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Published: April 13th 2018
Breakfast at 6:30am for an early 7:30am exit for the long drive to the south of Jordan. During the early part getting out of Jordan, our guide Lana pointed out a few things but once out of the city, most of the drive was through very flat arid land with the occasional quarry or cement company. We had two comfort stops amounting to about 40 minutes and got to Aqaba at 12:30pm. As we got closer to Aqaba, the landscape changed as big rocky outcrops started appearing and the land was not as flat.
Aqaba is a very popular holiday destination on The Red Sea and it is quite different to downtown, where we stayed in Amman. Generally cleaner and the buildings are in much better condition and generally newer looking and not as confronting as the Amman downtown on initial impressions. Mind you, we quickly got use to the Amman downtown and were very comfortable walking around and never felt threatened at all. On the contrary, we were always greeted in a very friendly manner. Aqaba would take you no time to feel comfortable being a typical holiday destination.
On arrival at the port, we saw 3 boats
and were pleasantly surprised when we were loaded onto the fanciest looking boat, "Shark's Bay". We cruised over to a coral reef and had a lovely lunch of chicken salad, veggies, pita bread and hummus. After a 30 minute rest, we were given snorkeling gear and we snorkeled around for about 30 minutes. Unfortunately, I haven't been able to wear contact lenses recently so I was blind as a bat snorkeling around looking at out of focus coral and out of focus people swimming around. I was worried when at one stage I couldn't see anyone but luckily one of the organisers was out there with a life buoy and I saw him. Still it was good considering I can't actually swim, LOL. The water was also a fantastic temperature and it was great to get out of the heat. It was 27 degrees in Aqaba, so not too hot, but hotter than it has been in Amman.
After the cruise, we headed off to the Captain's Tourist Hotel to check in and Lana took us on a short walking tour around Aqaba. We were treated to an entertaining presentation of spices by the self-proclaimed Spice-man of Aqaba. Some
in the group had spices confiscated by Australian Customs but we had taken some in before with no problems so we took a chance and bought some spices from him. Time will tell if we successfully get them passed through. After that we sat down for a lovely fish dinner at Sheik Alhara Restaurant. After dinner, some of us went to visit a women's co-op shop to make some possible purchases. Daisy only ended up buying a magnet. We almost got lost trying to find the shop but luckily we ran into Lana and she gave us directions.
I should mention a little info about our group. Of the 12 there are a couple from Ireland, Brian and Margaret, a younger guy from Brazil, Pierre, 3 from USA, Barry on his own (whom we Aussies have christened as Bazza) and a couple, Paul and Sue and 6 Aussies, us, Phil and Marie from Manly, Jenny and Mary from Melbourne. They are a great bunch of people to be traveling with.
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