On the beaches of the Jordanian city of Aqaba and among its distinctive mountains that are embracing the Red Sea, the media personality and TV presenter Zaven Kouyoumdjian along with his family have celebrated the Lebanese Independence Day, which happened that it was during their vacation in Aqaba.
Zaven began his visit to Aqaba at the middle of last month, accompanying his family and he enjoyed the atmosphere of “Jordan welcoming city,” among the warm and genuine Arab hospitality.
Zaven and his family visit lasted three days in which he described Aqaba as “one of the best tourist destinations he have visited”. His visit to Aqaba included various activities; swimming, diving, and shopping in addition to cultural and historic experiences.
The visit began with a trip to Wadi Rum Protected Area which is also called the Valley of the Moon, and it is a UNESCO Heritage Site, which is distinguished with its magical landscapes and nomadic life of its local people; the Bedouins.
With the very first sunray falls on the ground, turning the sand into gold, Zaven’s journey along with his family begins to “Wadi Rum” in a 4×4 vehicle into the middle of the desert, surrounded by vast spaces, and majestic mountains from all directions. After a 2-hour jeep tour, he arrives to the designated location for resting and lunch where, a Bedouin family welcomes them and, offers them Bedouin tea, which was prepared on the fire.
Zaven and his youngest son Ara help in preparing the lunch “Makmourah” in the desert, while Laury and Marc chitchat with the Bedouin man and listening to his stories. While the lunch is being cooked on the fire, the Kouyoumdjian family members, continuing another exploration trip on foot hiking between the mountains and the sand dunes.
During their hike in the wilderness, they stopped by a camel shepherd where they watch him milking a camel and he offered them camel milk. The family then ride on a caravan of 4 camels, and on their way back to the lunch location, they were introduced by the shepherd to the wild “Ajram” plant (Anabasis); a plant used traditionally by Bedouins for hand washing as it contains disinfectants and released substance similar to the foam that comes out of an ordinary soap.
Arriving to the location, and surrounded by the simple Bedouin atmosphere The kouys enjoyed lunch, while listening to Bedouin songs on the Rababa “a Bedouin musical instrument with a single cord”. The family got to know how to make “Shrak” bread and how to brew Bedouin coffee, also they had henna tattoo on different parts of their bodies. Henna is a dried and crushed leafs, mixed with water and used by Bedouin woman as adornment in the Bedouin weddings and traditional events.
What attracted Zaven most to Wadi Rum was the beauty of the sunset; as the red rays reflect on the red mountains and rocks of the valley giving them a darker tone and creating a splendid painting that makes get lost in time.
The Kouys ends the day with the sunset, and precede to the desert camp to spend the night. There, they were entertained by Jordanian Folklore music, while feasting on the desert favorite dish, “Zarb,”. What added more joy to their stay in Wadi Rum was the surprise birthday party organized by Zaven for his elderly son Mark’s who became 13 years old.
On the second day, a new journey begins towards the Red Rose city of Petra, which is one of the World’s Seven Wonders.
Zaven and his family walked through the Siq (a narrow passage to the Nabatean city) and while they were enjoying the guide’s explanation, they were stunned when the treasury appeared at the end of the Siq.
The Kouys finished their visit to Petra with lunch in Al-Bayda in a Bedouin tent, to return after that to Aqaba.
On the last day, the Kouys went on boat diving trip in the Red Sea. They dived on two very famous diving sites; the Japanese Garden and the Cedar Pride ship. The Cedar Pride was a Lebanese freighter that sustained extensive damage in a fire in 1982, and she was then scuttled by His Majesty King Abdullah II on November 16, 1985 to become a favorable environment for corals and marine life.
After diving in the Red Sea and indulging in this unique experience, Zaven and his family enjoyed a sunset cruise on a private yacht while eating Sayyadeyeh (Aqaba traditional dish) and listening to Aqaba’s traditional music semsemeyah, which is a stringed musical instrument played only in the cities of The Red Sea.
“A magical trip” that’s what Zaven had said about his visit to Aqaba, Rum and Petra, and according to what he said, he did not expect such beauty and charm in the Golden Triangle, concluding his visit with a celebration marking Lebanon’s Independence Day.
The Kouys departed Aqaba with wishes to return again for another visit.