Posts tagged “desert

Sharm El Sheikh

Posted on March 8, 2012

The rain came down without any warning. But this was not just normal rain. It started with a few drops then the dark skies suddenly erupted and dumped their deluge on the hotel. One minute we were dining in the Arabic restaurant, the next, a large hole appeared in the ceiling and a torrent of water poured through. Our waiter, Mohammed, looked up, smiled and asked if we would like any drinks. Reassured by his presence we ordered beer and wine and tried to ignore the chaos around us. A waterfall appeared by the entrance and the restaurant started to flood. We raised our feet and carried on eating. Waiters donned makeshift macs made from blue plastic bags and attacked the water with brushes…

The Baptism Site, Dead Sea, Mount Nebo and Madaba-Jordan

Posted on January 31, 2012

The first thing you notice when you drive down from Amman to the Dead Sea is that your ears suddenly pop. That’s hardly surprising when you consider that you are dropping from 780 metres to 423 metres (1118 feet) below sea level, the lowest point on the earth. The second is the sudden change in the landscape. Gone is the sprawling, heavily congested metropolis that Amman has become, home to some 2 million people.  In its place is a landscape of almost biblical proportions with brown, sun-baked hills sweeping down to the rich Jordan Valley below with the West Bank and Jericho shimmering in the distance. Lastly, is the sudden increase in temperature. 30 in Amman rapidly gives way to 45 in the space of little less than an hour. …

Aqaba, Jordan

Posted on January 31, 2012

Think Aqaba. Think Lawrence of Arabia and that wonderful scene in David Lean’s iconic film with Peter O’Toole, in full Arab regalia, astride his camel, shouting ‘tut, tut, tut’ as the Arab tribesmen gallop across the desert toward the unsuspecting Turks, holed up in their impregnable fortress, overlooking the Gulf of Aqaba. Or Omar Sharif, making his screen debut, emerging from the shimmering mirage and shooting Lawrence’s manservant dead for daring to take water from his tribe’s well. Shooting a man dead for simply filling his satchel with water would appear abhorrent to the average Westerner, regardless of the time setting. But venture out into the desert around Aqaba at the height of summer when temperatures exceed 122°F (50°C),  and you will understand that water is…