February 2, 2011

Wadi Rum in Pictures

Posted by Evelyn Mervine

Lunch in the shade of a rock arch, Jordan, August 2007.

The Middle East is near and dear to my heart. When I was fifteen, I lived with a Palestinian refugee family in Jordan for five months as an exchange student. The experience opened my eyes to the wider world and no doubt changed the course of my life. Ever since, I have been drawn to the Arabic language, the Middle East, and to deserts. I studied Arabic for four years back in undergrad, but I unfortunately have never had the opportunity to study Arabic abroad and truly gain fluency in the language. The Middle East is a tumultuous region, and the semester abroad programs I signed up for kept being canceled because of safety concerns. Also, I had to balance my Arabic studies with a heavy science courseload.

However, I had the good fortune to have several Arab friends in high school and college. I was also adopted by a wonderful Iranian family (who are Persians, not Arabs) which hired me as a part-time nanny for their three wonderful children. I am still very close with the Iranian family; just the other day, the oldest daughter– who is now in Middle School– called me up to ask me questions for a science report she was writing on Plate Tectonics. She told me yesterday that she received a perfect score on her report, and I couldn’t be prouder.

In graduate school, I have had the opportunity to carry out my thesis research in the deserts of northern Oman. I hope to always do some geology research– and perhaps even teach one day– in the Middle East. There is certainly some fantastic geology in the region.

The recent turmoil in Tunisia, Yemen, Jordan, Egypt, and other Middle Eastern countries worries me, but I am hopeful for the region. The deaths of protesters and policemen sadden me greatly. I have great respect for all those on the street, fighting and marching and shouting for a better life. I hope there is soon a peaceful transition of government in the protesting countries, though I know the struggle will continue long after the streets are empty. In general, I think the biggest problem the Middle East must overcome is a very young population with few job opportunities. This is a problem that will take many years to work through. Again, I am hopeful.

In honor of all of those in the Middle East who are currently struggling in the midst of turmoil, here are a few peaceful pictures of the beautiful desert of Wadi Rum, Jordan. I took these photos when I briefly visited Wadi Rum in August 2007. Note that my blog header picture and my profile picture were both taken at Wadi Rum. Click on any of the photos below to view a larger version.

Wadi Rum Cliff 1, Jordan, August 2007.
Wadi Rum Panorama 1, Jordan, August 2007.
Wadi Rum Panorama 2, Jordan, August 2007.
Wadi Rum Panorama 3, Jordan, August 2007.
Wadi Rum Cliff 2, Jordan, August 2007.
Me with the 4×4, Jordan, August 2007.
Rock Arch 1, Jordan, August 2007.
Rock Arch 2, Jordan, August 2007.
Rock Arch 3, Jordan, August 2007.
Bedouin boy, Jordan, August 2007.
Bedouin boy 2, Jordan. August 2007.
Rock arch 4, Jordan, August 2007.
Petroglyphs 1, Jordan, August 2007.
Petroglyphs 2, Jordan, August 2007.
Petroglyphs 3, Jordan, August 2007.
Sandstone nodules 1, Jordan, August 2007.
Sandstone nodules 2, Jordan, August 2007.
Collecting twigs for the fire, Jordan, August 2007.

Afternoon shade, Jordan, August 2007.
Teatime fire, Jordan, August 2007.