Dispatches

Aqaba

An oasis after a wilderness of mountains and desert, and an aqua-adventure junky’s paradise.

It’s dusk here. The sun has dipped below distant Egyptian mountains. A crescent moon is rising in its place, dribbling its white light across the blackened waters of the Red Sea. The lights of Eilat, Israel are pulsating almost within touching distance on my right while the call to prayer from the mosque on my left fills the air.

Welcome to Aqaba.

For any fan of history, Aqaba was the city that Lawrence of Arabia (him again!) and the forces of Emir Faisal, Abdullah al-Hussein and Auda Abu Tayi succeeded in taking from the Ottoman Empire during the Arab Revolt of 1917. It is Jordan’s only port, an oasis after a hostile wilderness of mountains and desert, and an aqua-adventure junky’s paradise.

Tomorrow we’ll head off and try some snorkelling in the Red Sea…but for now, I’m just enjoying the sights and sounds. 

Nov. 16, 2012, 3:25 p.m.