The resort was spectacular. In Wadi Rum they were waiting us with dinner while the moon was rising over the hills. The trail of lights up the hill behind the camp are following a set of steps that bring you up the mountain to meditate in the silence of the night under full moon or at the sunrise.
The tent accommodation proved to be extremely comfortable and when the moon set towards the wee hours of the night the sky filled with stars that reminded me of the magic show that we had in the Australia outback, only that this time I was watching the northern sky constellations.
The morning sunrise under a sky filled with a broken blanket of clouds was inspiring so I climbed the mountain and watched till the sun came high on the sky and the Dutch girl teaching yoga in the camp started her lesson in the serenity of the desert.
Wadi Rum was in the thrills of “Star Wars”. Sony was filming and did some costume rehearsal and everybody was freaking out and did their best not to allow people close to their compound. Drones were banned and the regular hot air balloon rides at sunrise were suspended in order to keep the Hollywood secrets of the Planet of Jedha away from the plebeians of the other planets.
The promised “Jeep ride” turned out to be “Toyota Land Cruiser ride” and the two cars followed each other between the weirdly shaped mountains that surround an expanse of fine sand of various colors.
The landscape was used as background in a number of films, most notable the Star Wars productions of “Rogue One” and “The Martian”.
The cars followed each other in the Mushroom Valley, a place with a Bedouin tent and a formation shaped like a mushroom that was marked with signs by a crew for the films guys not to get lost in the desert.
After about two hours of stalking the guys from the “Star Wars” compound the two car caravan made his way back to the camp and in a short while we were driven all the way to Aqaba, the Jordanian border town on the shores of the Red Sea, from where we walked again over the border reaching much faster the Israeli side.
What is interesting when you cross the border into Jordan is that the narratives changes. It becomes more political with strong criticism for the British who are still blamed for the poor state of the Arab states and the fact that they installed in the Middle East puppet monarchies that they were able to manipulate and extort according to this discourse. Jordan tries to be relatively neutral in rapport with Israel but they show an obvious adverse attitude against Saudi Arabia and its new prince MBS who was vilified for the killing of the dissident journalist. On the same token all hopes are placed in Erdogan, the new sultan that might be able to revive the old Muslim glory and bury the shame brought on Turkey by Ataturk whom many perceived as a traitor of the real Turkish values. Wow, a completely different point of view!
The agency that organized the tour Fun Travel is for sure not so “fun” because they abandoned us for more than an hour in the sun and after that they sent two cabs from the town to take tours and, after giving totally confusing information, they dropped us all on the Eilat promenade, a place of hotels and restaurants and a pebbly beach where the only and great thing to do is to dive into the warm waters of the Red Sea and have a beer on the shore.
It took a lot of back and forth to understand when and where will come the bus that would took us back but eventually it happened and we were ported by a driver who was constantly fumbling with his music player and sent text and talked over the phone while driving at full speed on an empty Negev desert road. The drop off was the same as the pick up and we arrived around 1:30am at our hotels in Jerusalem or Tel Aviv.