Jordan! Finally…

DSC06975

It seems so long ago since Michelle’s and my visit, but it was less than two months ago!  We were only there for four days, but we packed a lot in — including climbing to the top of Petra without the help of those poor beasts of burden.  Trust me the donkeys that trek up and down the mountain earn the burden title.  We just couldn’t add to their misery.

I wish I would have taken the time to write while we were there, but I didn’t, so I’ll do my picture/caption blast to tell the story.  But, first I’d like to sum it all up by telling you a little bit about two young men Ashley and I met in Sri Lanka.  They were brothers from Israel.  They were kind, clever and a lot of fun.  They were so excited about their visit to the turtle hatchery earlier in the day.   Their zest for life and mannerisms reminded me of my sons back home, who like these two have no desire to wreak havoc in anyone’s life.  When I said I was in Jordan just the week before, one of them said, “We can’t go there.”  It stunned me because Israel shares the dead sea with Jordan, and yet they cannot cross each other’s border.  Syria also borders Jordan, which is something I wouldn’t have thought much about if it weren’t for the frequent military checkpoints throughout Jordan, as well as the airport-style security check before entering any resort.

I’ve never been to Israel or Syria, but if the people there are anything like the Jordanians we met (and the two Israelis) it’s hard for me to understand why there is still this much conflict.  I know there’s more to it all than my simple, touristy eyes can see (so please don’t think I’m being insensitive to the horrors that take place any where in the world), but I wish all of you could see how beautiful and normal this part of the world can be.  I’ll stop with my “if the world could sing in perfect harmony” stuff, but truly I wish we could.

As for Michelle and I, we were awed by Jordan’s beauty, hospitality and variety of treasures.

IMG_1716

the hills are alive … and, yes, I was surprised by how much green we saw there!

DSC06940

DSC06991

Ancient ruins in the capital, Amman

IMG_1656 DSC07015 DSC06913

DSC06892

Even more ancient are the ruins in Petra.  Joe wants to visit here, so I’m sure I’ll be back.  Next time I will stay in the modern city of Petra and spend two days hiking around.  Michelle and I hired a driver to pick us up from our Dead Sea resort, bring us to Petra, and then back to our resort.  This meant a total of 6 hours driving, which was also cool because we got to see the sunrise and all sorts of countryside.   (sorry the pics below are not in order, but you get the idea)

IMG_1468

Michelle at one of the plateaus before reaching the top.  You keep going up and up, thinking you’re almost there, and then bam you realize you’re not.IMG_1457

We get to look tiny for a change.  The Monastery, was probably a temple first,  is really close to the tippy top, but just look how massive that building carved into rock is.  To learn more about Petra and its history (and, yes, you’ve seen some of its ruins in an Indiana Jones flick), click here.

IMG_1451

some of those gazillion stairs that lead to the top.  Vendors, who we think live on site, sell along the way.

IMG_1428

of course we made friends with the people in front of us — going up those stairs.  They were kind enough to take a photo of us taking a break in some much needed shade.IMG_1410

tacky tourist time.  Come on, admit it, I’m sexy in those black socks!IMG_1366

poor babies work hard for their owners’ money.  There were also camels and horses you could ride.  While we felt sad for the animals, we did enjoy the banter with some of their peddlers.  Some of them had kohl around their eyes and braided hair, which made them look like Johnny Depp’s Jack Sparrow.  They flirted and joked away trying to talk us into paying for a ride.  Alas, their charm did not get our asses on their asses.

DSC_0514 Although we did talk a man into letting Michelle ride his camel for a few minutes, so she could experience the fun of the mount and dismount.  Hahahaha getting to watch your friend do this for the first time: priceless! The camel seemed amused as well.

IMG_1338

the first part of your hike is going through a rock canal, which is beautiful in itself.  DSC06735

the sun waking up while we’re headed to Petra.DSC06754

the rock had so many layers of color, which changed when the sun shifted. This reminded me so much of Sedona in Arizona.  DSC06743

The romans are coming! or maybe they’re supposed to be the Greeks (damn don’t know my military garb).  Okay, so this was tacky.  You gotta feel for the locals earning some dirhams dressing up as Roman or Greek or whatever  guards.  I realize I’m not being a very good teacher right now by not finding out the correct details for you.DSC_0526 DSC_0469

the wild beasts we met at the top.  Puma kittens — okay, whatever, they’re just kittens, but I like my version better.  As you can tell they didn’t mind snuggling up to us either.DSC_0458  At the top looking down at the massive monastery.  It doesn’t look so big there does it?DSC_0453_2 DSC_0451 DSC_0449

well shit I am in Arizona…DSC_0437 DSC_0432 DSC_0427  OMG our freshly squeezed juice was so needed when we got to this plateau.  Best lemonade of my life!DSC_0414 more red rock detail.  I will never get enough of watching the sun rise or set, water ripple and red rock cliffs.

While Petra was amazing, our spa day at our resort was just as wonderful!

11102629_10206523337187195_8321276501208598958_n 11095349_10206523336627181_333397312757154883_n

I cannot tell you how much fun I had swimming in the spa pools.  One was an indoor dead sea pool (and it stung like a mother because I shaved my legs that morning — ouch!), one was a frigid pool you jump in after relaxing in the sauna, and the other was my favorite.  It was basically a big pool with all sorts of jet action — from a back massaging fountain, to the best foot massager ever, to seats of bubbles.  I truly felt like a princess swimming in its waters.  We spent an entire day getting pampered here, which our aching muscles from the Petra hike totally appreciated.  I may come back again just for the spa day!

And then there was the fact that we could swim in the same waters as Cleopatra…

DSC_0377 the dead sea!

Thing is before you float in this water because you can’t really swim in it — your flubbery self will flip over, and you don’t want to splash around because trust me that shit burns when it gets in your eyes — you have to cover yourself with its black, sulphur-smelling mud.

DSC_0322_2 that’s not tar

DSC_0331 DSC_0314

definitely one of the most awkward things I’ve done.  Word of warning:  men will hog the vat of mud and slather that stuff all over them.  Some have no shame and swab it up under their trunks.  I just stood there watching this one man mud up his junk.  No worries because his buddy watched me lather up my chest.  Don’t know if it cured me of anything, but our skin was so incredibly soft afterward.

Getting into the water is awkward too because it’s rocky, and you don’t want to cut yourself because of all the salt.  And then there’s the whole floating thing.  Your body does not want to sink at all.  It’s also weird swimming around knowing nothing will bite you because it’s the ‘dead’ sea.

DSC06817 DSC06805

but it doesn’t look that way.  Colorful rocks and built-up salt crystals adorn its shores.

We also thoroughly enjoyed our resort, which seemed to chill everything.

DSC06731 DSC_0379

Who doesn’t want chilled nuts and shisha?  The shisha part was weird because when you blew it out the smoke was cold.

The best hummus I’ve ever had, however, was warm.

DSC06734 the roasted pine nuts tasted like bacon.  Oh and that puffy bread next to it was also deliciously warm!

Last, but not least, they celebrated Earth Day while we were there by lighting a bonfire with gas, and filling a bunch of paper bags with candles.  It was hilarious to watch the men try and set this thing up, but we got to sit on the beach, eat free appetizers and watch the lights of Jerusalem across the way.

DSC06790  our little non-eco friendly lanterns.

DSC06713 Mohammed our driver making sure the wind doesn’t blow Michelle off that cliff!  He doesn’t look too worried though, does he?

Of course there’s more to tell, but you’ll just have to ask Michelle or me about the rest of our trip.  I’ve already made this post too long.  Next up (inshallah) will be a run down of the rest of Michelle’s visit.

p.s.  Just read this blog on tourist visa changes in Jordan.  It saddens me the people there are suffering financially because of what’s taking place in neighboring countries.  http://quitealone.com/2015/05/05/jordan-changes-visa-regulations/

Posted on May 7, 2015, in Al Ain Second Trimester and tagged . Bookmark the permalink. Leave a comment.

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s

%d bloggers like this: