Sand and Scenes from the Hashemite Kingdom of Jordan
Oh, Jordan. Where to begin. It’s my first visit to the Middle East, and there’s something surreal about being in this sliver of relative calm surrounded by conflict… Syria to the north, Iraq to the east, Israel to the west. The influx of refugees from Syria (more than 650,000 in the last two years) is having an enormous impact on the economy, and instability throughout the region is affecting both foreign investment and tourism. But what a jewel of a country… a jewel made of sand, but a sparkling one nevertheless.
We spent the first three days exploring Wadi Rum — a massive (720 sq km) desert in the south, known as Valley of the Moon. And it is nothing if not a moonscape… part of the reason The Martian filmed here. And, of course, it was also temporary home to T.E. Lawrence, i.e. Lawrence of Arabia. A live-action version of “Aladdin” is currently being filmed in one part of the desert… we saw a piece of set, but missed Will Smith (aka Genie) by two days.
Words escape me when trying to describe the vastness of this landscape, so I’ll let photographs try to do it for me instead. Tried some night photography, too, despite a near-full moon — those are at the end here. I’ve also developed a new obsession with a certain desert animal (and rode one for four hours under the desert sun).
Next up: Petra