Friday, January 29, 2010

Riding in Wadi Rum, Jordan, Dec 09

Okay, so we promised this one and it's been a long time coming. Put it down to the start of a new year with jobs being incredibly hectic and barely enough time for ourselves! Ironically it was a return visit to the Moroccan cafe at Bussorah St. with its fantastic Middle Eastern food that finally galvanised me to finish this.

This one's about a ride done in early December 2009 when I visited the Middle East. It was a whirlwind self drive two week tour of Syria, Lebanon, Jordan and Israel in which I "cunningly" allotted myself some time to take off on my own and indulge in some horse time where Lawrence of Arabia once rode with the Bedouins.

Even if you don't get to ride there, Wadi Rum has to be one of those 100 places to see before you die. The vista is incredible and pictures hardly do it justice. Taking it in with the good company of a horse and a guide is icing on a rich cake.

The horses are Berber and housed in an outdoor paddock. That and the environment they live in I think, makes them well muscled and strong. Ra'ad (Thunder in Arabic, and affectionately called Bubu) - my horse for the few hours, more than proved he had a lot to give. As we started to trot and canter on the trail, his powerful strides outdistanced my guide's filly and I swear it was because he was a "gentleman" as my guide described him - that I could hold him back, and even then, I was hard pressed.

Out there in the desert though, I had no worries about him racing away. My guide was not keen on galloping that day, and that was probably the only reason that I strove to hold Bubu in. Otherwise I would have been deliriously happy to just let him go. Even if he bolted, there was no worry about roads, traffic, trees or people. Only camels and sheep.

Though it was supposed to be a full day ride, my guide was worried about the weather. As luck would have it we were rained on the day before at Petra, and true enough as we ended the 2 hour morning ride at the stable, it began to drizzle. Lunch was a simple eggplant stew with canned tuna and pita bread and after that, it was decided to cancel the afternoon ride, much to my dismay.

My ride was with Jordan Tracks, a company recommended by Jordan Jubilee which is a travel info blog that I used for research when planning the trip. The company founder, Mr Saleem was my guide for the day. He was a friendly and affable companion and tried to teach me an Arabic song as we rode. Their sweet hound dog Wardah came along to be our companion for a while when we stayed over at their campsite in the desert. The company does six or seven day trips as well and it is my fond hope that one day in the future I will return to ride in the desert.

Information and Rates:
It is best to visit the website or email Jordan Tracks for current rates.
My one day with overnight was quoted at 100 JD.
Website: Jordan Tracks

Website: Ruth's Jordan Jubilee