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Published: September 3rd 2007
Arriving so late into Jordan (Thanks to the wonderful organisation of the Egyptian ferry companies) we didn't see much of Aqaba, and headed out the next morning for the Wadi Rum desert. Wadi Rum was awesome, we took jeeps out off-roading into the desert and stopped off to climb sand dunes, take photos and stop at the place that Lawrence of Arabia hid out all those years ago! It was perfect temperature - soooo hot but so dry that it was a beautiful heat to be in! One of our faves was stopping at a Bedouin family's (goat hair) tent out in the desert and drinking their yummy traditional tea while lounging around on their carpets and cushions. Could have stayed out there forever! Wadi Rum was one of Kristi's favourite days in the Middle East. After leaving Wadi Rum we headed for the town of Wadi Mussa, beside Petra, stopping enroute for a few panoramic photos. The town of Wadi Mussa was pretty cool, our hotel called the Mussa Springs Hotel is right beside a little white building which has been built to cover the rock that Moses apparently struck. The water still runs throughout the city in small channels
and is beautifully cool! ...Though it was interesting to see the locals drinking from it, doing their laundry and washing in the same stream of water in no particular order! We had a wander around the town in the afternoon, primarily for the boys (Martin, Greg, Mossy, Liam and Wes) to search out some beer which we soon found is next to impossible due to Muslims not drinking alcohol! We finally found some at exhorbitant prices so that search was given up and we dined on fanta and sprite ;-) There was a little shop opposite our hotel and the guy was so eager for our business that everytime we bought something we got given freebies and he always invited us to drink coffee with him! We had a huge buffet dinner that night at the hotel. That night we were woken by several weddings going past the hotel - where it's traditional to drive around the city screaming and honking your car horns for several hours. And you can apparently pick any kind of vehicle - every wedding parade was full of an assortment of sedans, mini buses, trucks and taxis.
The next day was the day to
visit the wonder that is Petra - recently named one of the 7 New Wonders of the World and rightly so! On the way we managed to bring down a rope of Jordanian flags that were strung across the road with the truck's open sunroof - which was a funny start to the day, even the tourism police were laughing after sprinting up to us! ANYWAY.... Petra is INCREDIBLE! There are not enough words to describe it, or the feeling of being there in this city which so many thousand years ago would have been bustling with life and of breath taking beauty. It is still beautiful even in the ruins it is today. We had a fantastic guide who was an archaelogist and brimming with knowledge, he really made it come alive for us and he only took us for the first 2 hours down the entry up to the Treasury! We climbed up the steep hill to the High Place of Sacrifice and were very pleased to find a cool breeze at the top after sweating gallons on the way up! The view from the top over the city of Petra was fantastic! We spent the next few
hours exploring tombs and ruins of temples and the grand buildings that have been excavated so far. It was really surreal being there and absolutely mind-blowing! We'll attach pictures soon but nothing could compare to the feeling of being surrounded by this city! Definitely recommended! It was one of the best sites we have seen in our lives.
The following day we left Petra behind by travelling the tiniest, steepest, craziest road down through the mountains. We then arrived at the Dead Sea mid morning to have the craziest "swim" of our lives! This salty water is crazy! You can do whatever you want, it's impossible to sink! We were all sitting cross legged and just floating in the water, its very bizarre! And pressing down on each other's shoulders to watch them SPRING out of the water with some height! .... ahhh yes, simple pleasures ;-) The water is thick and feels kind of like sludge or oil! It makes any cuts you have STING - handy hint: don't shave legs day before you go swimming in the Dead Sea! We could see Israel across the sea too. We didn't stay in long - one of those experiences
that was more interesting than great ;-) - and on getting out you run your hands over your skin and it feels like you're coated in several layers of thick oil! Lucky they have showers at hand and a nice big swimming pool with fresh water to have a proper dip in afterwards ;-) We continued on our way to Amman which basically became the place of far too many "in a man" jokes..... ahhh they just kept coming! I'm sure you can guess the likes of them! Kristi had an afternoon siesta while the boys again went on a beer search. This time the boys met with rousing success, having been given a tip from a 7yr old boy as to where to find cheap alcohol!! So inevitably a fairly big night ensued, with some merry drinks (including 10% Petra Beer and Hyde park vodka!!) and a fun (and CHEAP) dinner in the vibrant town. Great group dinner - including shisha pipes and a great atmosphere.
The following day we visited the ruins of Jaresh in the morning. Some great ruins, but after the wonder of Petra, was hard to see ruins and not compare. Also, Jaresh has
been a bit more commercialised, with "coke" signs everywhere which 'ruin' it a bit. However, it was cool to feel the famous pillars and columns "sway" which is why they're still standing several thousand years after their creation. Amazing ingenuity! ;-) Oh! and they also are the only place in the world which still runs genuine chariot races in a genuine Roman setting as it was back in the day! pretty funny seeing a couple of charioteers fully decked out in Roman gard just wandering along!
Jordan was awesome, much cleaner than Egypt, friendly people, amazing experiences. We thoroughly enjoyed our time in this country.
After this, it was time to drive to the Syrian border...
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