Monday, July 26, 2010

Rafeek Alewah – Stand-in for Omar Sharif in Lawrence of Arabia


Every once in a while, happy coincidences happen.  I will tell you of one such happy coincidence.  As I write this post, I am on my last night in Jordan before returning to the U.S.  During this trip to Jordan, a friend of mine (Nour Kabariti) sent a random note suggesting I visit a souvenir shop in Aqaba.  Nour is wonderful at sending these little tidbits and each one has turned into a great adventure…so of course I took her advice and visited the shop (and greatly appreciate the random recommendations).

Back Camera

First of all, let me tell you that Aqaba is a wonderful place.  It is a seaside resort town on the Red Sea, is relatively modest in the grand scheme of resort towns, and is therefore not overwhelming and thoroughly enjoyable.  Being a seaside hamlet, seafood is the cuisine of choice.  And the best seafood in Aqaba comes from the Ali Baba restaurant.  Nour directed me to the souvenir shop of Rafeek Alewah immediately adjacent to the Ali Baba (where I dine most evenings).

Back Camera

Upon my visit to the souvenir shop of Rafeek Alewah, I was treated to a great experience.  Rafeek was the stand-in for Omar Sharif in the 1962 filming of Lawrence of Arabia.  In this role, the 27 year old Rafeek was filmed in many of the non-speaking, or distant roles of Omar Sharif.  Although IMDB and many of the other internet movie sites have no mention of Rafeek, the photographs posted in his shop are a testament to his role.

Back Camera Rafeek is an animated an engaging character.  If you have the opportunity to visit Aqaba, Jordan, I recommend visiting his shop – after enjoying a wonderful dinner at the Ali Baba.


To reinforce the idea that the best camera is the one you have with you, all of the photographs in this post were taken with my iPhone.  You will not always have your expensive DSLR with you, but that does not mean your photography should suffer.

Have fun, and go make some great photography!



  1. I believe that I met this man in 1975 in Aquaba. I believe that the business at the time was called the Omar Sharif Snack Bar. I saw those same photos that are hanging on the wall in your photos. I remember him as looking exactly like Omar Sharif.

  2. Visited as a young Merchant Seaman, Snack Bar!