The sun is torrid, and there is no breeze. The entire world feels like an oven set on broil, merciless and angry. And yet we’re grinning idiotically like drunks with bellies full of the good stuff. The reason for our joy is simple: we’re driving high-tech 4x4s through an ancient, rugged landscape. It’s like a cheat code of mechanical differentials, burly body-on-frame fortitude and petrol engines so big they can swallow the nearby cliffs.

The thrill is hard to articulate. Barreling down an open swathe of Arab desert, the pedal is floored as the world opens up before us. All around the cliffs of Wadi Rum, some spiraling almost 3,000-feet into the sky, rise from the red soil like

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