There isn't much to say about Wadi Rum that hasn't been said. It looks like a Martian landscape, and it's crisscrossed by jeep tracks. For the better part of a day I explored some of its features with a guide, and at sunset I watched a red, dusty glow descend over the landscape.

But the highlight was spending the late hours of the evening walking across the sands with two Kuwaiti scholars of Arabic (one of them a lyrical novelist), and a Yemeni beduin. On a dune under a small cliff we built a little fire and brewed sweat beduin sage tea. They recited poetry and howled at the moon and we found common humanity bare of the structures of society or the light of day. A little before midnight we walked across the sand again, back to camp, illuminated only by the heavens and our rambling chatter.