Monday, May 30, 2011

Amazing Wadi Rum Desert Adventures in Jordan: First things first—Lunch!

Before we start our amazing Wadi Rum Desert adventure, we told our Bedouin guide who happens to have the sexiest 4x4 jeep in Wadi Rum that we first have to feed our grumbling stomachs.

Our lunch in Wadi Rum village and lower foto taken on the road to Wadi Rum village. The rock cliffs and rock formation become finer and stunning as we approach Wadi Rum.

Meet our cool Bedouin guide: Tyseer! I will tell more about him later =)

Tyseer, our Bedouin guide was very straightforward, he asked, ‘Do you want expensive where everyone goes to eat or cheaper but local-Bedouin food?’

Obviously, we chose the latter.

In hindsight the restaurant was a much better option. There were no hordes of noisy tourists, we have lovely views to ourselves and the food was quite local-style and not overpriced yet it was good. In fact it was too much food for lunch haha. We did not realize that it was a whole menu set (2 menu sets!) that Tyseer ordered for us. If we knew, we would have only ordered 1 menu set for the 2 of us.

Food rating: 4 stars out of 5!

We had hot chicken soup for starters.

Grilled chicken flavoured with Arabic spices and herbs, and Makluba (or spelled as: Magluba, Maglouba), a typical Bedouin rice dish with meat and vegetables.

Salad (lettuce, tomatoes and cucumber) and Arabic flat bread.

Our restaurant in Wadi Rum village and the breath taking views... and this is just a teaser.

The one running the restaurant sleeps in a tent inside the restaurant! LOL, funny I thought. Up on the wall (picture frame) is King Abdullah II, King of Jordan.

Next, the start of our Wadi Rum 4x4 desert adventure.

Travel Period: April 2011
Destination: Wadi Rum, Jordan

Amazing Wadi Rum Desert Adventures in Jordan: Introduction to Wadi Rum and the Visitor’s Centre

For starters, Wadi Rum is a government preserved and protected area located in the Aqaba province of Jordan. It is the largest WADI or VALLEY in the country, and this is where Prince Faisal Bin Hussein and T. E. Lawrence based their headquarters during the Arab Revolt against the Ottomans during the World War I.

We drove from Amman, Jordan's capital city all the way down to Petra and then Wadi Rum. Wadi Rum is about 60 kilometres from Aqaba. Map courtesy from Lonely Planet.

Because Wadi Rum is a preserved place and an important attraction, entry is regulated, and of course, commercialised to serve a vital purpose. Unlike its neighbouring Arabic countries, Jordan doesn’t have extraordinary resources to depend on such as oil, but fortunately it is rich in history. Tourism is a major industry in the country and is a big income generator for its economy. Locals are quite aware that their country benefits from tourism so they treat their visitors very well. Tourist police are everywhere in the country.

Entrance to Wadi Rum is 5 JOD per person and I believe this is a per day fee. The tickets are bought at the Visitor’s Centre. In the Visitor’s Centre you will find all information that you would need with regards to various desert adventure tours: 4x4 jeep tours, camel tours and many other types of fun and active activities. The tours and activities can of course be customised according to duration and what you prefer.

The Visitor’s Centre is a good place as well to scour for accommodations in Wadi Rum. There are a handful Bed & Breakfast types of accommodations (they are very basic) in Wadi Rum village run by enterprising Bedouin families, and of course for the adventurers who want to experience Bedouin culture at the core, there are Bedouin-style desert camps with ultra-basic facilities available in the heart of Wadi Rum. I believe there are options to camp in the desert on your own as well.

The Visitor's Centre, a few kilometers outside of Wadi Rum. The foto on the big poster is the King of Jordan, King Abdullah II bin al-Hussein.

The Bedouin brother of our guide.

4x4 Jeeps for rent for Wadi Rum Desert adventure tours.

Next, our Wadi Rum lunch.

Travel Period: April 2011
Destination: Wadi Rum, Jordan

Lunch date in Rotterdam: OBBA Lounge Restaurant

Last week was another one of my lunch dates but this time in Rotterdam at Obba Lounge Restaurant with MadamE.

It has been a while since I saw MadamE, with both our busy lives it is not always that easy to catch up with old friends. The last time that we had a date was last year October in Schiedam where we had lunch at the Schiedam old city hall now transformed into a Café bistro restaurant and afterwards we strolled a bit along the canals of Schiedam (I should be posting an entry of this, hopefully soon as I am so backlogged with my travel posts!).

MadamE is having her Turkish beer while I, naturally, my chilled white wine, and Turkish mezze for lunch (very similar to Greek--both countries does have an interesting history of animosity).

The food is quite good, 4.3 stars out of 5. We ordered the small serving of Mezze’s which are priced on a per person basis. I also like that they have an outdoor terrace, great for chilling out outside when its beautiful weather.

I quite like Obba which means the ‘King’s Tent or Harem’ in Turkish. It’s actually spelled Oba in Turkish but in Dutch it is Obba, with the double B. The lounge restaurant indeed has a beautiful exotic Turkish and Arabian ambiance with a bit of a kitsch-ish feel which actually blends nicely altogether. Plus it is located on the Rijnhaven in Rotterdam. You have tranquil views of the water, quite relaxing to the senses, and not some busy street in the centre.

There is also street parking nearby (going at 2 hours maximum, only coins and chipknip though), so handy.

The lounge restaurant is actually made of steel container van which rightly represents the city and port of Rotterdam, being the seaport of the country and the trading gateway of Europe.

And another foto souvenir together. MadamE, till our next lunch, or perhaps travel together? =)

Sunday, May 29, 2011

Iconic British Telephone Booth in Sheffield, UK

OMG, I got paparazzi'd yesterday in Sheffield while inside the iconic British telephone booth! LOL

Travel Period: May 2011
Destination: Sheffield (South Yorkshire - England), United Kingdom

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Happy Travels! Enjoy Life =)

Geese Traffic in York, England

If in my recent trip to Jordan they have camel, goat and sheep traffic issues, in England, they have, interestingly... geese traffic.

Mother Goose fairy tales and nursery rhymes comes to mind. As well as the Old MacDonald Farm song that I learned from my piano lessons a loooooooooooooong time ago.

Old MacDonald had a farm,
Ee i ee i oh!
And on that farm he had some geese,
Ee i ee i oh!
With a quack-quack here,
And a quack-quack there

Here a quack, there a quack,
Everywhere a quack-quack
Old MacDonald had a farm
Ee i ee i oh!

Oh dear, this brings back so many memories of my childhood. After school, I would have piano lessons together with my cousins at our piano teacher's house. We always dreaded entering the house because there is a large cruel mother goose guarding the gate and garden, and every time she sees us, she runs after our little butts! This mother goose bites really hard! It was a scary ordeal for us kids and it was always a riot and a laugh everytime we go there, LOL.

Best part of the piano lessons were the cookies and Archie comics. Good old days!

Geese spotted near Clifford's Tower/York Castle Museum in York, North Yorkshire, England.

Travel Period: May 2011
Destination: York (North Yorkshire - England), United Kingdom

Keep in touch and follow me on Facebook: Travel & Lifestyle Diaries by Dutched Pinay Travels
Happy Travels! Enjoy Life =)

Saturday, May 28, 2011

Postcards from York, England

Hi, I am in Yorkshire, England right now and just want to leave you with these postcard fotos from York.

This is not my first time in York. I was here a looooooooooong time ago. Unfortunately, I do not have much recollection of the city except having seen the York Minster and the ruin walls. This clearly shows I have truly progressed in getting old, lol. So anyway, I am back in York and this time, I left with tons of mementos that will help me remember this beautiful old fortified city.

More fotos and stories to come soon! Promise.

Travel Period: May 2011
Destination: York (North Yorkshire - England), United Kingdom

Wednesday, May 25, 2011

Our hotel camp in Wadi Rum Desert, Jordan: Bait Ali Lodge Camp

I like to travel in style and it doesn’t have to be staying at luxurious hotels and eating at Michelin starred restaurants, although I love to indulge every now and then—for me, in order to survive the holiday in good mood, the basic amenities have to be there, as well as some comfort of course. Now Blondine and I are faced with the challenge of spending a night in the desert... hmm...

We’ve read fascinating stories about travellers staying with Bedouins in the heart of Wadi Rum desert in Bedouin camps, and although this is truly an experience worth doing for, we worry about the conditions of the accommodations. Is there electricity? What about toilet? Where can we leave our car? Is it safe for 2 women to sleep in a tent? So many questions. Trivial perhaps for others?

Well I found this hotel camp called ‘Bait Ali Lodge’ in the middle of the desert, located just a few kilometres away from the environmentally preserved area of Wadi Rum. It is probably the only camp with a bit of frill in the desert so naturally we booked here. To give you an idea, it has a swimming pool and an amphitheatre. Yes, in the desert, in the middle of nowhere.

We will be doing the 4x4 jeep Wadi Rum desert adventure later but before meeting with the Bedouin whom we hired for the afternoon, we are checking in to our hotel camp.

See more fotos below of the hotel camp:

So how do you like this desert camp in the middle of nowhere? Not bad at all eh? Oh, I forgot to take fotos of the rooms... nothing fancy though, very, very basic.

Travel Period: April 2011
Destination: Wadi Rum (Aqaba), Jordan

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