Sunday, December 27, 2009
We went to Jordan a few weeks ago for a 4 day weekend. It was a lot of fun! We rented a car in Amman and drove down to the Dead Sea. There was a sign just to the north pointing towards the supposed baptism site of Jesus (by John). We figured we could check it out. A pleasant hour and a half walk later and we had seen the spot that early christians believed was where Jesus was baptized, and also visited the Jordan river, directly across from the big Israeli visit site. Very interesting.
Then we headed back south as originally planned and found a the publicly accessible Amman Beach (costs to get in, but not too much). This has showers and towels and a changing area. We dipped in the Dead Sea for an hour or so, which was a blast (though personally, I couldn't stay in long...certain orifices began to burn....). It's like sitting on a basket ball in a regular pool, your feet keep wanting to float up more than usual. They recommend staying on your back and not trying to swim normally because lots of people drown when they can't turn back over. We didn't have any trouble with that though.
After that we drove back through Amman to get on the Desert Highway and drive south to Petra. Arriving in the evening, we took our time checking out hotels, both our usual backpacker types and the ultra nice Movenpick and such. We were willing to pay more for a nice stay, but when we saw the rooms at the "nice" hotels we just couldn't justify the price they were asking. Instead we found a really nice medium sized place called the Silk Road Hotel. It was walking distance from the entrance to Petra, right down on the main road where all the restaurants and things are. There was even a Turkish bath in the same building that Kerri visited. Our room was a very reasonable price and much larger than the expensive hotels. Free breakfast upstairs and the bathroom was good too. We did check out some other "cheap" hotels in town and were shocked at how expensive and nasty they were. Silk Road was a good compromise (at least, the room we stayed in was).
Next day we got up early and walked down to the Petra entrance, got a day pass and started in. Wow...we were all blown away by how incredible it was. The geological formations alone are stunningly beautiful, but the amazing part was of course just thinking about how people made this area into a fortress and had thriving civilization for several hundred years, holding off the Romans as long as they could. The Nabateans were their name I believe. It was pleasantly cloudy in the morning and we walked the several kilometers in just fine, making our way through the kilometer long canyon and then investigating the many rock-hewn dwellings that came after. About noon we found ourselves as far in as we were willing to go...and there was plenty more to see! We ate lunch and made our way back, thinking to take an alternative route back through a gully that the Nabateans had redirected the local flash flood waters into. When we inquired of the locals as to the direction to take, they warned us not to go that way as it was likely to rain that day. Seeing the dark heavy clouds above, we took their advice and were glad of it as it began to rain very soon after. We walked all the way back in a light drizzle, which turned into a downpour that lasted all afternoon. It was still going strong that evening when we went out to find a restaurant that served local Jordanian food. Mind you, we were not put out in the least as we don't get rain like that in Kuwait ever. As most people here say, it doesn't really rain here...it "muds." Literally, when the drops of rain dry up, there is left behind a splotch of dust. Ick. Anyway, the restaurant was quite cozy and we had a yummy Jordanian stew-like dish that was perfect for the weather.
The next day we slept in and then departed back for Amman, this time taking the road heading west of Petra towards the southern part of the Dead Sea. The road was really windy and there were incredible views as we wound through the hills and eventually found the Dead Sea and headed north. It is an incredible site. There is a Dead Sea Center built on the top of one of the cliffs by the road that we were able to stop at and peruse for an hour or so. Then it was all the way back to Amman to our hotel (finding it was kind of fun!). We spent one more night there, didn't really see anything though as we had turned our car in. Then it was back to Kuwait the next day.
All in all one of our favorite trips that we've taken, I would recommend Jordan to anyone looking for a pleasant short trip with some amazing sites. And there were tons more things to see and do that we didn't have time for, so multiple trips are certainly a possibility.
Christmas was a few days ago, but as I was working we decided to postpone our celebration til the weekend which is now. Today is Christmas Eve, tomorrow Christmas Day, and the day after is...well...the day after Christmas!
Our next trip will be 10 days in Ethoipia, starting Jan 10th. That should be fun!