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Monday, May 8, 2017

DAY 12 - "Wadi Rum"...mmm? What?

"Lawrence of Arabia," "The Martian," & "Rogue One"

The Marriott Hotels in Jordan are amazing!

View outside our window - it's an odd-shaped building!

Amman is the capital and most populous city of Jordan, and the country's economic, political and cultural centre. Situated in north-central Jordan, Amman is the administrative centre and has over 4 million people. Today, Amman is considered to be among the most liberal and westernized Arab cities.  It is a major tourist destination in the region, particularly among Arab and European tourists.
Breakfast time is always GREAT with my cousins!

 A couple of churches we stopped to see on our way to Wadi Rum this morning.
A beautiful Greek Orthodox church

The Mosque is a memorial by the late King Hussein to his grandfather

 The King Abdullah I Mosque in Amman, was built between 1982 and 1989. It is capped by a magnificent blue mosaic dome beneath which 3,000 Muslims  offer prayer daily.

I enjoy watching the people as we ride along in our tour bus.
Amman, the capital of Jordan, is a modern city with numerous ancient ruins. Atop Jabal al-Qala’a hill, the historic Citadel includes the pillars of the Roman Temple of Hercules and the 8th-century Umayyad Palace complex, known for its grand dome. 

Built into a different downtown hillside, the Roman Theater is a 6,000-capacity, 2nd-century stone amphitheater offering occasional events.

The bus driver decides he wants to go back and take us by the amphitheatre again for a better look.  What does he do?  ....pull a U-turn and change directions after this car goes by.  Is he crazy?

Two more photos of this amazing masterpiece in the middle of the modern city!  WOW - still used today!  Wish we had time to go in - I would sing!!

A bit  blurry, but I love watching the Jordanian families enjoying time together!

Our guide, once again, pointed out some mansion homes that are in the area.  They look like castles!

This is where we stopped to have a break.  EVERYONE was smoking (inside)!!  I couldn't even stay in there 5 minutes - it was so bad!  Even school-age youth.
The Hejaz Railway was a narrow gauge railway that ran from Damascus to Medina, through Saudi Arabia with a branch line to Haifa on the Mediterranean Sea. It was a part of the Ottoman railway network and was built to extend the line from beyond Damascus to the holy city of Mecca. It got no further than Medina, 250 miles short of Mecca due to the interruption of the construction works caused by the outbreak of WWI.

The narrow gauge is not used for passengers any more.
The main purpose of the railway was to establish a connection between Constantinople (Istanbul), the capital of the Ottoman Empire and the seat of the Islamic Caliphate, and Hejaz in Arabia, the site of the holiest shrines of Islam and the holy city of Mecca, the destination of the Haji annual pilgrimage.
Our 1st glance at some beautiful red rocks

 Wadi Rum is a protected desert wilderness in southern Jordan. It features dramatic sandstone mountains like the many-domed Jebel Um Ishrin, and natural arches such as Burdah Rock Bridge. Many prehistoric inscriptions and carvings line rocky caverns and steep chasms, such as Khazali Canyon. The natural watering hole of Lawrence’s Spring is named after British soldier Lawrence of Arabia, who allegedly washed there.
The 7 Pillars of Wisdom - maybe I'll be more wise for having stood in front of it!
A few popular movies that have been filmed here:

"Lawrence of Arabia" - 1962
"Red Planet" - 2000 
"The Martian" - 2015 
"Rogue One:  A Star Wars Story" - 2016
These are the trucks that we'll go on for a trip in the desert.

Sitting down for our lunch before we head off into the desert.

Nice ambience that the Bedouins provided with our lovely meal.

Each one of us was outfitted with a red and white checked keffiyeh
John really just wanted to wear his Kansas cowboy hat!  Sorry John - we're all going into the desert sand dunes looking like nomads!

I wanted to wear my cap, so this guy helped me drape my scarf around my hat....yeah - a great sun protector!

This kitty sure wanted part of my lunch!

Two of us with our caps underneath!

We are READY for the ride!!

The sunsets are amazing here, so people come from all over and stay in these geodesic domes.

And we're OFF!!

Some great scenery where "The Martian" took place!

OK - who wants to ride the camels?
I do, but I am a bit chicken - should I?

Aww, come on lady - piece of cake!

So - if I had one regret on this trip, it was that I didn't ride a camel!  Maybe someday!

There were about a dozen from our group that did it for a 20 min. ride.  They loved it!

Wadi Rum has been inhabited by many human cultures since prehistoric times, with many cultures–including the Nabateans -leaving their mark in the form of rock paintings, graffiti,  and temples.
Can you see the petroglyphs carved into the rock?   12,000 years of human occupation

The 74,000-hectare property, inscribed as a mixed natural and cultural site features a varied desert landscape consisting of a range of narrow gorges, natural arches, towering cliffs, ramps, massive landslides and caverns. The combination of 25,000 rock carvings with 20,000 inscriptions trace the evolution of human thought and the early development of the alphabet.

The natural watering hole of Lawrence’s Spring is named after British soldier Lawrence of Arabia, who allegedly washed there.  I remember watching the film "Lawrence of Arabia" when I was a little girl.  Now I'm actually here!

This is so cool, isn't it?
We enjoyed having herb tea at the Bedouin camp!

Some scenes from inside the tent where the Bedouin people stay in the summer.

So relaxing with our tour guide.  He knows so much about all the places we go!

LOVE these rock formations - wish we could stay longer.  There is so much to see!

What a great day - sun and fun and super nice people!
On our way back across the desert, we encountered a terrible wind/sand storm.....quite interesting and scary!  Good thing we had our head scarves to keep the sand out of our faces.  The driver drove fast and we got back before it got too dangerous.

Interesting dogs - I've seen several like this kind!

Bedouins are so industrious!  They love their animals!

Our room is so nice at the Marriott Hotel - I'm ready for bed!!