Published: January 2nd 2007October 10th 2006
Amman, my first middle east city
Big, noisy, and crazy, but a whole lotta fun!
After my little soujourn to the UK I felt the desire to get back on track and head into the depths of the Middle East.
In planning this trip I had very early on sought out Jordan as a place I wanted to visit. The vast desert landscapes, wonderous ancient city of Petra, and reputed amazing Jordanaian hospitality all conspired in my brain to get me there.
And of course all these aspects and more of Jordan rang true.
With a gait in my step I boarded Jordanain Airlines flight 816 headed from Istanbul to Amman. I was super stoked to be flying over the middle east and taking my place at a window seat I pretty much gawked at the landscape for the whole two hour flight. Except when the food was served, then I was all business. After the food I was back to gawking- you know when your jaw is slightly dropped, your nose is pressed hard against the small window to try and see as much as possible and your breath slowly steams up the plexiglass so that every couple of minutes you have to wipe it down.
A fantastic, sweep
Its Roman and its ruined. Exciting no?
of landscape revealled itself to me as the plane careened over Turkey, deserts soon took the place of forested hills as we flew over Syira and finally into Amman. As the plane came into landing I was frothing at the mouth to get out and experience all this
plucky little country had to offer.
This is probably the place where a dedicated blogger would put in lots of informative stuff about the country they got from the Lonely Planet Middle East book. Well, im feeling lazy and couldnt be bothered.
Well maybe some info- a map will show you that Jordan is squeezed between Isreal on its western border, Saudi Arabia to the east and south, and Syria to the north. It also shares a small stretch of border with Iraq to the far east. Due to its location Jordan is home to many Palestinian refugees and more recently has seen a large influx of Iraqi's. There are around 6 million people in Jordan, almost two million live in the capital of Amann. Out in the desert there are still many of the nomadic Beadouin doing their business- raising the odd goat, and flying the flag of the
traditional, possibly declining Jordanain lifestyle.
I spent the first couple of days checking out Aman, where about 75% of the people i walked past would pronounce "welcome to Jordan" the feel good call of the country. With some randoms we scooted out to the northern deserts. Where there are some cool roman ruins (Jerash), and deep in the desert are some old school castles that were built as protection from those crazy crusader types. Also got about 50km from the Iraqi border- i felt like a hard case being that close to the most dangerous country on earth.
After this day of galivanting around the deserts in a clapped out 1995 Nissan Urvan i headed down south to Madaba. A nice relief to the general craziness of Amann, Madaba is famous for its religious mosaics. Like a good tourist i went and had a good look, made the suitable impressive sighs, took some photos, and read some plaques. The mosaics were pretty cool but i cant say i was awash with excitement.
But a really cool thing was that it was getting close to the end of Ramadaan. There was a mad cap street party going on
with bands, singing, dancing, lots of food, and a great atmosphere. Everyone was stoked as, super happy and all up for a chat. The main difference to this party and one in small town Australia was the total lack of booze and wasted people. There wasnt one fight, argument, hysterical person, or pool of pavement pizza to be seen; quite cool really!
Next day i took a cab further south. With me in the cab were my new friends- Stevo (aka Stud the boy Waffle from the UK), Josh from Aussie, and Annie from France. We formed a great little possie.
We went to the Dead Sea, where yes it is impossible to sink. Saw some cool religious sites, and the best thing for me was headed to Petra (the rose city).
Ill let the Petra photos speak for themselves, and i couldnt be bothered writing some boring informative stuff about it. But the place is absolutely off the hook. Anyone thinking of going should go!
Next stop was the next big highlight for me- the desert of Wadi Rum. Here massive sandstone cliffs bulge out of the desert floor, creating one of the most unqiue
Wadi Rum and the boys
Josh and Stevo asking "hows the serenity"?
landscapes on earth. It is simply very, very darn cool. We spent a night out in the desert camping out under the stars (shooting star count 6 for the night), and spent about three days staying in a hostely thing in the small town in Wadi Rum. Went on some super cool walks over those days, and generally has a great time there. The desert there is ripe for exploring, and is also a popular area for rockclimbing.
Saying our farewells to Wadi Rum we got a cab, and at 145km/h shot down to Aquaba where Josh, Stevo and I headed to Egypt. We bade a sad farewell to Annie- such a champion who was always up for a scramble, climb, walk, trek and was very gracious in putting up with mine and the boys general crasness.
So it was then on the ferry and off to egypt. I was super pumped!
(ill put some photos up soon)
There are more photos below