• 12 . 04 . 11
  • Missing the bus to Wadi Rum forces us to accept the offer of a fast ride from a mysterious robed stranger.

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Wadi Moussa Rally

Parts of Jordan look suspiciously like Tatooine, but I didn’t think I’d ever get to take part in a real life Episode 1 Racer.

The only bus of the day to Wadi Rum was due at 6:30am, so when it hadn’t arrived by 6:45, we were a little worried. We had asked three separate people to book a seat the night before and maybe that was the problem because when they phoned to see where it was, it was 25km outside Wadi Moussa and still going, taking with it our hopes of a cheap journey south.

A few calls were made and five minutes later a knight, whose name I never caught, showed up to save the day. The bus had stopped and was waiting for us, and if we’d just climb into his pickup truck and pay 5 dinar each, he would get us there quickly.

Quickly, an understatement was.

Dressed in the traditional long flowing robes of his people, he looked every inch the Jedi Knight, and his driving confirmed that the force was strong in this one.

The lack of traffic and good quality roads allowed Obi Wan to take racing lines virtually all the way and as a result we did 25km in 15 minutes, average 100km/h along precarious mountain roads. I doubt Colin McCrae could have done any better in his prime. In fact, it was very similar to the Corsican stages of Colin McCrae Rally on the PlayStation, which made me even more glad I wasn’t driving as those were the stages where I always rolled the Subaru and lost the championship.

No such problems here despite the speed.

Acceleration up a hill, taking a z-bend almost straight, with tyres screeching in protest, fast into the apex of a corner and faster out then down, down, down getting up to 140km/h before getting late on the brakes and travelling almost sideways through a long right-hander. A brief respite in deference to a hairpin turn, then building speed again, past a police car, threading between two trucks and flying on.

I only really thought I was going to die on two occasions; once when he took a curve marked 70, with no barrier, at 110, and the first time he took a blind corner in the oncoming lane at 100, without even deigning to sound a warning beep. Not even Hanoi prepared me for this.

The view was beautiful as the sun caused the hills to turn to the light side as morning shadows receded, and Emily Benjamin commented that if we were to plunge off a cliff, at least we’d have a pretty last sight.

Fortunately, we lived to tell another tale and arrived at the bus in record time, allowing us to continue the rest of our journey at a more sedate rate. Under the loud protest of tyres our driver disappeared as quickly as he had arrived, probably off to Paris, or Dakar.