Jordan: Wadi Rum & Handicraft Photos

This is one of my best photos from a previous Wadi Rum visit.

It was with pleasure that Susan and I visited Aqaba, Jordan, for approximately the eighth time. We previously (pre-Covid) attended the yearly conference of Middle East Nurses United in Human Caring. This conference was started by nursing-scholar-theorist-author-teacher Dr. Jean Watson, whose work focusses on nursing as a force for world peace. The Middle East especially needs her work.

Below are photos from the incredible desert landscapes of Wadi Rum, the huge desert area located about a ninety minute drive from Aqaba. It is our third visit to Wadi Rum, once again arranged by our Jordanian friend, Mazen. We experience something new every time we enter Wadi Rum. The landscapes are too large and impressive to fit in any photo. Wadi Rum is the landscape used in the hit movie The Martian (starring Matt Damon) and countless other movies.

Following the jeep driving in front of us, we set off into the amazing landscape.
This photo shows tracks soon to be erased in the shifting “seas of sand.”
Many “wild” camels roam Wadi Rum. Camels are very intelligent, so they know that humans provide food for them. Thus, these camels are semi-tame and have no fear of strange humans approaching them in noisy pickup trucks.
Barely visible, one can see that this camel is “hobbled” by ropes holding his front legs from running away. So-called “roamers,” usually the rebellious males, are hobbled, since they otherwise might roam as far as 20-30 miles away in a few days.
This lone camel can be clearly seen to be hobbled.
The young camels were seen nursing with their mothers leading their wanderings.
“Mushroom Rock”
That’s me and the Mushroom Rock. I’m wearing my Carson City Jazz & Beyond Festival t-shirt.

Below are photos from a single handicraft shop in Aqaba. Our fellow ship tourists contributed mightily to the local economy. Susan bought almost $200 in cosmetics, which she said would have cost double that in the US. I understand that feminine beauty is served well by cosmetic products produced in the Middle East. The perfume/fragrance industry is also very prominent in the region. We also purchased several year’s worth of Jordanian spices (which we will share with our friends). We bought cumin, sumac, toasted sesame seeds, and four types of zatar, one of the most popular Jordanian spices.

In my opinion, the handicrafts seen below are among the world’s best, or at the least, the best I’ve seen.

In the Middle East, knives are a strong tradition. (Similar to guns in the US?!)
The carpet industry is not as dominant in Jordan and the rest of the Middle East as in Iran, Afghanistan, Pakistan, or India. Shown above are mostly small prayer rugs for the five daily prayers required of practicing Moslems.
Ivory inlay is now supposedly made of camel bones rather than elephants’ tusks.
Chess is a popular pastime from India and through the Middle East. In my youthful travels, I played chess in Afghanistan with whom chess was our only common language. I’ve enjoyed the presence of a recognized American chess master on board the Viking Star. We recently reviewed the moves made by a 16-year-old Indian kid who beat the current world champion, Norway’s Magnus Carlsson.

Hi, I'm Dallas Smith

My blogs offer the vicarious pleasure for my readers to learn of my travels and musical adventures.
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Comments (8)

  1. Steve Scott

    April 5, 2022 at 1:32 pm

    Dallas and Susan. I have immensely enjoyed your travel blog. Thank you so much for taking the time and trouble to do this! P.S. Your Columbus, Georgia free lunch coupon is still good. I just changed the expiration date to “indefinite!” Steve

    • Dallas Smith

      April 5, 2022 at 7:14 pm

      thanks Steve! Looking forward to it…just don’t know when…

  2. tina nappe

    April 5, 2022 at 3:19 pm

    What a life you have been living. So much travel so many nationalities and opportunities for interaction. Maybe I missed it. Did you get to Petra? The first photograph is especially beautiful. I love the info on camels. Thank you. Thank you.

    • Dallas Smith

      April 5, 2022 at 7:13 pm

      Tina, Because we had been coming to Aqaba every year, I had been to Petra three times already, so we didn’t go there this time. Of course it’s good enough to warrant repeated visits.

  3. Arthur Rosch

    April 5, 2022 at 4:04 pm

    OH, you guys. Such experiences! Don’t your feet get tired? Or are you carried in palanquins? Keep doing good work. Well, of course you will.

  4. Melissa

    April 6, 2022 at 12:43 am

    As we travel around CA for this and the next 7 weeks, I’m reading your blog…very different types of travel. And no camels here. 😋 Enjoying the contrast, and all of your posts! The crafted things are stunning, and the landscapes amazing too. Thank you for doing this while you’re doing that, so we all can join you on your journey. 🥰

  5. Terri

    April 7, 2022 at 2:44 pm

    Fabulous. Gorgeous crafts. They remind me of Morrocco. The landscape also reminded me of the Sahara Desert in the south of Morrocco. What a trip. Thx for sharing.

  6. Christine Szymanski

    April 8, 2022 at 12:34 am

    Fascinating photographs of your round the world trip. Love to both of you. Chris Szymanski

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