The sound of silence

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Middle East » Jordan
September 10th 2004
Published: September 10th 2004
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The Treasury, PetraThe Treasury, PetraThe Treasury, Petra

This is the postcard shot.
Wadi Rum, Jordan. Famous for the Arab Revolt, Lawrence of Arabia and all things Bedouin. As we walked though the wilderness, there was a perfect silence, a sense of timelessness until my mobile went off with a text from JordTelecom inviting me to phone friends and family back home for special rates in the evening. As we arrived back in the small village, there was a large gathering of arab guys shouting and waving their hands in the air. According to one of the "Bedu" a non local entrepreneur was trying to divert the tourists to his new visitors centre and screw the Bedouin out of a living, so they were there to make a demonstration. So much for avoiding "political gatherings".

Petra: ancient city, built by the Nabataeans (who?), carved out of a narrow rock gorge created by an earthquake or two. Not quite as famous as, say, the pyramids, but everyone will have seen this place in the very last scene of the final Indiana Jones film. I have wanted to visit Petra for years, it is bloody amazing and there is nowhere quite like it in the world. The adjoining town, Wadi Musa is a shadow of
Nabataean theatreNabataean theatreNabataean theatre

Okay it is yet another sodding theatre, but this one is carved entirely out of rock, which must have taken sheer bloody mindedness.
its former tourist-packed self, due to the fear of terrorism (thanks George, Tony, Ariel, Osama). This means that there are more shysters and "horse pimps" per tourist, which made staying there a real pain in the arse: every five minutes I found myself either telling my life story to a local who was trying to sell me something, detailing my next travel plans and no I do not want to get a taxi to Amman tommorow or just vigourous shaking of hands with absolutely everyone present and being told how welcome I am.

Amman is very much a modern city but in ancient times it used to be called Philadelphia, which is a far cooler name. It has a Roman theatre (I have seen 4 amphitheatres this week, so no big thing).

Someone I used to work with (you know who you are, Matt. No, *you* are) once told me that he would love to visit Barcelona after his dad told him about it. I thought maybe the funky street cafes, perhaps the ambience or the funny looking cathedral (hang on, that's Madrid, innit?). His dad went there to go to "Camp Nou" to stand in the empty football stadium - "awesome". Okay, so some people love footie so much that they would pay good money to go to a empty stadium (a bit like watching the telly when it is switched off) . On the day we arrived in Amman, Jordan and Iran played each other in a World Cup 2006 qualifier. My first ever international game! As the only two whiteys for miles, we were a little apprehensive on the approach to the stadium. Once in, it was a typical match with the crowd banging drums, face paint and flags and singing about how crap Iran was (Iran won 2-0). With all of the people telling us how welcome we were, we just about managed to see some of the match. To round the experience off, we were charged by the police who were high in numbers but low in intellect and they resorted to smashing everyone to bits with batons. Missed me by a whisker. Next stop, Damascus.

Additional photos below
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Nice Ass!Nice Ass!
Nice Ass!

When you are travelling, you cannot be too picky about who you make friends with.
Early morning, Wadi RumEarly morning, Wadi Rum
Early morning, Wadi Rum

I just thought this looked rather nice.
Getting blotto with the localsGetting blotto with the locals
Getting blotto with the locals

Don't talk about the war. No, really.
No handsNo hands
No hands

Floating in the Dead Sea. Just don't get any in your eyes, up your nose, or go in with cuts or athletes' foot, cos it kills.
Ruined-out in JerashRuined-out in Jerash
Ruined-out in Jerash

It is actually possible to get bored of seeing too many Roman ruins, honest. This ancient town is amazingly well preserved. Whatever.
Iran 2 - 0 JordanIran 2 - 0 Jordan
Iran 2 - 0 Jordan

The Jordanians were thoroughly enjoying themselves while their team got decisively stuffed.

24th August 2005

I am going to Jordan to work in Amman for 6 months and I really enjoyed your blog. It was imformative as well as entertaining. Looks like you have probably moved onto another country by now but I would love to hear more!
18th December 2005

u wellcome always man jooj / jordan

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