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Published: December 9th 2015
LET ME IN
Monday – Making friends
Where to begin? Today was by far one of my most favourite days in Aqaba… So far. There was two dives with the two lovely French guys in the morning. We dove at the tank site and I decided to bring Ahmed along with me as he needed the dives. Abdallah drove the van to the site as told to by Mohamed… I don’t think Mo trusts me with the van as I nearly destroyed it last time. In time I will drive it again! Inshallah.
First dive was excellent. Nothing too substantial or unusual to be seen but the tank is always an exceptionally enjoyable dive site! We headed back to the beach and changed the tanks around. Upon surfacing Ahmed Shower (I still can’t believe his last name is shower) took off his mask to clear his face but then he fell back in the water and got salt water in his eye. Ahmed was shouting ‘Arrggghhh!’ in pain (He tends to overdramatise things) with one eye forcibly shut he was also shivering so he looked like a cold pirate. Shiver me timbers! For some reason he thought
that a 2mm shorty would be sufficient for two 25’C dives coupled with strong wind and not much shelter whereas I had a 5mm full and the two Frenchies both had full suits too.
*contains spoilers for Game of Thrones*
Me and the Frenchies were chatting about Game of Thrones as they are caught up to the last episode too and for those of you who haven’t watched it I won’t do any spoilers don’t worry. But basically a certain someone dies at the end of seasons 6 and I have heard rumours that this person does not actually die and is in the new season. I don’t really know how but I am just happy that it’s a possibility!
The second dive was the better of the two dives which is a shame because Ahmed didn’t dive this dive because he was too cold from the last dive (I only said it 5 times). The reason it was better was because we saw a turtle! For those of you who have me on Facebook I’ve uploaded it on there titled ‘Oh I do love a good turtle!’ and for those of you who don’t
have me on Facebook, how are you reading my blog? Where did you hear about it? Creepy.
After emerging from the water we ran back to the van because the wind which I found out is from Siberia was really strong. We bombed it back to the centre all sitting close to one another in the back of the van for body heat. The Frenchies were super happy as was I! The turtle was really not bothered at all at our presence on the dive. I think if I wanted to (and had the balls) I could have put my face against her face and she wouldn’t be bothered. Back at the dive centre I gave the photos to the Frenchies, asked them to write a review on Trip Advisor and then they left! The second they walked out of the dive centre I ran to the shower (not Ahmed Shower, the actual water shower) as it was 1:40pm and I had to go to some event about the environment that finished at 2pm!
The venue was close by and it was the Movenpick hotel which is where the first event I went to was where
I met the Princess of Jordan back in September and Ryan the nursery manager at the Royal Botanical Garden. The meeting had actually finished and I just basically crashed the meal. Almost everyone had left or finished their meal and was talking at the tables. Which meant I could basically mop up the rest of the food on display at the buffet without the risk of feeling greedy because nobody else was next to me picking up some more food. I sat down at the table where Mohamed was and some other dive centre peeps.
It was 2pm and everyone in the whole canteen area was leaving. Mohamed said to me don’t rush stay here as long as you like, music to my ears as I still had room in ma belly. I went up for seconds, then thirds and fourths. The food was some of the best I have had in Aqaba and it was all for free! Jackpot!
I wanted to actually find out what happened at the event so I was talking to a bunch of strangers about it. They said that ASEZA (Aqaba Special Economic Zone Authority) are the main guys at
I saw these when I was with Ole a few weeks ago but this time I managed to get a good photo!
this event but nothing really happened. One thing that seemed to tick people off was that ASEZA refused to charge people entry to the beaches that dot Aqaba’s coastline. The reason for the small fee would have been to clean up the beach and possibly help fund more signs or other educational systems about the importance of not littering. I haven’t talked about it too much but the dive sites are for the regular Jordanian tourist too who go to the beach to enjoy it. But too many times (in fact I can’t remember a time where this hasn’t happened) people litter the beach without a care. I’m sure that not every Jordanian does it but it is a problem as for example many plastic bags enter the water where we dive. These plastic bags are then eaten by turtles who mistake them for jellyfish which is what turtles eat. This then is obviously fucking bad for the turtle and can lead to diseases or even death. But if we had a small fee charged to people then the beach would be a much better place to come to for everyone! Especially the lil’ turtles!
After the talk
about ASEZA I met a stocky Jordanian who plays for a rugby team and has invited me to go and play some rugger and meet his team. I’m not the sportiest person for those of you who don’t know me too well but people assume by looking at me that I am, which is annoying. But what was I to say? Oh sorry I don’t play sports I just have a fast metabolism. I gave him my number and said we would meet up soon but as I am going to Eilat in Israel tomorrow I don’t think it will be in the next few days.
The second and final day of the USAID LESA event thind was underway this evening. There was again lots of snacks and I even saw some Twinings tea! I didn’t steal any, promise… This day was basically talking about the social media side of promoting your business and amplifying reach of our centres to bring in more customers, very helpful stuff. I want to make an Instagram to get my photos out to the world and I have been chatting to Edmund and he told me that Jordan are paying for bloggers
and vloggers (video bloggers) to come to Jordan and basically do a massive TripAdvisor review of the country as a tourist destination. That sounds like a dream to me and if I could do that when I’m older then that’d be awesome! I like writing the blog but sometimes some things have to be censored and not put in it as at the end of the day I do have a job here and I do have to maintain some sort of professionalism… (I’m not counting my 100th
naked dive or puking).
At the end of the event I asked Maya if she wanted to go out for a drink but she said she had to go for a meal with some of the guys at this event and Edmund had to go too. But she said next time fo sho! I’ll hold her to that… I asked the two dutch guys and they said no too… They didn’t actually give me reason but I’m sure it was valid. I don’t think I repulse people that much… Do I?
Tuesday – Onwards to Eilat!
This was the day that I go
to Eilat! (As you can probably tell by the title durrrh) The whole reason for me going to Eilat is mainly because of my visa. After 3 months of living in Jordan a foreign national has to leave the country and can then return to get a sixth month extended visa, but they have to leave the country even if it’s for one day. Mohamed dropped me off at the border and I grabbed my bag and proceeded in one direction to the Jordan – Israel border. I walked through the Jordanian border control like the Siberian wind gusting through this part of the world at the moment. The gap between the Jordan and Israel border was about 200 – 300 metres and something I like to call ‘no man’s land’. If anyone has seen the James Bond movie Die Another Day you’ll probably know the seen at the beginning where Bond (Pierce Brosnan) is traded at the North Korean and South Korean border for a guy the MI6 have. Well in that scene it takes place on a long secure walkway in between the two borders and that is what I felt like. Except nobody was waiting for me
on the other side… I hear a small violin playing.
Walking to the border I saw two people stand up and get out of their security box ready for my arrival. They were both men and one of them was wielding a rifle. The one without a rifle spoke to me and said ‘passport please’ I smiled and gave it to him. He didn’t smile and took it from me. He asked me what I was going to do in Israel and I said ‘Do some diving!’ he didn’t seem amused then he looked at me up and down. He questioned me some more after reading my passport, ‘you have been in Jordan for 3 months… Why?’
I didn’t know what to say at this point. The reason for this is because people in Jordan told me that when going in to Israel don’t tell them you work in Jordan. Jordan and Israel’s relationship is a little… cold and they haven’t been getting along too well. In fact I don’t know a time when they have got on well. A British guy from another dive centre had tried to cross the border before and he was
declined entry because he had been working in Jordan.
With all of this running through my head I said that I had been diving with a dive centre. Which is not actually false. He looked at me and said ‘you have been in Jordan for 3 months and you’ve only dived?’ I nodded and muttered ‘yes’. He looked really awkward at this point and almost like he was being forced to by a higher power he slowly moved his chin towards his left shoulder and lifted up his hand. His hand pressed a button on his walkie talkie and he said a few words in Hebrew. He then resumed his normal stance but did not look me in the eye. It was at this point I knew, I fucked up.
The man asked me to wait inside a penned off area by the side of his security box. I complied and stood in my 3 fenced cage. After some awkward eye contact with the guy without a gun a woman approached me. She questioned me even more about a whole manner of things. She asked me questions about what I have done in Jordan (diving), the
I made it through unscathed!
centre I have been diving with(Aqaba International Dive Center), who owns the centre (Mohamed Qatawneh), why I want to come in to Israel (to dive and see the city), who I know in Israel (nobody), why I’m alone (couldn’t convince anyone to come with me/ I’VE GOT NO FANS), why I’ve packed so light (only here for one day but if I told them that they would know I was here just to extend my visa and then they wouldn’t let me in), where my mother and father lived in the U.K., if I had any brothers and sisters, why weren’t they here and I think the two questions that I tripped up on was when she asked me where I am staying in Eilat to which I replied to Fawlty Towers hostel (I picked it purely by the name) but I couldn’t connect to the Wi-Fi at the border to show her my email receipt (why do I leave things until the last minute) but the question that startled her was when she asked me why I want to dive in Eilat. I answered it by saying ‘to check out the dive sites and make connections’. ALARM BELLS RANG
A guy called Roy was sending me directions to get to Mike's bar... Yes that is an airport in the middle of the city.
IN HER HEAD. I don’t know why I’m so fucking stupid sometimes. Why did I have to say ‘make connections’ She looked at me in a whole new light and said ‘what do you mean by connections?’ I cleared my throat and spoke bullshitty sounding words of ‘Well in the diving community you make connections…’ I was immediately cut off and she said ‘what do you mean connections’ in a more serious tone. I replied calmly ‘the people you meet diving are good people (mostly), they are like minded and you already have a common interest with them’ she didn’t buy it and asked me again ‘what do you mean buy connections?!’ I blurted out ‘I don’t know! Connections! You meet people get to know them, go out and then you have friends! That’s what I want to do in Eilat, get to know people and make friends’ (doesn’t she know I’m just a lonely guy?).
She paused for a few seconds and moved topic telling me to walk. With me leading the way and not know where I was going she followed with the guy and the rifle too. Fuck man is this my last walk? Of
And here's the proof
course it wasn’t but it was the last time I would be outdoors for hours. They led me to a room where they check your luggage on the x-ray conveyor belt things. I was the only guy trying to get through the border and there was about 10 security officers decorating the room on all sides. I put my bag in a tray and sent it off through the rubbery flaps. Walking through the metal detector it didn’t beep. Thank god for that. I am home free! Well that’s what I thought I saw 3 people including the woman who questioned me look at the screen that showed the x-ray view of my bag. She looked at me and I smiled hoping she would smile back as a gesture of good will. But like fuck she did.
The bag came out the other side and they asked me to open the bag for them so they could inspect it. I realised at this point that wearing a blue shirt was not a good idea as I was sweating a bit and I know this shirt, it shows sweat marks quite visibly. They told me to sit down ‘over
there’ on a bench and I did. I didn’t want to move my arms at all as I was walking otherwise they would’ve seen the sweat and been even more suspicious. So like the tin man from the Wizard of Oz I awkwardly walked to go and sit down.
I didn’t know how to sit. I know this sounds weird but hear me out. I’ve seen many TED Talks on body language and when people are being secretive or intimidated they tend to sit in certain ways and behave in certain ways, examples include not making eye contact, sitting with their arms folded and or legs crossed, refusal to help or assist a member of authority in any way and males particularly use their hands or other objects to cover their balls (sounds weird I know but if a man is intimidated he will tend to naturally cover and protect his balls by putting his hands over them whilst sitting or standing). I made sure to sit with my legs open, arms by my sides hanging loosely and making eye contact with anyone and everyone I could. I didn’t know how long I should watch them going through
Located just by the sea!
my bag as if that is all I did then they may think that I am hoping that they won’t find that ‘hidden drug stash’ or ‘secret gun cache’ which of course I didn’t have but they didn’t know that!
The woman called me over to the gang of guys ruffling through my personal belongings and she handed me my snorkel. She asked me if I could open the top of it and I said I’ve never tried to but I’ll give it a go. I wanted to help out in any way I could to show I’m willing and cooperative and so I was nearly about to break the top off of my snorkel. She then stopped me and said ‘please don’t break it, it’s ok just leave it’. SHE IS HUMAN. I AM GETTING SOMEWHERE.
I sat back down and got my phone out to see if I could do anything on it to pass the time. The Wi-Fi! I was connected to the Wi-Fi! I could look normal and not have to worry about my sitting position and play on Facebook in the normal sitting position of legs apart, elbows on knees with
The marina view
an arched back. Like a mindless drone I happily scrolled through my news feed clicking on links to make me happy like top 100 fails and how to make ice cream spaghetti (the trick is you put holes in the bottom of a tin can and push vanilla ice cream through, then you place chocolate ice cream balls on the vanilla ice cream pasta to look like meatballs, afterwards lavish raspberry sauce on the ice cream to look like tomato sauce… Ouila! Ice cream spag bol!)
It was 12:30 pm now. I really wanted to dive today in Eilat but as the minutes tick on by my chances become ever increasingly less likely and by this point I just wanted access to the country to be honest. I don’t know how much time I would spend here which was the annoying thing. I thought my maroon British passport would basically just part the Red Sea and grant me access to Israel.
One of the guy security men took me to one side and searched me behind a screen. Shit is getting serious. He then asked me to take down my shorts. I couldn’t help but laugh.
Mike's bar by day
He looked at me with a serious face and asked if I had underwear on, I nodded. With my shorts around my knees he used the scanner thing to scan over my meat and 2 veg. He found nothing!
People started coming in to the border control now but they weren’t being detained, they were being sent straight through and on their way. Except for 2 guys form Copenhagen, they like me were being held back. I overheard the chatter between them and the woman who was interrogating me and they are on a cultural exchange here in Israel but popped to Jordan for a few days just to see the place. The woman asked them what they meant by cultural exchange… I was getting déjà vu. They explained as best they could but with their accent they had to repeat a few times. They both spoke really good English but obviously with an Israeli speaking English as their second language and these two guys speaking English as their second language it made things… Difficult. I really hoped that they would be let in. After a slowly climbing heated exchange on both sides the two lads were telling
They have low 'penis peeping' mirrors in Mike's bar at the urinals...
her that a cultural exchange was learning about the culture of the people in this country and what people do here. The woman then shouted ‘Like what? Drugs?!’ SHOTS FIRED.
This could only go one way. The two lads would join me in sitting on the bench next to the one I was sat on. We were sitting there looking at each other as she left and I mimed ‘wow’ to them. They smiled. FINALLY. A smile! I could talk to someone. We got chatting and I explained the situation that I was in and the mistake I made of saying ‘connections’ among other things.
A new woman then took me to one side and she meant business. She was questioning me about what I’m doing in Israel and more or less asking the same questions as the other woman from this morning. She then said ‘is there anything else you need to tell me’ I hesitated and said calmly ‘no, nothing’. She then asked me again what I was doing in Jordan and I said I have been diving. In the end I said that I was working in Jordan and I showed her my
The troll pizza place
diving log book. She then walked away and commanded me to sit back down.
She came back about 40 minutes later with a piece of paper. I did it! I made it in to the country! Or so I thought. I waved goodbye to my new found friends from Copenhagen. I joined a queue to hand in your passport to a woman on the desk to get a stamp and she started to ask me questions like the other two women did, what I’m doing in Israel blah blah blah you know the story. She asked me if I knew the man who was in the queue in front of me. I said no I don’t know him. She didn’t believe me so of course she told me to sit back down. I spoke to this ‘guy’ who basically denied me access to the country and he is a lone traveller from Australia who has been to countries such as Lebanon and Iran so flags were raised.
30 minutes later I was called in to an office with another woman questioning me and asking me why I lied at the border. I didn’t lie! I just
The history museum of Eilat
withheld some of the truth… After about 15minutes of super awkward turtle talking she typed something on her computer and gave me the visa to get in to the country. THANK GOD. I emerged from the door victorious! I looked at the 3 guys who I had to leave behind. They were on their own and I was going to Israel!
With hindsight would I have got in to the country if I told the truth straight away? Maybe. Would I have had such an eventful blog post? Nope. I prefer the second option in all honesty.
5 hours after arriving at the border and feeling like Andy Dufresne when he escaped prison in Shawshank Redemption I walked out of border control. But there were no taxis so I had to walk back in to get someone to call a taxi for me.
When I got in the taxi I told him to take me to my hotel called ‘Fawlty Towers’. He told me it’s in a bad neighbourhood and gave me advice of where to go if I need things. Not drugs of course just the essentials like the nearby bus station and
the local shop that kind of stuff.
I dumped my stuff in the hotel room and went for a walk around the place. I didn’t know anyone in Eilat so I had myself for company but I wanted to make at least one friend in Eilat before I left so that could visit them next time I came here. I targeted two cool looking dudes (one with dreads and the other with a man) sitting by a bunch of plants in the middle of a plaza to try and befriend them. I first started with ‘hey sorry guys, but do you know anywhere I could get a beer and something to eat?’ A classic line. For food they told me to go to a salad bar that was within eyesight and 20 metres as it was really cheap. I spoke to them a bit more and they said that tourist centre or something along those lines was a good place to go out for a drink. I thanked the two chaps and went to the salad bar as recommended. I don’t like salad, like at all but I wanted to eat what they eat to create more rapport
The history museum of Eilat
with them. I don’t even know what I ordered, one was a salad box with cous cous and another with tuna. The guy serving the salad also had a man bun, I think 80% of the guys who I’ve seen in Eilat so far have had man buns this excludes the guy at reception in Fawlty towers who had dreads.
I was speaking to the salad bar guy and I said what I’m doing in Eilat (diving of course) and I heard an American shout you should try skydiving! I turned and introduced myself. We both sat down on a bar stool and ate our food together. He wasn’t actually American but has travelled a lot and just picked up the accent from movies. He was the owner of the only skydiving centre in Eilat and I said I would love to do it but firstly it’s like £300 for one dive and I don’t think I could anyway because I went SCUBA diving yesterday and with the altitude it just wouldn’t work. He also told me a great bar to go to which is Mike’s bar.
After eating I said goodbye to Pete who was
Yes I did pick my hotel entirely because of it's name
the skydiving guy and I waltzed on over to man bun and dreads who were still sitting by the plants. We chatted for a bit longer and I said ‘have you guys heard of Mike’s bar’ and they said they both loved the place and whenever they go out that’s the place they go to. I said to them ‘Ok well I’m gonna head there tonight if you guys are there, I’ll see you there?’ They both nodded and man bun said ‘Yeah ok man, take it easy’. I walked away thinking maybe I’ll see them maybe I won’t either way I’m sure I’ll meet some more people!
It was 3:30pm by this point and I was walking to Mike’s bar so I knew where it was and I could swing by later without fear of getting lost. Arriving at the bar I was speaking to the bartender who was a cool guy and he was chatting to me and said there’s band playing tonight but it’s not actually a band it’s just something they do every now and again where anybody who plays an instrument can get up and have a go playing.
The beach bar by Aqua Sports
couple of beers I was feeling hungry and tipsy as you always do. That salad didn’t do much for me. I went to a pizza place that was under a bridge. There wasn’t a troll just good pizza. After eating I feel sleepy all that waiting around at the border took it out of me. So I walked back to the hotel to try and get a quick nap before coming back to Mike’s bar later on.
I ended up wandering in the Eilat history museum and reading about how Eilat became a part of Israel and the history of it until today. I was a bit drunk still in the museum so I don’t remember much but I did take a whole bunch of photos so I can read it in the future. I tried to my best to hide my drunkenness from the museum staff so I didn't speak at all except for when I said goodbye to them at the end. I don't think they noticed.
As I was walking I heard someone shout my name. What the fuck? Who knows me in Eilat? I turned around and it was Anders and Morten
I'm a motherfucking gay fish
(the two guys from Copenhagen on the cultural exchange). They had only just got out of the border and it was now 5pm and they said the Aussi guy was still there. We were all really hungry so we went to a burger place to feed our cravings. After that we said our goodbyes and said we would meet up at Martin’s place tonight. We all wanted a quick nap.
Anders and Morten brought an American guy with them who actually works in Tel Aviv. We sat inside at a table and ordered a few beers. We did rounds. Oh how I do miss rounds. The American guy was first then Morten, me and finally Anders. We were talking and then the band started playing. We all looked at one another and subconsciously came to the conclusion to sit outside where it is quieter and we can talk. I hope the band didn’t think we hated them.
We were chatting outside about a whole bunch of stuff from the situation in the Middle East, Game of Thrones and South Park references and the ‘Fuck her right in the pussy’ viral sensation. Both Anders and Morten didn’t know
In the cinema
what I was talking about so I showed them on my phone. Please check out the ‘fuck her right in the pussy’ guy on you tube if you haven’t done so already. The American was telling us about how amazing Tel Aviv is and the women who are there too. The women in Eilat are really beautiful like super super hot. He was saying that in Tel Aviv they are too. He was also telling us that Tel Aviv have the second largest gay pride parade in the world and he went to it. But he went home shortly after getting there because a guy pressed a giant pink vibrating dildo against his ass shouting ‘Woooo!’ I can’t say that I blame him.
I headed back to the hotel at 2am as that’s when Martin’s closed and everyone else had an early start tomorrow. The American guy had to go back to Tel Aviv at 6am and Anders and Morten had to go to Tel Aviv too to try and find a flight back to Copenhagen because they were only given a 3 day visa.
In the morning I went to
Coral Beach which is where Aqua Sports is located which was the first dive centre in Eilat, founded way back in 1964. Coincidentally the year that Ahmed Qatawneh (Mo’s dad) learnt to dive in Liverpool making him the first Jordanian diver. I went to the shop that Aqua Sports have and I was like a kid in a sweet shop. I wanted everything that was there! I was liaising with Mohamed about equipment he needed for the shop but said that most of the stuff here was expensive so I just ended up buying some mask straps. I did chat to Rob though who was worker in the shop. I talked to him for a while about diving and that they have banned freelancing in Israel which he thinks is a bad thing. A freelancer is someone who doesn’t work for a specific dive centre but instead convinces people to do a dive/ course. This freelancer then takes money from the customer and gives a percentage to the dive centre in exchange for using some of their equipment. If you build up a good reputation you can really rake in the money. Rob was telling me that he used to
do it and would charge for example $400 and give $200 to the centre and keep $200 for himself. That is just money I plucked out of thin air but you get the idea how it works.
I ended up not actually doing any diving in Eilat but instead chatting to Rob about companies that they use in Israel to make T shirts, which he gave me the details of and they’re much cheaper than the ones that me and Belal have been looking at in Egypt.
After chilling out at the beach bar located inside the Aqua Sports dive centre I headed back to Eilat as the border closed at 6pm and it was about 3pm, I didn’t want to be late. The buses are really good here and so I got back with a couple of hours to kill. I wandered around Eilat and I saw an IMAX. I love going to different cinemas across the world and I’ve watched movies in the U.S.A., Thailand, Singapore and I was about to in Israel. They didn’t have any English films until 10pm and it was Everest (which I’ve already seen) but there was a documentary
in Hebrew about the T-rex. I thought fuck it and payed the 40 shekels about £8 to get an entry. It was only 45 minutes so I would have time to watch it and get back easily. So that’s what I did.
As I left the IMAX there was a taxi right outside and an old man texting someone on his phone and smiling. I knocked on the window and gestured if I could get inside the taxi. He rotated his hand and fingers to signal me to come inside. I sat down in his taxi and I could hear a familiar tune. He was listening to The Beatles! My favourite song by The Beatles too which is Come Together! We both sand in the taxi and he was listing the names of The Beatles out loud but he kept on repeating ‘John Lennon! John Lennon!’ I think he likes John Lennon.
He dropped me off at the border and I said my goodbyes to the nice man. Approaching the border a woman took my passport and spent about 15 to 20 seconds looking back and forth between my face and the passport photo. She let
me in and I walked quickly to the Jordanian border.
I was inside Jordanian territory! Safe! I was speaking to one of the guys at the border and he said the famous sentence ‘Welcome to Jordan’. I took a taxi to ‘Soukh al Ashara’ soukh is market and ashara is ten, meaning area ten. As soon as I stepped out of the taxi I went in to my local shop and I know all the people who work there, and they know me. I know Eilat is great and would in some ways be a better place to live for a young Divemaster, but Aqaba just has a charm and sense of community that Eilat lacks or at least I didn’t sense it in the 48 hours I spent there, maybe in time I could feel the same way about Eilat but until then I only knew one thing, I was home.
Thursday – Oh I do love you Aqaba
I was really expecting and to be honest quite hoping that today would be a quiet day so I can just proper herm it in the dive centre and write my
blog. But alas this was not the case today. Mohamed received a call in the morning as we were driving to the dive centre. On the other end of Mo’s phone was Andrew who is a guy from Singapore. He’s been in Wadi Rum the past few days but he had booked a dive with us. We told him to be at the McDonald’s at 9:30 and we would pick him up from there but because he didn’t want to be late coming in from Wadi Rum he was there at 9am. It wasn’t an issue as that is the time we get to the centre anyway. Andrew just got to see behind the scenes set up of the dive centre in the morning!
The two dives that we did was to the Cedar Pride Shipwreck and then Japanese Garden. STANDARD. I dive there quite a lot and when I talk to other people from different dive centres they always ask me if I went diving to Cedar Pride today. I am always there! It’s the best diving spot in Aqaba and for good reason! The shipwreck is wonderfully beautiful.
Today though I was super happy
I went to dive there because I saw a big fuck off ray (a fantail ray is the actual name). I don’t think that is the actual name of the ray but it is how best I would describe it. It was about 2 metres long and at least a metre wide. It was chilling underneath some sand fanning about trying to find worms and other invertebrates to eat (either that or just frolicking about in the sand). I would have got a much better picture than the one I uploaded but by the time I got over to it Andrew was having problems with clearing his mask and as a result was slowly rising to the surface I had to unfortunately ignore the biggest ray I have ever seen by putting my back to her. Pulling Andrew back down and signalling him to not float to the surface I was looking out of the corner of my eye at Belal and Ahmed who were behind Andrew. I could see on their faces that I was really missing out, I wanted to turn around so bad!
After a few moments I saw Belal pointing towards it and looking
at me. He obviously knew I knew the ray was there but by the way he was pointing it must’ve been doing something else. Either swimming away or swimming towards me. I was really expecting to swim towards me and latch on to my face like the face huggers in the movie Alien. I turned around and my heart sank, it was swimming away! It was huge! Truly a magnificent sight to see her.
Of course as soon as the ray was swimming away Andrew cleared his mask very easily and he was calm and collected. Literally if he had the mask clearing problem 2 minutes later than he did I would have took some seriously awesome pictures of the ray.
I came back to shop to find out that the cleaner guy called Mohamed has left the building! He no longer works here. I don’t really mind he always brought in a bad vibe in the dive centre, he was always negative and jealous of Ahmed and Belal because they would dive and he wouldn’t. The cleaning duties now fall to me and Belal and I prefer that to be honest because before sometimes the
cleaner guy would tell me to clean things or expect me to put things away to help him out. Which I don’t mind but sometimes the way he would speak to me even though it was broken English, the tone how he would speak was very condescending.
After cleaning me and Belal watched Game of Thrones with Abdallah (the new guy). Jon Snow has just met the wildling red headed woman. Not much else happened today except I had an odd taxi driver. He didn’t say anything for half of the journey and then at the traffic lights looked at me and asked me ‘What’s the difference between a woman and a bike?’… Was this a joke? I looked at him with one eyebrow raised and replied ‘I don’t know’ to which he said ‘with a bike you first pump then jump on, with a woman you jump on and then pump.’
I have spoken to Belal, Ahmed, Abdallah and Mohamed and none of them remember anything about today other than the fact we ate some chicken. Nothing was particularly special about the chicken, it was just 4 chicken
wings, some rice and a few other things mixed in to the bowl. The cats obviously came over to see what was going on and lately more and more cats have been following them. So yeah this was a great day.
I did two dives with an American guy today and he was a great diver. He is also my lucky charm as I saw a fantail stingray! Hoorah! I saw it off in the distance flapping about in the sand feeding. They eat worms and other invertebrates which they acquire by flapping their body like a human trying to do ‘the worm’ to basically dig up the sand and expose the tasty goodness. The American was loving it too of course! I couldn’t wait for my Trip Advisor review! All American’s give reviews on that website, it’s not stereotyping it’s just fact. He was a stout man with a bald head and is in the military, he looked the part he reminded me of the instructor in Full Metal Jacket who gets shot in the toilets.
I was to be proven correct! He left a wonderfully insightful review on Trip
Advisor. I don’t think he would mind me putting in what he said about me! ‘’ The staff was extremely friendly and professional. In particular, my kudos to Adam, our Dive Master/Guide from the UK. I would dive with him again at any time.’’ Boom baby!
Something which I really want to ensure about my time working here in Aqaba International Dive Center is to have 5 out of 5 reviews on every single one in the time I am working here. So far since 1st
September when I arrived here there have been 18 reviews on Trip Advisor and all of them have been 5 out of 5 and 8 of them mentioned me by name.
Sunday – Siberian wind
John came in this morning with two friends of his from the movie he is shooting near Amman. They were concerned that we didn’t have thick enough wetsuits for diving, but we are professionals! Of course we do! The only problem at the moment is the wind. The Siberian wind was at its strongest today and so when I came out of the water freezing my nips off. I did have my
5mm full suit on but I did 4 dives today which is why I am complaining. Mohamed didn’t join us this morning because of a family emergency, but I am glad to say that everyone is ok. The first dive was with John to do his deep water dive for his Advanced course and I did his navigation too this was two dives, the third dive was a DSD dive for his two friends and then on the last dive we went all together.
This day needless to say made me tired and I collapsed in my bed at the end of today, stuck on South Park and called it another week. Hasta luego caimans.
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