The tradeoff for yesterday's comfortably late start is today's unecessarily early 7am start, and the hearty breakfast merely adds to the anticipation of impending doom. We're taking the Super Secrit Back Route into Petra, leaving the path and climbing up over the mountains surrounding the Siq. We're rewarded with views out across the ancient city before finally reaching the High Place of Sacrifice about two hours later, where we sacrifice a couple of members of the party for Crimes Against Timekeeping.

The climb down from here into the street of facades is steep and I wouldn't like to be taking the climb up from here. From the bottom, it's straight back up the Siq, which someone appears to have lengthened during the night, to the hotel, and packing for the next destination.

We reach the next destination by 3, the desertscape of Wadi Rum. A swift presentation in the recently constructed visitors' centre lies between us and a four wheel drive safari across the desert. My driver appears to be disappointingly sane compared with some - there's some intense rivalry between a couple from different Bedouin tribes, resulting in some spirited races across the sand.

The stops are:

A couple of rocks with early, pre-Islamic writing scratched into them.

Sand Dune of Doom - a hard slog up a sand dune to the top of a Jebel, giving unique views out across the desert in the earie afternoon sunlight. The 2-steps-forward-1-step-back trek to the top is an absolute killer and leaves me gasping for breath. Thankfully I recover with time to scramble around the uneven top of this rockpile and take in the panorama of the Wadi from this vantage point. The light is thin and earie and really accents the otherworldly feel of this sandy desert punctuated by monoliths.

Next stop is a cleft in a cliff face, with carved Umayyid script. The adventurous clamber a few tens of metres to the end of the passage.

Then there's a high up sandstone arch thing. Getting there means a steep tricky climb with no steps. Happily, I'm discovering that my sandals have some fairly unnatural stiction. I try to create a new route up onto the arch and end up scratching the crap out of the polarising filter on the end of my camera. Which is what it's there for. Once up there, the order of the day appears to be to photograph ourselves in shadow.

I make an attempt to find an alternative way down. Sadly my initially promising route appears to end in Certain Death, so I retrace and gratuitously show off my ability to walk down the cliff standing up. We finally reach our camp for the night after persuading our driver to have a brief play in the sand.

As the group shimmies up the nearest chunk of rock to watch the sunset, I get bored and decide to try to get a photo of the group from the front. Turns out to be a challenging goal - there are no easy routes onto the rock, so I take a fairly terrifying one, climbing up the steep slope with little in the way of handholds, and my camera dangling across my back.

Happily I make it to the top, and emerge to document the group waiting for the sunrise. It's only later I discover the photo bomb. I'm in no hurry to take the climb of death back, so I pick an only slightly less deadly route down on the theory that a crack in the rock means more handholds. It doesn't, but I reach the ground at the speed I intended anyway.

After perching on the rock for an ultimately disappointing sunset, we trudge back for a Genuine Bedouine meal in a Genuine Bedouin Tent in the dark. The evening's entertainment is music and shisha.

Bedtime is cold.

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