Wednesday, July 29, 2009

28th and 29th July - Jordan

So, I packed up and shipped out to Jordan. The trip started off well at Heathrow Airport as I got to use the BA lounge before my flight... thank you air miles. Nice..

Got to the airport in Jordan and quickly figured out how much of a nightmare it was to sort my visa out... Chaos, absolute chaos. There's a line for this and a line for that and god forbid you go in the wrong line.....

My driver picked me up and we drove through the Amman city streets at 1am... the first thing I noticed was how busy it was for such a time... then my nose filled with the wonderful smell of barbecues all around me.... you can see them on the side of the road and the smell is nothing short of mouth watering... mmmm....

Anyway, I made it to my hostel where the owner continued to try and rob me blind... oh there's this cost for that and this cost for this and so on...

Really, I said, well I guess i'll just have to find another place to stay then... and also put a very honest review of this hostel on hostels.com

Oh no need, no need Mr Andy... you seem very nice man... ok, I do you a deal.. - came back the response

So I got the deal, which is pretty much the same price as was advertised but at least i'm not paying any more....

I finally got to my room.. and wow... what an opulent scene.... Ok, picture this.... think of every film you've seen that involves someone being taken as a hostage.... ok... right, still with me... Good. Now think about the typical room a hostage is held in in these films.... yeah... getting the picture... Good. Right, voila.... you have my room... I like to call it 'Hostage Chic' although for the price i'm paying... it'll do.

Let me out.... pay the ransom....

Anyway, moving on. I woke up this morning after 4 hours sleep in a 28 degree room... Yep folks... it's 35 degrees in the day and a mild 28 degrees at night... brrr..

At least the fan on full blast in the room reaches my toes.... nice.

Breakfast, however, was a bonus... lovely flat bread, warm and crisp with humous and jam to dip it in accompanied by a boiled egg... Paradise people... I assure you.

So, at 10am, we set off for Madaba, Mount Nebo (of which I had a sample of the red wine by the way and a lovely drop for cooking it is too)... and the Dead Sea.

What an experience. Madaba is a very holy place... it's well known as the most Christian place in Jordan and it has a beautiful Greek Orthodox Church at its heart. The mosaics in the church are astounding and one depicts all of the religious sites in Middle East. Just as I type this actually, the familiar call to prayer is playing out in the background. I love the Middle East for just this type of culture and tradition.

From Jordan


From Jordan


From Jordan


From Jordan


We got a puncture as we were leaving Madaba and, another classic example of the Middle East culture, the whole city pitched in to help... it was amazing... like a pit stop in a Grand Prix but with a cast of thousands...

We were on our way again, passing through desert, small towns until we reached Mount Nebo... the view allows you take in all of the holy lands and even Jericho on the West Bank on a clear day, which unfortunately, this was not. Still it was a very memorable experience.

From Jordan


From Jordan


From Jordan


From Jordan


From Jordan


From Jordan


Our final destination was the Dead Sea. I've been looking forward to this for sometime and it didn't disappoint... You do actually float. It's an amazing feeling. I also noticed where my cuts and grazes were on my body... ouch... the salt stings a little ha ha...

From Jordan


From Jordan


From Jordan


People were covering themselves in mud and then swimming or rather floating around. Also, you can see Israel just 14km away across the sea. I couldn't get enough of the experience of floating and it's something that i'll never forget. I know i'm lucky to go on this trip but it really is occasions like this and experiences like the Dead Sea where I really feel truly privileged. Anyway, joining me on this trip was Daniel from Sweden who is a nice guy and easy to get on with. He's also going to be on the trip to Petra tomorrow which is great because it's better when there's someone else you know there rather than doing it yourself. I know Petra will be equally memorable, if not more so.... watch this space.

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