Tuesday, January 28, 2014

24th January – The Desert and Wasi Rum and Lawrence of Arabia

Brilliant morning in the Desert….hard to take a bad photo today. Camels are out today and we are on the back of two jeeps. We stop at a number of scenic spots on the way back to the base camp. Wall art dating back to the first centuries AD
Gary tries to get a closer shot
are mixed with some more modern art like “Mohad was here, 2003”…in modern Arabic of course. We are surprised that the art is so accessible. Another memorable spot is where Lawrence of Arabia had set up his camp with the Bedouins.  It was wedged inside a canyon designed to be invisible from surveillance planes. Today it has a henna dyed cat and the compulsory souvenir shop. We buy some black bands for our head gear and olive oil soap.


Couple of 'locals'


Dersert Rats

Lawrence of Arabia camp
On to the base camp that is reputed to have solar heated hot water … a welcome luxury after a cold night in the desert camp. While we had that camp to ourselves, the base camp has a group of some 30 US students on a field trip. We walk out to see the sunset from a rocky vantage point and return to see a Bedouin 7 aside soccer match in progress on the dirt soccer field, along with a spectator crowd from the camp. We do our Aussie,Aussie, Aussie, Oi, Oi, Oi chant for our adopted side. Bedouins have great temperaments and the game was played in great spirit.

The evening we have surprise, surprise…a buffet!...but this time with meat cooked Hangi style under the ground (called a zarb)…..delicious. We are entertained by camp staff dancing. Noelene strikes up a conversation with the Tourist Policeman travelling with the US group. He and Riad are enjoying the “Hubbly Bubbly” water pipe …. Apparently it doesn’t count as smoking … we see them everywhere. Anyway it turns out the young tourist policeman (Jordan has a lot of these) has a university degree and is looking to do a Masters degree in Australia. When he hears that Noelene has an unmarried daughter about his age he is ready to propose marriage sight unseen. Noelene suggests he doesn’t know what he would be getting himself into…. We suggest three camels should do the trick….but perhaps we should ask Jo what she thinks first ...

Man in uniform...how about it Jo?

Sidebar – I find a personal connection with Yolie and Larry

 In casual conversation I find out that Yolie managed the development of the NRMAs initial Expert system in the 1980s. Larry was also involved. I started the Expert Systems initiative in BHP in the mid 1980s so we would have attended the same Expert Systems conferences at UTS in Sydney. Our common connection was Professor Ross Quinlan, who was at UTS at the time and the convenor of those early conferences on Expert Systems. So from two people I had never met before it only took a few days to identify a common connection (without the help of Facebook or Linkedin!).

Social Network Update

We connect with "Lawrence of Arabia"

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