I planned to drive from the west (the coast) towards the east, south from Wadi Rum, and then enter the protected area from southeast. After crossing 120 kilometres of desert, I turned towards northwest and tried to make my way through the valleys, filled with soft sand, and the surrounding mountains, to reach Wadi Rum. We're talking about 1400 metres of altitude here. After having a cup of tee with a bedouin in one of the valleys I tried to continue the journey. Since he was sick, he had a headache and problems with his lungs, I gave him about a litre of my water (I only kept 2 decilitre for myself, since I was “so close to the end”) and my last banana. But things got complicated: I got lost in a labyrinth of valleys. They were all curved and gave you no clue as to which direction they were leading to. The valleys were scattered with rocks and it felt slightly discomforting to see the sun setting down upon the hills, considering that I drove the last 40 kilometres through an area where I only stumbled upon one set of car tracks, which didn’t look to recent either. I had told them in Aqaba that if I wasn't back until 8 p.m. something was wrong. That's why sleeping in the desert was out of the question (the bedouin offered me a spot beside his fireplace). I stared in the depth from the gable of the valley: the descent started with a steep sandbank, and continued over big smooth rocks which I figured I could cross. But how far could I go? Would the rocks allow me to drive through the valley? And would I be going in the right direction? If I take a scout around by foot, the night will fall. It's probably not a basin but a torrential valley, which means there has to be a way out of it. But, if something goes wrong, will I manage to get back to the gable of the valley? Never! I made a stupid mistake. You know the rule about learning about new terrains from the bottom up? I drove down the sandbank and when I realized the rocks were overhanging, there was nothing else for me to do but to turn the horses and go back to Aqaba the same way I had come. And now a task for the experienced: a 3 metre run on the rock, and then a steeply rising dune of fiiiiine sand. No way. Even when I took all the load off the bike it just kept digging in, despite the efforts of all the muscles of my feet and arms. And when I had to lean the KTM to the side and was pulling it up the sandbank, puffing my lungs out, I was angry with myself for only eating two bananas and some biscuits that day. Boys and girls, don't try this at home. If you crash in the mountains back home, sooner or later a hiker, a farmer or a hunter will find you. Before they find you here, there's not going to be much of you left.

 

The contract of the Polish-Ukrainian trio, Chris, Catherine and Aldona, who were performing in Mövenpick hotel in Aqaba, has expired. Aldona, who was snapped up helter-skelter by Zbyszek and Katia (that's their real names) in Poland, because the hotel wanted a trio, went back home and the other two signed a new contract in Amman and will be singing in an Irish pub in a quarter called Abdoun for the next couple of months. The fact delighted me as much as them, since we have become good friends.

 

I made my last dive on Friday in the diving centre Dive Aqaba (Ashraf, Gareth and Gary), where a Slovenian girl from Bled called Anja (who, by the way, will come back to Aqaba) also worked. Saturday I went to Amman to get my friend the translator who will be spending a week getting acquainted to the Hashemite Kingdom. Brrrr! Cold and snow! Terrible! Only the coast of the Dead Sea has a pleasant 24°C.

 

I told myself long ago I would drive these roads with high beams, no matter what the traffic was, if I didn't feel comfortable on the road. But, of course, I still don't do it. And the result: I drove into a big hole, going 110 km/h. I’ll have to have the poor Partner’s chassis geometry set up, plus I'll need to buy a new wheel disc and figure out what else I can do with the cover. I'm glad the tyre didn't get cut.

 

Yesterday the Syrians made sure I have a new challenge in my life. I have to get back to Slovenia in the beginning of March with all my vehicles. You have to get a visa from Amman to pass from Jordan to Syria. And this afternoon I got my passport back without a visa, because I don't have a place of stay in Jordan. I can forget taking the boat from Israel, since the 550€ is only the price for the accompanied vehicle to get to Monfalcone, while the person accompanying it has to take an extra 728€ out of his wallet. The alternative is a cargo transport of only the vehicle, which in my case would cost 850€ (ooof!), but after the port of Ashdod and Monfalcone they would transport my apartment with the trailer themselves. Yeah, right! Like I was born yesterday!!!

 
So, a new challenge (some might say a problem) is ahead of me.

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