The Red Sea, sunstroke and food poisoning

Wadi Rum sightseeing

The desert is great for dramatic pictures with a perfect background.

Saturday afternoon was spent discovering desert “landmarks” when they drove us across Wadi Rum with a jeep. You would think that it would be unbearably hot, but in actuality it was the opposite: I was cold most of the time and I felt rather pleasant in a sweater, although I did get a bit hot when climbing the sand dune.

The desert is full of pretty hills.

Colors aren’t uniform and boring but rather go from beige to dark red.

Wonderful red wall that could probably be climbed if you had the right equipment …

Film-like pictures, you have to admit. Tire marks from the jeep are also visible.

After a very windy and cold jeep drive, we ended up at Lawrence spring, where we got on the camels and slowly trotted towards the car (do camels trot? I guess …). Despite my experience with horseback riding, I nearly fell down when my camel was getting up, because they get to their feet in two steps, not one.

On the sand dune, I gave into my instinct and sat into the warm sand. And ran down, not walked.

Camel back view.

After the beautiful desert I doubted that I’ll see anything prettier in the nearby future and I was right, as I spent most of the following day with my face in the toilet. But now is not yet the time for this story. First we had to travel to Aqaba, a tourist town beside the Red sea, where we rented a paddle boat (sunstroke) and ate in a street restaurant (food poisoning). Despite this, I hold no bad memories of Aqaba that first day, because the sea was wonderful, even though it was full of jellyfish in some places and I couldn’t swim in it due to cultural reasons.

The Red Sea coast, where we rented the paddle boat. There are plenty of people but few swim (and only men).

Toilet seats in Aqaba 

Trouble began when my brother and I arrived in a hotel a bit outside of Aqaba, with optimistic plans of snorkeling in our nearby future. The Red Sea has beautiful corals, where you can see numerous animals and sea plants with shallow dives. Supposedly. I myself didn’t get to experience it, because soon after our arrival I lay down in bed and stayed the next 36 there with a high fever*, with regular visits to the toilet from this and that reason.

*My body stubbornly wished to outdo the outside hot temperatures and I fought a fever of 39.5°C during the night.

Our hotel was picturesque and perfect for snorkelers, but I only got as far as the deckchairs beside the pool.

My brother also didn’t feel at his best, so we spent entire Sunday in bed and hoped for better times. Luckily we had enough pills with us to suffice for a small army (that’s just the benefit of traveling with a doctor while being well-prepared yourself), but I still had the problem of losing more liquid than I could replace. When you feel like shit, you just don’t have the desire (or ability) to eat normally, and it took nearly 48 hours before I ate a real meal. I replaced the lost water with help of a hydration solution, which I never want to drink ever again, because the combination of sweet, salty and orange flavors isn’t good at all. But it helped.

This picture best sums up how I felt in those two days.

Tiring walk in Petra

On Monday we still felt weak, but we nonetheless continued our journey towards the ancient city of Petra, which is one of the seven miracles of the new world. Petra is huge and even though we walked about 10km altogether, at least as much remained undiscovered.

At the very start of Petra, you realize that the place is huge.

Petra was also a filming location – for the third part of Indiana Jones.

Despite my tiredness I managed to walk the main trail, with many stops, although the presence of any stairs caused me to gasp as if I hadn’t heard of recreation or cycling in my life. My problems began when we started the Monastery trail which (as I later found out) has approximately 800 steps. The last part of my journey was done on a donkey, which is one of the three transport means offered in Petra (the other two being a horse and a camel, of course).

I got to the monastery on a donkey.

I’m squinting on many pictures because I couldn’t wear contact lenses and, consequently, no sunglasses either.

The walk back towards the car dragged a bit, because we had to return the same way, reaching deep into the canyon. But if nothing else, you’re walking downhill, which is a lot easier, plus you can feel sorry for those people who are only now starting those 800 steps that you have already finished.

Narrow canyon through which you get to Petra.

These two horses posed too nicely for me to not take a picture of them.

I couldn’t wait to settle down in a hotel and just fall into bed, but first food awaited. That chicken soup, which was the first warm food I got into my stomach after two days, will forever stay as a good memory. It was my second-to-last night in Jordan and even though I didn’t wish to return to the real world, I couldn’t wait to float in the Dead Sea (and return home, too).

Continue (Driving on Jordanian roads)