Sunday, January 22, 2012

Sandboarding with Suleiman

Another highlight of last month was a two day visit to the desert with guests from the US.  We took a jeep out past Um Ishreen with Ahmad Radi and there we met my favorite guy from Rum Village, Mr. Suleiman Sabah - the owner of one of the only sandboards in Wadi Rum.  With board in hand we climbed some really awesome sand dunes and then flew back down again!  A great way to spend a morning!

Suleiman with Sandboard

Thursday, January 12, 2012

Adventures with Mosa

As I mentioned in my previous post, some of my greatest adventures and best personal encounters have happened as a result of my involvement with couchsurfing.  Last winter, I hosted Echo from China and through her visit I met Mosa Rawajfeh - a fellow couchsurfing host in Disi, who, over the past year, has become one of my dearest friends out in the desert.  Mosa has been working in the field of tourism in Jordan for the past four years and, in addition to managing a small camp in Wadi Rum, also acts as a local guide in Petra.

Time spent in Petra with Mosa is a fascinating experience.  He lived and worked in the site for about a year.  Not only does he know everyone who works there and is greeted with great respect, he also knows the secret places and is the perfect guide for their exploration.

Last month, I had a group of visitors from the US and we had the great pleasure of exploring Petra's undiscovered spots with Mosa.  On the first day, we started in Little Petra.  Located about 10 km from the main site, Little Petra was where the Nabateans diverted the caravans that passed through carrying incense from the lands of southern Arabia.  Little Petra is also host to the ruins of a Neolithic village, which dates back about 10,000 years.  From Little Petra, we hiked to the Monastery, a mountain top facade that was the tomb of one of the Nabateans' greatest kings.  This hike was a special experience for us all as it allowed to us to avoid the mobs of tourists who visit the main parts of the site.  On the second day, we entered the site through the traditional main siq entrance but then had our lunch close to the Snake Monument which is on the path to Jebel Haroun, the purported resting place of the Prophet Aaron.  On our way back we exited the site through Wadi Al Mudlem - the 'dark wadi' and a secret Petra side entrance.  A very narrow canyon route, Wadi Al Mudlem involves clambering between narrow walls and scrambling up rock piles deposited by the spring rains.  A real adventure and something I'll look forward to doing again soon!

Mosa on the road from Little Petra to the Monastery