The Desert of Wadi Rum, Jordan      (map, info, notes).

Much of David Lean's Lawrence of Arabia was filmed here. In a private letter Lawrence wrote, 'Of [Wadi] Rum, one said Numen inest [Divinity is here] ... [it is] magically haunted ... vast and echoing and God-like.' His biographer calls it 'one of the most spectacular sights in the whole of Arabia: a maze of sandstone whose continual process of evolution [is] so clearly visible that the vast boulevards and buttresses of red rock appear to be part of a living organism ... [Lawrence kept returning to these] great bastions of rock, skewered and scrolled and fissured and wrinkled by salt and sand and wind into shapes that no delirious mind could invent - delirium tremens embodied in rock and stone: landscape of the unconscious mind.'

Within an hour, we enter the majestic theater of Wadi Rum: haunting moonscapes, with hues of red and brown that change all day, twisted sandstone cliffs in a sea of fine sand; from high above they must resemble boils from a horrible disease. A series of valleys (Wadi means valley), each about a mile wide, that run north-south for scores of miles, Wadi Rum has been inhabited for at least three millennia. In the many crevices and alcoves that dot the desert there are Thamudic, Safaitic, Nabataean, Greek and Arabic inscriptions on rock - hunting scenes, religious symbols, the whimsical sketch of a traveler- caravans once passed through, laden with spices, frankincense and myrrh. Of the few hardy plants that survive, the Bedouin use some for medicinal purposes. Following the rare torrent, seeds that may have lain dormant for years briefly turn the desert into a sea of flowers ... (more)


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Across the desert

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And sand dunes

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In a 4x4 jeep

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Late morning

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Sandstone cliffs

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Red sand

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Sandy slide

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panoramic view

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Bedouin tents

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Ali on cliff

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Bedouin boy

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Many hues

Multiple shades of red, pink, yellow

Natural bridge

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Squatting rock

Looks like a plucked headless chicken


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Lone white tent

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Ali gathering firewood

To make some tree in the afternoon

Stopped for tea

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Jeep track

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Shades of red

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Early afternoon

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Driving across

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End of the day

Tent made of goat hair which has adaptive properties based on climate

Surveying the landscape

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Approaching sandstorm

It was upon me in about 20 minutes from when I first saw it

Getting closer

Gusts of sand began blowing hard, reducing visibility and lowering the temperature


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