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.
What season can be better than warm months to conquer summits, overcome seas and climb on the rocks? People often make great efforts to enjoy the comfort through the whole lifetime. But sometimes our soul needs some romance, so OUTLOOK presents seven unique canyons.
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…
Many city dwellers are irritated by cats, dogs or even pigeons in the streets. Attempts of zoo-advocates to save them from attacks of people and from starvation are mainly ineffective. But there are wonderful cities in this world where people perfectly coexist with deer, peacocks and cattle…
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.
Canary Islands are not only the sea, beaches and cocktails. They are also the charred history of this part of the earth, the fire-breathing vents and salt mines. Especially hot temper among the rest of the islands, the land of Lanzarote is famous. Earlier on this land, volcanic eruptions occurred with an enviable regularity. Now, here tourists go to see the power of fire and magma and even look into the "underworld".
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.
Going to the Comoros a tourist wants to see pure exotic and immediately gets into an oasis of wildlife. "Moonlight" tenderness implicit in Arabic interpretation of the name "Comore" ("moon"), was taken from the neighbouring Madagascar, initially claimed to be called "Comoros".
Many travelers just don’t want to go into all the troubles to get an American visa for some two weeks of holidays. But having glanced at pictures of Puerto Rican Mosquito Bay they’ll change their minds instantly. Dark sea slick, silence… when suddenly mysterious green glow from the depth extends the darkness to shock the public on the shore.
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".
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.
In recent years Georgia has rightly become very popular touristic spot on world map. Probably, everybody will find something for oneself in this proud mountainous state: amazing nature, delicious food, devote and cordial friends and much, much more. Outlook try to visit it as often as possible and share all kinds of interesting stuff with you. Today we’ll tell about a marvelous Sataplia Reserve.
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.
A thing that for tourists is a reason to click photo cameras in amazement, for local citizens is a source for constant concern and even grave danger. A chain of fire-breathing volcanoes, banded with salt lakes and thermal geysers, is believed to be one of the most astonishing spots on the planet. But one thing is to have a look and leave and completely another – to constantly ‘sit on a powderkeg’.
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.
The owners of island Calala near the coast of Nicaragua offer to rent it for one million dollars. The island with the square of 0.1 ha has all the infrastructure common for such sea areas. The only thing unusual is, perhaps, price. The editions describing all the expensive things paid attention to it. What is proposed for one million?
Germans have other pets besides German Shepherds and in Boston not just Boston Terriers can be seen. People choose dogs relying on own preferences. But sometimes locals are too prone to having a certain breed so it becomes a distinctive of a location. Natural conditions, fashion and even set of mind contribute to it.
After the legendary Frenchman Jacques-Yves Cousteau and his colleagues invented and perfected self-contained underwater breathing apparatus, scuba diving firmly entered the list of the most popular, but unfortunately, unsafe hobbies. OUTLOOK warns and talks about the most extreme places to do scuba diving.
How many kinds of tourism are there? Gastro, ecotourism, shopping — there are probably as many varieties of them as travelers themselves — everyone choose what they want. Today we talk about people visiting places that have become locations for shoting famous movies.
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.
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, in the most distant parts of the world. We offer several options for such floral carpets for every taste.