One often has to put his or her life in the hands of others when travelling in certain countries and thats exactly what I had to do on my return from Wadi Rum. En-route back to Petra I was basically dumped on the Desert Highway with a couple of random passengers we’d picked up after leaving the village behind.
After about 10 minutes waiting for a bus a car pulled up and the driver seemed to know one of the Jordanian guys and before I knew it I was (kind of) hitching a lift to Aqaba in the very southern part of the country. It wasn’t quite plain sailing though as some authorities stopped the driver for speeding and (possibly) a dodgy license (I couldn’t quite work out that bit!). In fact there was quite an authoritative presence along the highway with a constant stream of military vehicles (with guns) going up and down the road.
Anyway, by 10.15am I was in Aqaba and the driver very kindly dropped me off at the bus station to book my ticket for later that day to Amman which I thought best as I’d need to start early the following morning and didn’t want to waste a day travelling back in the daytime. I offered to pay the driver the fare I’d have spent on the bus but he wouldn’t hear anything of it.
Having brought my snorkel and mask with me I thought I had better make use of it so I just flagged down a taxi which I took to a beach near the Royal Diving Club (right on the Saudi border) where I achieved my goal of swimming and snorkelling in the Red Sea. There weren’t too many fish (only bottles and cans among the coral which is a shame but Jordan is one of those places where the locals don’t really look after their own country in terms of trying to keep it clean) but the water was very clear and after an hour there, where I also saw a camel in the sea, I took the taxi back to the station and treated myself to a Burger King lunch before taking the 4.5 hour bus ride back to Amman.