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Published: October 24th 2008
view of Old City from Moiunt of Olives
I am gearing up for my next Habitat for Humanity trip to Jordan-will leave Canada on Oct 27th and will visit Israel first. The HH build starts in Jordan (Hakaba) on Nov 1st and will last until the 10th. Hope to update as I go. Jan is tired of long plane rides so is sitting this one out-I flew from SSI to Winnipeg on Oct 19th-then down to lake to stay for a few days.
Oct 26/08 came in from West Hawk Lake yesterday- weather is just in process of changing here in Manitoba ( went through a short snow event) Did some last minute shopping for books,sun screen etc then stayed with friends last night-everyone is talking about the stock market meltdown....I leave Winnipeg tomorrow at 11.00 for Montreal -then layover until 10 pm and off to Amman.
I am now back home after a very interesting trip (except for the travelling part-30 plus hours to get there and 30 hours back. I was able to sleep on the plane but it was still quite an ordeal....
As for the time there, it is really a different part of the world. it is much safer than everyone
market in Jerusalem
thinks- I would say Amman and Jerusalem are safer than most Canadian cities.
I arrived in Amman late on the 28th and was picked up by the Habitat tour service and deposited at the hotel-the San Rock-apparently a 3 star -had a fairly good sleep and then got up for trip to Israel. I chose to go via the Allenby Bridge-you take a cab to the border crossing which is at the end of the Dead Sea- the bridge goes over the River Jordan. There is about 5 km between the 2 border points but the process takes a long time. I left Jordan at 9.30 and didnt get to the hotel in Jerusalem until 1.00 pm -2 taxis and a bus. The Israeli taxi driver overcharged me (as i found out later) but he went above and beyond to help me find the hotel. After checking in I walked to the old market area - lots of lively action. Bought some spices and a small Israeli flag/crest for my daypack.
Next day took a bus tour of Jerusalem-old city and Holocaust museum-very good way to see highlights when you dont have a lot of time.
old city Jerusalem
I was back in travel mode-getting out of Israel is more complex and time consuming than getting in-lots of checkpoints and delays-6 hours
Back in Amman,checked back into San Rock and then downtown to old Amman market-absolutely great-lots of lively action again - the middle eastern markets all seem to have lots of spices-got Jordanian flag-now at 25 countries on pack-hope to hit 50 some day.
Went back to hotel and was contacted by 2 HH people about a tour the next day to Jurash-ancient Roman ruin ( Harrod's Gate etc) Turned out to be a great trip-$90 usf including chauffered Mercedes,lunch,tour guide. etc. Huge site with lots of history plus a short re-enactment.Had first of many buffets.
Saturday night we had met the entire HH team and had dinner.
Sunday it was off to Habaka for the start of the build-Hard work with cement blocks for 5 days. We slept in a guesthouse-mattresses on the floor but good toilets and showers as well as a nice kitchen. Not much to do at night so but we entertained ourselve-no tv,radio,internet or newspapers,, we were usually tired at night. Fouad and Rommel, our Jordanian leaders were interesting
and kept us motivated. The house is being constructed of cinderblocks and is about 600 sf (for a family of 5) Very unique-all the houses in town are about the same-they have rebar expansion pillars sticking up so they can be expanded -quite common for extended families to stay in same house.
There were no safety issues in Habaka and I doubt there is any crime. The value system seems to be totally focused on family and everyone is polite and friendly.
On Thursday it was off to Wadi Rum and our night at the Bedouin camp in the desert- a long 6 hour bus ride and arrival in the dark. In the morning we got up to find we were in a spectacular canyon setting in the desert. We then went to meet our camels for the ride into the desert-a major highlight for everyone.We then went went to Wadi Rum park HQ for a jeep tour of the desert-I bought a Handwoven Bedouin rug.
After the jeep ride it was back on the bus for a short ride to Petra where we checked in to The Golden Tulip Hotel-Luxury spot relative to the Habaka guesthouse.
Some of us walked downtown for ATM access and/or haircuts.
The next day it was off to Petra which is a world class site. Words cant describe how spectacular.... See my pics and one of the Indianna Jones movies. We hiked in and out right to the monastary-about 10 miles in plus 25C-lots of Tourists.I bought another handwoven wool rug.
We then took the bus back to Amman.The next day we went to Mount Nibo, the Baptism site and the Dead Sea. Back to the hotel at night for banquet and start of the long ride home-Nightmare schedule-on to plane at 3.00 AM - in to Montreal at 8.00 Am then a layover for 6 hrs and 5 hr flight to Vancouver etc.
I have now been home for 6 days and am still somewhat jet lagged.
I am now planning how to become a trip leader for Habitat-It is a unique and rewarding way to see the world and meet new people-Our team was great and I would not hesitate to do another build with each and every team member.
Thanks to Fouad,Romel,Bryan,Robert,Mary-Jane,Joanne,Helen,Michelle,Joy,Ann,Michael,Paulo,Heather,Hailey,Wolf
Kristine and Heather
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