Well – Lawrence Rode Camels

While eating our lunch in the shade of the rocks scrawled with Nabataean graffiti, we watched a camel caravan of expats cross the desert in front of us.

“We should have hired camels for the day,” Louise said wistfully.  “How can we come to the desert and not ride a camel?”

There were several reasons that came to my mind, and none of them had to do with desert romance.

After lunch, we hauled ourselves into the back of the pick-up truck.  Our enthusiasm was dampened after hours slogging through sand.  We declined Abdullah’s invitation to roll down the giant red sand dune and encouraged him to continue onward.  He pulled up next to another canyon.

“You will find more Nabataean drawings.”  He pointed to mountain.  “I wait here,” he said settling under a tent.

We walked down a small dune.  At the canyon entrance, a Bedouin was having lunch with his tourists and four camels.  Louise marched up to him.

“How much for ride?”

“Three JD.”

“Three? That’s ridiculous.  Two,” she bargained.  The Bedouin nor Louise budged.  We continued camel-less into the crevasse.

After taking photos of petroglyphs of men and women holding hands, Louise and I stopped for camel photo opportunities.

“I must ride a camel,” she insisted pulling out twenty JD bill.  The Bedouin did not have change.

“Here,” I said opening my wallet.  “I have change.”  I figured it was the least I could do after all the photos she took of me.

Perched on the camel, Louise hummed the opening score from Lawrence of Arabia.  The night before we left, she watched the entire 216 minutes featuring the young, handsome Peter O’Toole.  Her eyes looked dreamy as the Bedouin took her on a 3JD journey to our waiting truck.  I followed like the lowly, servant girl.

At the top of the dune, I found Louise and her camel surrounded by television reporters.  It was Jordan TV.

When I walked up, the camera swiveled towards me.  The lead reporter said something in Arabic, and the cameraman said to me, “Take two” before he turned away.

The reporter shoved a microphone into Louise’s face.  She began an exposition on the beauty of Jordan’s desert.  The men were astonished by their luck at having found an English woman riding a camel.  Louise finished her soliloquy and sat smiling.  The reporter nodded and turned to the Bedouin guide and spoke to him in Arabic.

Then it became clear.

The Jordanian reporter and camera men did not speak a word of English.  The Wadi Rum Bedouin had to translate for the hotshot, film crew from Amman.  When they said “take two” and turned to me, I called our Bedouin, Abdullah, to stand with me.  The reporter pushed him away.

I sent greetings to King Abdullah and Queen Rania from the people in Bahrain and blabbed on about something.  I doubt it will be aired.  Unlike Louise with her bedu guide, camel, blond hair and diamond-studded, gold hiking shoes, “take two” lacked glamour.

Left in the sidelines, Abdullah informed us it was time to go.  We said good-bye leaving the men without enough footage.

At the truck, Abdullah told me, “Tomorrow I will go back for my interview.  I told them no cameras today.  I want to wear a nice thobe.”

“It is better,” I agreed.  “Your future wife might see you on television.  You want to look good.”

To be continued…..


You can hike Wadi Rum, take a camel tour or a drive around in a truck.   We did not price the camels or walking.

The 7-hour, driving tour of all the key Wadi Rum sites cost 80JD for the three of us.  It included a sack lunch and water.

Along the way enterprising Bedouins have set up tent shops that serve tea.  Your guide will likely stop there for a drink.  He will also prefer to rest at lunch although we pressured ours to carry on. However, it is smart to be like the Bedouin and find shade in the hottest hours between 1-3pm.

HINT: If you are allergic to dust, take antihistamine in the morning and/or bring a scarf to cover your face. By the end of the day the fine red dust is in your nose and clothes.  I could not stop sneezing.

If you hike, then you must get up early to avoid the heat of the day.  Our camp mates told us the big bridge was a scramble not a hike and took two and a half hours.


8 Comments (+add yours?)

  1. cindamorey
    Oct 19, 2013 @ 15:31:54

    What an amazing journey!! You rock…


  2. Deborah Hope
    Oct 19, 2013 @ 22:23:25

    It is really weird that you guys are riding camels in Wadi Rum while I am writing about them in Sydney, where the air is thick not with red dust but the smoke and ash of bushfires that are circling the city. Love those petroglyphs!


  3. Kern
    Oct 20, 2013 @ 05:10:58

    This is certainly good fun, I especially love the “future wife” link! Such an adventure to be had.


  4. winfredpeppinckw
    Oct 20, 2013 @ 09:50:26

    We live near the Royal Camel farm and having seen them at close quarters, their spitting and biting, I am afraid I prefer my travel like I do my tea – without one lump or two – so you did well to stick with the truck. At least you can kick it if ever it brakes down without getting bitten in return! Love the Wadi Rum photos – it is a place that simply overwhelms.


    • Eva the Dragon
      Oct 20, 2013 @ 15:28:27

      And the truck did break down. Luckily we were really only driving in circles and it took less than 10 minutes for a village friend to arrive with the required rubber bands and duct tape.


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