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Wadi Rum

Wadi Rum is one of those places you visit and then think about for the rest of your life. A place so stunning and bizarre it permanently etches its memory in your bones. I ended up there with no plans or expectations, and no clue what was in store.

Niko is one of those travelers that can make any trip worthwhile. Introducing himself over a cup of tea, he spoke in slow, thoughtful, Finnish tinted speech as he explained that there were old Bedouin hunting routes leading all the way to the tops of the massive rock formations surrounding us. The paths up we're marked by small stacks of stones, and in the morning, he was going to find one and follow it to the top. My friend and I were welcome to join.

It's common for travelers to see Wadi Rum from the window of an air-conditioned jeep. If you have a few days, stick around and sleep right inside the park. The visitor center rents amazingly comfortable matressed tents for 3$ a night with big warm comforters and pillows, and Ali, the always smiling proprietor of the sparse general store, cooks decent $4 family style breakfasts and dinners each day.

Don't be surprised if you're asked in for tea by the occasional Bedouin tent you pass in the desert. The people are outgoing and engaging, and you may find yourself warming up around a fire as the youngest children in the family translate a conversation between you and your hosts.

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