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May 1, 2002

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Jordan first impression: it stands apart from the other Arabic countries we've visited: not noveau-riche like UAE, more liberal than Saudi, less bustling than Egypt. Jordan presents a modest face to the tourist. We entered at Jordan's southernmost point, a port city called Aqaba. This region serves as a meeting point for four countries; Egypt, Israel, Jordan, and Saudi Arabia crowd the end of the Red Sea, easily transited by a half-hour car ride if border posts didn't stand in the way. After using the morning to visit Aqaba's sites, we joined two Canadians, Dennis and Catherine, for a trip to Wadi Rum, Lawrence of Arabia's magnificent desert hideaway. The sunset splashed red and yellow colors over the desert sand, and then the weather turned windy and cold. We drank tea by a campfire while our Bedouin host sang to the stars (lucky for them they were too far away to hear it). We watched shooting stars flare in the clear desert sky before sleeping on the sand floor of a Bedouin tent.
Our crazy Bedouin driver thinks his jeep is a camel and he almost rolled it (with us inside) over this dune.
The wind sculpts rock outcrops into bridges.
Lawrence called the jebel, or rock cliff, behind us the "Seven Pillars of Wisdom." He spent too much time looking at these rocks.