After running through Petra our bus took us to Wadi Rum: the most beautiful desert in Jordan and, in my opinion, the world. We immediately hopped into the back of a pickup truck with our Israeli friends from the bus and bounced and screamed across the desert, swerving through the sand on a race to catch the sunset.
And what a sunset! I have never seen such a beautiful one, the sky and the mountains stained red by the sun as shadows danced across the mountains. Breathtaking!
And as night fell our whole camp turned into a party with music blaring from loudspeakers and everyone dancing together under the stars. To my delight they played Salsa music (truly, it's everywhere...) so I bullied Saif into learning. Perhaps in revenge he taught me a complicated Jordanian dance (for me) and the sight of a white girl shuffling through the steps after a line of Jordanian men was very amusing for the onlookers! After the music died down, I went out into the sand to look at the stars. I have never seen so many, they filled the sky until the darkness almost disappeared.
The next morning I couldn't sleep, and wandered to a nearby to watch the sunrise. It was so beautiful it ached. It seems like time has ceased in this land, and the sun shifts and plays across the sand isolated from the rest of the world.
Our last stop was Aqaba, a seaside town within view of Israel and few kilometers from Saudi Arabia. It was stiflingly hot, but we cooled off swimming in the sea and riding boats around the crystal blue waters. And I fell of a speeding Banana into the red sea!
We made some great friends on the tour, which brings me to now! I am staying with my Israeli friend Yasmine in a small Arab town in the north of Israel with our friend Semah, a Belgian girl who was also studying Arabic in Jordan. I am amazed by the hospitality of Yasmine and her family, who seem genuinely delighted that their daughter was followed home by a couple of students. Today to Jerusalem!
With my new friends on the boat! Yasmine is in front and Samah opposite me.