Before we began researching potential destinations for our trip, I had never heard of Wadi Rum. I came across it on a travel blog that I like while reading up on Petra, and immediately filed it both on Pinterest and in my brain. Later, while traveling through Namibia, we were admiring the view of the stars from our campsite near Aus, one of traveling companions commented that he thought the best stargazing was in Wadi Rum – an opinion that reaffirmed my desire to visit.
Months later, when we decided that we would be traveling to Jordan, a trip to Wadi Rum became one of our non-negotiable items.
It was hard to tear ourselves away from the beach in Sharm el-Sheikh (sometimes I wish I was still on that beach), but, after a week, we finally packed up our bags and headed for Jordan. We planned to take a ferry across the Red Sea directly from Nuweiba, Egypt to Aqaba, Jordan, but we were unable to secure any concrete information on when this alleged ferry actually departed.1 Instead, we decided to travel overland from Egypt to Jordan through Israel.
(For those not familiar with the area surrounding the northern section of the Gulf of Aqaba – we were not before this trip – the Egyptian border town of Taba lies less than 15 kilometers from the Jordanian port city of Aqaba, separated by Eilat, the southernmost city in Israel.)
The first time we “fell back” out of daylight saving time in 2014 1 was on the morning we flew from Aswan to Sharm el-Sheikh, a Red Sea resort town on the Sinai Peninsula.
The situation was – to put it mildly – a bit disorganized. As background, Egypt had abolished daylight saving time during the 2011 Revolution, and the current government had only reinstated the time change in the spring of 2014. An exception (i.e., a temporary return to standard time), however, was made for Ramadan – since it fell during the middle of summer and an extra hour of evening daylight would have brought along with it an unwanted extra hour of evening daylight fasting. Because of this, Egypt was now undergoing its third time change in less than three months, despite having not changed it clocks at all for the preceding three years. Given the seemingly constant fluctuation, everyone we spoke with was somewhat hazy of the specifics of when, or even if, the time change was actually set to occur. Furthering the problem was an exceedingly confusing notice that EgyptAir had posted on its website, which seemed to state our flight would inexplicably be leaving an hour earlier than its scheduled 6:00 a.m. departure – already ungodly early.
Certain that chaos was unavoidable, we scheduled a taxi driver through our hotel. When he did not materialize at 4:00 a.m. to collect us, we were unsurprised. Luckily, Marc found a new driver on the street without too much difficulty and, after strapping our bags to the roof of the vehicle, we were off to the airport. We were so glad to be en route that we didn’t even mind getting stopped by the convoy on its way to Abu Simbel – we just marveled at the coordination it must have required to get such a large group of people organized at such an early hour on the morning of the time change. Continue reading Beaching It Up in Sharm el-Sheikh→