high mountains and valleys. It is also significantly hotter in Wadi Rum, to the point where I still got burned despite using SPF 50 sunscreen every couple of hours.
(Left) My friends and I inside of a caravan heading to our tents in Wadi Rum and some camels relaxing under the sun in Wadi Rum (right).
Nonetheless, Wadi Rum is the ultimate escape from the everyday grind. We were also forced to disconnect naturally due to the lack of service in the desert. Upon entry into Wadi Rum, we were guided onto the back of decorated caravans which would thrust us across the sunny desert to our designated living spaces. During our time in the desert, we stayed in little tents that contained nothing more than a couple of beds and some blankets. After unpacking in the tents, we took the caravans again to the main section of Wadi Rum and toured the various parts of the deserts.
(Left) Our tents during our overnight stay in Wadi Rum and the Bedouins playing music for us as we sip on mint tea (right).
During the evening is when the desert truly came to life. We returned to the area with our tents and joined the local Bedouins for dinner. They cooked underground an amazing feast and prepared coffee with tea for all of us. I especially enjoyed the performance the Bedouins gave. It included guitar playing, dancing, and candle lighting. The whole experience was extremely relaxing, and I witnessed a lifestyle completely different from the one I am accustomed to back home or even in Amman.
Wadi Rum also taught me how much diversity exists within Jordan in regard to its people, lifestyles, and landscapes. I believe for anyone, Wadi Rum is a life-changing experience—just bring enough sunscreen!