American writer Jon Krakauer wrote: ‘To the deserts go prophets and hermits; through deserts go pilgrims and exiles. Here the leaders of the great religions have sought the therapeutic and spiritual values of retreat, not to escape but to find reality’. OUTLOOK journalist Yelena Rasenko tried not to escape reality but find it in Jordan in one of the most amazing deserts of the world, in Wadi Rum.
I was lying on shipskin and felt with my back how sand was shifting under me. It was changing shape, moving from beneath shoulder blades to lower back area, taking the shape of my body and carrying me deeper and deeper into its bed of multicolored grains. While adjusting to me, sand was grumbling like an old man from time to time but was bearing my weight patiently. I was deeply inhaling cold, almost black night air. Not far away two camels were slurping water from a scanty spring, Bedouins were warming themselves by the fire. Fire sparkles were coming off of flames to fly into the sky and get mixed with star scatter. I was getting ready to fall asleep in one of the most mysterious places on Earth.
“Vast, echoing and God-like” – that’s how famous British officer and traveler T.E. Lawrenece of Arabia described Wadi Rum. Huge land almost unaffected by time and humans, fragile ocean of sand that constantly changes its features under influence of wind. Even air there is penetrated with mystery and a sudden roar of a camel from far away is perceived like a prehistoric cry of an animal lost in sands. Case-hardened people insist that a day spent in perfect silence of Wadi Rum changes your mind and outlook forever.
There are no signs of modern civilization – only eternity exists, the same that reigned there hundreds of thousands years ago. It is occasionally pierced with a roar of a jeep’s engine that drives along a verified tourist route, or disturbed with a stomp of a caravan or sometimes a group of rare mountaineers passes by to vanish in one of ravines.
Very long time ago the desert used to be sea with Moon Valley as its bottom. But Earth kept changing and water left the place. Jordanians believe that part of moisture soaked deep into the ground and now Wadi Rum is a natural bank of huge clear drinking water reserves. First people began inhabiting these deserted lands about 800 thousand years ago. The land was called Iram back then, Nabataeans were its masters. Even now one can see remains of their dwelling here and there in the desert, though they look more like refined parts of rock formations. In due time sands became a shelter for T.E. Lawrence of Arabia. In times of World War I when Arab population rebelled against Ottomans, British officer created his military base among multicolored rocks. It was there were he hid his weapons, came up with his cunning advance plans and enjoyed mountains in evenings.
However barren land of Wadi Rum is misleading. It became home for eagles, vultures, sparrows, sand dune cats, scorpions and snakes. There is also “soapy grass” – amazing plant that grows in sands. When wet with water, it begins to foam and becomes very much suitable for washing clothes and oneself. Bedouins use it both in household and medicine in full swing.
Welcoming sunset in a desert is like watching birth of the world. First mountains acquire some sort of internal shine, then their edges take soft, warm shade of pink. And there they are, sun rays dancing on sand and groundcloth, gently touching eyelashes and promising new delightful day. And it seems like there is no more haste, like everything in this world has become perfectly clear and a morning cup of fresh coffee with cardamom is able of bringing true happiness.
At the bare mention of the word lake, our imagination pictures soothing, nostalgia-laden images of quite pond cosily embraced by the grassy hills. OUTLOOK prepared a selection of the most spectacular lakes, which will change your understanding of this work of nature. Each of them has something to surprise, whether it is unusual water shade, or frightening ability to petrify living creatures.
As a child I could spend hours gazing at the sky and spying majestic flocks of birds winging their way south. For a kid this movement was a real magic. Today my bookshelf hosts almost no books about magic, though I am still excited about feathered tribes travelling in hope to land on their winter grounds.
When I, as a little girl, for the first time passed my hand over trimmed bush, my palm got scratched with sharp edges of twigs and lasting arborvitae fragrance hit my nose. Mesmerized, I was not able to take my eyes away from the cones, balls and squares that surrounded me in the park of a small resort town. I felt like being inside a fairy tale, where behind the leaves I could notice a smile of the Cheshire Cat.
Good tourist is not just someone who is always quick off the mark and ready to embark on a journey any minute. It is the one who is also known for an ability to carefully plan holidays six months in advance. If you are one of them and already think where to go in summer - our next story about gigantic Issyk-Kul Lake and kinds of recreation there is for you.
With the onset of summer, many of us ever and again cast a glance at the calendar, waiting for annual leave. And since summer vacation to a greater extent is linked to the relaxation by the water, we usually associate it with beaches – desirable destinations that can be very different. Even if you already chosen your cherished gateway, and tickets burn your pocket, our collection of epic and unusual beaches is sure to amaze you.
Flower fields and valleys are impressive and attract attention of the most discerning connoisseurs of beauty. Multi-coloured deposits of fragrant plants adorn vast valleys of almost every country! We offer several floral destinations to suit every taste.
Each of us wants to escape rush of a city from time to time and lie low somewhere far from everything and anything. And it better be a place where one can listen to whisper of waves, feel light breeze and forever make friends with inimitably loud silence that muffles every disturbing thought…
Land-art is not simply the landscape design but also the whole direction in art which in thee 21-st century considered one of the most important when only lazy people do not speak about the ‘green technologies’ and environment. The names of stars of such an activity have sturdily come into the speech of the tutors, critics, and connoisseurs, especially they outline Patrick Dougherti with his unbelievable works.
When we hear about "water city", Venice immediately comes to mind, doesn’t it? Tranquil gondolas, narrow waterways, gentle light of the evening sun and ancient architecture create that heady romantic cocktail which attracts tourists from all over the world to the Italian city.
Each state has its own official symbols: flag, coat of arms and anthem. But in addition to the traditional "identification mark" there are symbols chosen by people, for instance, a favourite bird. It is about them OUTLOOK expands below. To register the people's love by document, in 1960 in Tokyo at the International Conference on the Protection of Birds was created the concept of "national bird".
Nine months per year Aqaba is blessed with perfect weather. It is time for sailing, snorkelling, water skiing, windsurfing, scuba diving or sunbathing. Travelers who arrive at this southern city from the north, say that Aqaba is like a breath of fresh air, a very sought-after gateway in hot winds blowing through the pink sands of Jordan.
A jewel-case of Turkey is full of pure wonders provoking an inspiration for fairy tale writer. When people first see blindingly white mountains in the midst of warm country, they experience various desires: someone wants to fall into white drifts and make a snow angel, as some people imagine that white cliffs taste sweet just like cotton candy...
Amazon River – the river that not only South America but our entire planet cannot be imagined without – seems to have been explored length and breadth. But somehow every year scientists find out something about it they’ve never thought of before. We tried to gather most interesting and least-known facts about it in our feature.
Lighthouse - this word evokes beautiful associations: sea adventures, storms, huge ships. And we do not want to dispel these thoughts, but rather to add fuel to the fire.Today we are sharing with you the quintet of amazing lighthouses!
The cold season brings not only such important things as wrapping into a reindeer sweater, drinking hot chocolate and once again reviewing Christmas comedies. Thus, sport has not been canceled yet, so OUTLLOK compiled top five ski resort bucket list for you to cheer up and get out of your winter sleep.
In the nooks of Earth we want to talk about people live according to very specific rules of nature. Here rains don’t start out of the blue and frosts don’t come unexpectedly. It’s much more serious. Should a good wind once bring you there, you’ll be prepared and may have a grateful memory of OUTLOOK.
Autumn promises that heat would gradually fade away and immediately presents with a choice: either to clutch at stewing days in warm countries or taste cool evenings and admire architecture without being distracted by sultriness.
Nature and heritage are above and beyond temporary drawbacks in infrastructure and services of Kyrgyzstan, which in terms of tourism is approaching to Georgia and Armenia. Let's consider this through the example of the cosy city of Karakol.
5 tons of water fall off into the ravine every single moment, roaring, raising steam and disseminating spatter in all directions. ‘Liquid wall’ of Iguazu Falls extends its crescent on the border of Argentina, Brazil and Paraguay.
Today Outlook tells about another inspiring example of how a dream can become a lifetime project. Creation of one of the most successful channels in history of television – Discovery Channel, followed by a huge media empire Discovery Communications, simply cannot but motivate to own great engagements.