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  • Writer's pictureKirk

Fun in the Jordan Desert of Wadi Rum

Updated: Oct 3, 2023

As I said in yesterday's post, I enjoy interacting and having fun with the locals when I travel abroad. On a recent trip to the desert of Wadi Rum in Jordan I had the opportunity to encounter some locals having desert fun.


It's interesting to me to see what people do for fun in their environment. In snow states people like to ski, skate, slide, snowmobile, etc. But what can you do for fun in the desert? I found out a couple things.


For one they like to sand surf on the dunes. I regret I never photographed that to share here. But it looked like a lot of fun.


But what I did capture was the locals dune climbing in their vehicles. There's not a lot of vehicles per person out there so you'll see a lot more locals participating in cheering than actual cars attempting the climb.


climbing the dune


The vehicle starts at the bottom and gets a running start. They're not always successful. If they fail they back down the dune and try again. But there is a trick to driving in the desert I learned. You must deflate your tires! Letting out the air gives more traction on the sand. That's what this guy did after a first failed attempt and was successful the second time.


Locals cheering on!


Here is a video of a failed attempt:



Oh no! How embarrassing in front of all his friends. He must save face!


And he did:


Nothing like the cheers of the crowd!


I must say I've used the term "interacting with the locals" loosely here. I think they mainly tolerated me watching them. They hardly recognized my presence at all. I think they were likely wondering what the heck I was doing there.


I'd liken it to a group of Americans playing a basketball game and a Jordanian coming over to watch. We might likely do the same.


During my working years as an engineer who traveled for work a lot I noticed something. When I traveled (at the time it was mainly European countries) the people I worked with always made sure I was well taken care of. They always invited me to dinner with them in the evenings and kept me entertained. Now that might be because I was the one on company expense and they got a free meal out of it! But I don't think so. I believe they had a real concern for visitors.


In the USA we seldom extend the same courtesy. At the end of the work day we go home and often leave the foreign visitor to fend for themselves. Cultural differences that we probably shouldn't be proud of.

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