Sunday, March 24, 2024

Jordan (Fun with Nick and Jane)


After our flight from Cairo to Amman we took a taxi

 from the airport. The taxi driver detoured to

 his friend’s camel lot and requested we take a photo of

 him with a baby camel and send it via

 WhatsApp to him. He had earlier indicated he

 wished to give us a tour of Amman, Teresa felt the

 ruse was to get our contact information.

That night our guide, Montaser, took us along with Nick

 and Jane from our group (the others had not

 yet arrived) to a restaurant overlooking the

 Citadel, the remnants of the Temple of

 Hercules and the ancient amphitheater

 partially hidden by a tree.

The next morning our entire group (9 of us) were taken

 to Jerash, an ancient city which was a trading hub for

 the Greeks then Romans.

 It had a large intact theater, a Christian church, temples

 to Zeus andArtemis, a hippodrome and other practical


We next went to a resort on the Dead Sea. On the way

 we got shewarma and I got a chocolate milkshake at a


Both Teresa and I went swimming, and yes, it was

 impossible to go underwater in the super salty sea.

Teresa went in for the mud bath but forbade me from

 publishing photos. The Dead Sea is rapidly losing water

 due to evaporation with only a trickle from the Jordan

 River repenishing it. By all accounts, there are people

 alive today who will witness it going completely dry.

We got a sweet treat on the way back to Amman.

For dinner, eight of us ubered downtown to a nice fun

 restaurant. I had lamb kofta with tomato sauce,

Teresa had a clay pot lamb with vegetable dish. They

 broke the pot to serve the meal.

Very good ice cream two stores down from the


In the morning we traveled to St. George’s Church to see

 a 6th century mosaic with the locations of biblical

 historical sites. Its accuracy was dubious.

Next we went to Mount Nebo where presumably Moses

 saw the Promised land right before his death.

Mosaics were displayed there as well.

We then drove to Karak Castle, a large fortification built

 by the Crusaders on the East Bank of the Jordan as an

 attempt to establish a defensive line east of Jerusalem.

Our last trip of the day was to Little Petra. It was a

 caravansaray carved from rock that also served as a

 trading post (Petra was considered a holy city so no

 camels were allowed there. Nearby Little Petra was 

where they hung out, often with merchandise they 

were transporting.)

The next day was Petra day. We arrived at about 6:40

 a.m. The long path started as a narrow canyon.

We went by the Djin blocks which were burial places

 and the dam.

 We continued along As Siq to the building known as

 The Treasury- though actually probably a tomb (the

 same route taken by Indiana Jones). Our guide gave us a

 running commentary.

We did a little climbing to see the Unayshu tomb and to

overlook  the theater.

We continued on the high ground to see the various royal


We then went by the Church and then saw what they call

 the Great Temple but was most likely a city hall.

It was then a short walk to the market area where we ate

 the snacks we brought and overpaid for ice cream.

It should be noted that Nabateans built the city and it

 served as a  major stop on a trading route 

 connecting Mesopotamia, Egypt and the


 The Nabateans were quite adept at preserving

their neutrality, so goods, especially incense, could be

 traded there, even among warring factions.

After our lunch break most of us proceed on the long

 trek (including 820 steps up) to the “Monastery”-

 which again, was probably a tomb. There were plenty

 of souvenir stands along the way. We did more climbing

 at The Monastery for “The Best View” before heading


We took a different route for part of the way back which

 allowed us to go in the Great Temple area. We also 

walked along the Colonaded Street and saw the Theater 

at street level. When we passed back by The Treasury, it 

was packed. That made us glad we had an early start.

 We were back to the entrance by 2:30 p.m.

After returning to the hotel I went to a Turkish Bath with

 four others from our group. It was intense ex-foliating

 and massage.

For dinner we went to a local restaurant. We were shown

how tandoori bread was made. I had camel kebabs.

The next morning we headed for the Jordanian desert,

 specifically Wadi Rum.

We first saw the seven pillars of wisdom, made famous

 by T.H. Lawrence.

We rode through the desert in the back of pickup trucks

 with benches. We checked into our Bedouin camp

 before heading deeper into the desert. 

The Jordanian government made it easy to film movies

 here. We saw sites from Star Wars, Alladin, The Martian

 and Dune 2.

That evening we ate food prepared by the Bedouins and

 cooked underground.

Stargazing was okay- we could not see the Milky Way.

The next morning we headed to Aqaba, stopping for a

 look at an old, historical train.

We walked around Aqaba, visiting the Sherif Hussein

 Museum which was very well done, and the old castle.

We returned to our hotel to read a while at the pool.

We went out again with Lisa, did some shopping and

 took a 45 minute glass bottom boat tour.

We went to a fish restaurant for dinner, ice cream

 afterward and our group took a walk around the city

 with our guide.

Our last day started with a trip along the Isreaeli border,

 including the Dead Sea.

After we arrived in Amman we visited the Citadel where

 we got a better look of the theater and saw the

 fortifications of the city through various regimes.

That night we had a great farewell dinner sampling

 numerous traditional Jordanian dishes.