So, our Arabian day trip to Jordan turned into a nightmare adventure in the desert.
When holidaying in the Middle East (even in their winter), most of your days start really early in the morning. This is to accommodate for travel time through the desert to get to an awesome location, or to beat the intense heat of the day; which generally starts firing up around 12pm. Our day to Petra started at 3am! This was because we were staying in Dahab of Egypt, not in Jordan. So, we had to travel by bus from Dahab to a place called Taba, where you then catch a fancy Jordanian ferry across the Gulf of Aqaba to Aqaba, before getting on a bus, which takes you through the Jordanian desert to Petra. Altogether it’s around a 7hr trip – one way, with stops.
Before you ask “why on earth would you do that to yourself.” Our visit to Petra was a last minute decision, so, we didn’t have time to get visas or book any accommodation.
All in all, it’s an amazing experience to go through, even thought you’re a zombie for the first few hours of the trip. And by the time the buses are ready to leave Petra; anywhere between 2-3pm, you are definitely dreaming of how good it will feel to have your head on a pillow right about now.
I managed to snag a good seat at the front of the bus, all too myself, where I can lay down and try to get some zz’s before we get to the Ferry. Before I drift off, dad mentions he can smell fuel and is concerned. I shake it off and tell him it’s probably a diesel bus. I’m asleep for almost an hour, when dad wakes me to tell me we have broken down. So, he did smell fuel. The bus had sprung a leak. It’s still driveable, but the drive is concerned it will catch fire, especially in the horrible afternoon heat of the desert.
The driver calls a few other bus drivers, who were part of the tour, to check if any one has available seats to take his now stranded 50 passengers. No such like – all the buses are full. We wait 30 minutes on the side of the road (in the heat, as it’s difficult to stay on the bus when it stinks of fuel), for a bus driver who says he will stop and take a look at the engine. Unfortunately, there is nothing he can do – so he tells our driver to continue 30 minutes down the road to a fuel stop, where we can all at least get out of the head, and get something to eat and drink.
It’s now around 5pm, and with the sun setting behind the rocky mountains of the Jordanian desert the bus driver makes an executive decision to continue driving the bus, to see if we can make it to the ferry port. Which is around 1 and a half hours away and the ferry have stated they will wait for us. The question is, how long will they wait. Especially when all the other bus loads of tourists have already arrived and are now sitting on the ferry.
By 6pm (or maybe it’s 7pm) we are now stranded in the desert. The bus overheated and broke down. The sun has gone (along with the eat) and we are surrounded by darkness, save for the stars in the sky, and the small campfires scatters across the desert from the Bedouin campsites. Our poor bus driver is in such a state, we should have been back at the ferry by 5pm and back into Egypt at around 6pm. But instead, we are sitting by the side of the road in Jordan, waiting in the dark for help.
Than, at around 8pm – our saviour arrives, in the form of a Jordanian Truck Driver. He saw the bus and stopped to check if everything was okay. He works some magic on the bus, and gets her going again – but warns the bus drive not to stop – just go and head straight to the ferry.
It’s freezing now. None of us were equipped to for a desert night and the temp has fallen from a hot 35 to a now freezing 10 degrees. But we finally make it to the ferry – 3 hours late. The ferry actually waited for us, for 3 long hours – along with all it’s passengers, who have been sitting there for 3 hours. There’s a small cheer as we pile onto the ferry and away we go – speeding across the gulf.
It’s 1am by the time we get back to the hotel. Exhausted and over the whole day, we don’t even eat. We don’t even shower, we don’t have the energy.