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THE AMAZING ADVENTURES OF JESS & DAN back on the road again...

Jordanian adventures

JORDAN | Thursday, 22 October 2009 | Views [927] | Comments [3]

Dear All,

I’m writing this pool side in Madaba, Jordan and recalling our travels to here…

We arrived at 8pm from Nuweiba, Egypt into Aqaba, Jordan. On the ferry we passed Israel, Egypt, Jordan and Saudi Arabia. No wonder they’ve got border issues here when you see how close they all are. The Israel coast on the red sea is only 10km long! Aqaba had a totally different feel to Egypt, the streets a tad cleaner, the people smile a little friendlier and just a tad more welcoming. We had a late dinner at an amazing seafood restaurant where we ate the very same fish we were admiring a few days earlier snorkelling…groper. It was amazing.

From Aqaba we were on the bus to Wadi Rum. Wadi Rum is a huge protected area with a main valley of over 100km long. The photos will best describe the landscape of Wadi Rum..have a look they are loaded! The area is a protected zone however the native Bedouin people are still able to live in the area and are the only people able to work in the Wadi Rum area. We were picked up by the chief bedoin’s son and driver for a 4 hour drive through the desert which included dune climbing, seeing inscriptions over 3000 years old, having lunch in the shadow of a huge mountain sticking out of the sand and finally ending up at our Bedouin camp. We watched the sunset while the desert seemed to change colours behind us. From there we fell asleep outside our Bedouin tent looking up at the stars.

We left the camp early and munched dry pita bread and a horrible cherry jam on the way..definitely not my favourite breakfast. We had got use to very long drives in Egypt as the country is a lot bigger than Jodan, so it has been a nice change to only be sitting in the bus for 1.5 hours instead of 7! Much more relaxing.

We spent 1.5 hours on the bus travelling up the king’s highway which is one of the oldest roads/paths in the world and was originally used by the caravan traders and the Nabataeans. There is evidence placing the Nabataea people in the area of Petra since 7000BC!! The Nabataeans ended up joining the Edomites from Arabia and together they built the city of Petra, with magnificent buildings carved into the rock walls, water channels and dams and is now one of the 7 wonders of the world. Eventually the Nabataeans were overrun by the Greeks and the city was eventually abandoned by nearly all apart from a few wandering Nabataeans. The city has been badly damaged by earthquakes and now only 5% has been recovered by archaeologists. The entrance to Petra follows a natural crack in the rocks where everyone must walk the 1200m stretch to reach the entrance to the city of Petra.

Nothing can describe how amazing it was to see the treasury (the first and one of the most impressive buildings) appear in between the rocks as we were walking along the path. Our path seemed shadowed while the sun was shining on the treasury highlighting the amazing columns and rose coloured stone. Petra is amazing as all of the buildings (except one free standing greek addition) were carved into the rock. They would start at the top and slowly make their way down. Petra is not just one building, behind the treasury are several other tombs and impressive facades, that historians and archaeologists can only guess their original purpose. We walked a very sweaty 900 steps up the hill in 37degree heat the the monastery. From the photos you will be able to see how huge it is, I only just reach the top of the doorway! We finally made our way out of Petra after walking around 15km around the huge site in 37 degree heat…slept really really well that night.

The next day was a free day to continue exploring Petra or the town of Wadi Musa where we were staying. We had a look around town and then caught up on some washing. The poor cleaner would have got a shock seeing undies and jocks hanging from everyone hook and shower rail when she made our beds! Dan and I chose to relax for the day and then that night we went to Petra by night. The light the pathway to the treasury with over 1500 candles. When we arrived at the treasury we had a cup of herbal tea and listed to a traditional song played by flute and another guitar like instrument. There was then a story by our Nabataea guide. The atmosphere was amazing with all the candles, everyone sitting so quietly and having the stars above us

The next day we waved goodbye to Petra and made our way towards the Dead Sea. The Dead Sea borders Jordan, Israel and the Palestine Territories. The Dead Sea is more like a lake without a drainage point, the Jordan River flows into the Dead Sea and then the water never leaves. The Dead Sea is the lowest point on earth, 480m below sea level. However you cant swim in the dead sea, the salt levels in the water are at 31% which is 9 times that of the ocean! The high salt levels are not related the sea level, rather the ridiculously high evaporation rate, in Summer the dead sea can reach 50 degrees!

We were warned not to shave as the high salt levels would cause our skin to sting ALOT! We were also warned that the salt would sting our eyes and face, taste horrible and really sting any fresh cuts or rashes. I was so well behaved and hadn’t shaved in days, my legs were really hairy! We all rushed to the change room, put the bathers down and rushed down the CONCRETE stairs to the beach and water..and you wouldn’t believe my clumsiness..in my rush I stubbed my toes on the edge of the step and took fingernail size chunks of skin of 2 toes!!! Ouch, it was bleeding everywhere and stinging before I even put it in the water!Ouch, I can still remember the sting when I put it into the water. Once in the dead sea it was an experience I will never forget. You don’t have to walk far out, and once you slide into the water and lift your feet up, your legs bob to the surface like they are attached to floaties. We floated in the water with our feet and hands out of the water, it was a very strange feeling.

We couldn’t spend too long in the dead sea as it was stinging everywhere and especially my toes. So we made our way back to the resort pool. We attempted to float with our hands and legs out of the water, but it doesn’t work and all we got was a face full of water. Have a look at the pics and then try and float like that in a pool and you will be able to understand the buoyancy of the dead sea.

From the dead sea we had a quick stop over at Mt Nebo. Mt Nebo is where Moses came and saw the promise land (now Israel). The site offers a clear view to Israel and Jerusalem..if your there on a clear day, unfortunately it was a hazy day and we could only see as far as the dead sea.

Yesterday (Tuesday 20th October) we arrived in Madaba. We arrived late and went out for dinner at a restaurant called Haret Jdounda. it’s a very old traditional building with a beautiful courtyard where we had dinner. Dinner was possibly the best meal we have had on the trip, with amazing dips and breads, fried cheese, felafel, salads and a chicken and potato dish. Really great food.

Today was our last day of the tour and we visited St Georges Church. St Georges church is home to the oldest known map of Palestine. It was originally a 50ft x 15ft coloured mosaic on the floor. Parts have been damaged however most still remains. The map covers Palestine, Jordan, Egypt and it originally covered Syria, before it was damaged by earthquakes and fires in the church. The photo I have included is a photo of the map as the mosaic itself circles a pole and makes it a little to photograph. Madaba is the home of Mosaics and there were some beautiful Mosaics which have come from the local college which teaches.

Spent the rest of today skyping, lunching, relaxing by the pool, playing cards, sipping vodkas in the sun and helping dan and Phillipa choose their wedding songs (:

Overall the trip has been excellent and has definitely been an eye opener into life in the middle east.

Tomorrow we leave Jordan at 5pm, fly to Bahrain for a stop over and then will arrive in Kathmandu at 8am on the 23rd October. Our trek/community project begins on the 25th so I may squeeze in a little blog before we leave on the trek. Amy is back to London to try and find work and survive uk winter.

Hope all is well,

Love to all ,

Love jess xoxo

 

Comments

1

Hello again everyone, everything you are seeing and experiencing is amazing. It truly seems a whole world away from what we know here in Australia. The photos are great and looks like you are all having a wonderful time and creating even more life time memories. I love the look of the Treasury as you come through the rocks. Enjoy the last part of the tour and I look forward to the next instalment. Love Gai xx

  Gai Basso Oct 22, 2009 6:35 AM

2

Hi Jess Dan and Amy what can I say thet everyone else has said before me we really appreciate your blogs and enjoy your photos you are having a really marvellous time those steps hope Dan is not feeling too tired hope he is getting fit for the Napal trek or will you have to push him Jess any way as long as you are enjoying your selves what else matters our love to you all Jess Dan and Amy oxoxoxo

  val and mick Oct 22, 2009 12:34 PM

3

Hi Jess and Dan,
Your photos are fantastic; especially loved the sunset in the desert ones, they are beautiful. It certainly has been a wonderful experience for you all. To see so much history and such diverse landscapes has been fantastic.
It was good to see the photos of you floating in the Dead Sea because now we have a visual of what you were talking about on skype.
Now onto Nepal and another very different experience. How lucky are you both to be travelling to so many different places.
Keep having fun and stay safe.
Love you heaps and heaps.
Love Mum xxxxxooooo

  mandy hetherington Oct 22, 2009 6:59 PM

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