And That Makes Three

Yesterday was a slow day. Not the tour itself but the fact we’re all dead tired. We went o Jerash—an amazing Roman ruin outside Madaba, Jordan. No power walking today….it was more of a stroll.

But the real excitement came on the way home. Here the sequence of events:

A cop pulls over a driver and opens his door
Cop doesn’t pull far enough off the road and door opens in traffic
Bus next to us tried to pull over into our lane so it doesn’t hit the cops door.
We try to go left so we don’t get hit by the bus
No one can move far enough so—the bus hit to cop door! Shattered the hell out of it and I watched it fly by my window…as we sideswiped the jeep on our left. As for the cop, no idea but we hope he’s okay.

So that makes three times I’ve cheated death:
1) Elevator getting Stuck
2) Construction falling
3) Car wreck

Done now!

Petra-Day Two

Petra is all about walking. Seriously,. Today, we put some serious miles on our feet. First hike: The High Place and roughly 900 steps. Again, while brutal, it takes effort. And on the way up—a lone donkey walking up by itself. Odd.
Great view of the other structures from the top and we got yelled at by some Frechman. Hey, it’s not a fun day unless someone yells at you!

After we looked around, we hiked down the backside, toured a lot of tombs and carved houses—way too many to count! But all good. What I found interestingis that we only found one house that was carved on the inside. I can see why they wouldn’t paint on the sandstone but to not carve it inside seems odd.

And around 3:00, we decided that we were “Tombed Out”. After all, one can only see so many tombs (even the ones at Petra) and at some point, they all start to blend. So what do we do…what to do…

We decide to go ahead and leave but to take an “alternate” route home that our guide had told us about. It’s not up the hill. It’s through the river bed, down a sandstone canyon, through a short tunnel and voila, you’re back at the entrance to the site.

Sounds easy enough?

It is, except for the climbing. Through the sandstone canyon, there are walls made of stone and misc. things like tires that you have to climb up in order to go on. Add that to the fact that someone motioned the word “Flash flood” and then that’s all I could think about. Yes, I know it’s a desert and I know it doesn’t get much rain but that doesn’t mean they don’t get flash floods. Still, even though it freaked me out a bit, but as always, I didn’t let a little trepidation stop me and an hour and a half later, we were outside Petra.

Petra Day One

One of the (new) Seven Wonders of the World and made even more famous by Indiana Joes and the Last Crusade, Petra is exactly as fabulous as everyone who hasn’t been there thinks and hopes it is.

Today, we arrived, walked through the canyon, turned a corner and WOW!

Iconic! And while the site was busy, that didn’t really bother me. My thought is that back in the day, Petra was busy with traders, shops, and people just living their lives, so seeing it a bit crowded with tourists isn’t that different. Sure, we’re dressed different but there is still shopping, money changing hands, milling about and even a few camels. So really, not so different.

And while most people are familiar with the Treasury, there is so much more to Petra. Today, we walked around the site and ended up hiking the 880 stairs up to the Monastery. Sounds like a bit of a walk but after Mt Sinai, anything less that 1000 stairs isn’t that big a deal anymore. And for those who don’t want to walk, there are always donkeys. Personally, I’d be worried about falling off the donkey to my death but it seems the little critters know what they are doing and so far as I can tell, people aren’t dying in droves!

On a side note, the donkeys look depressed as hell and I still think it’s possible they might just jump over, taking the rider with them.

Anyway, you hike up , ride up, whatever, and when you turn the corner—wow!
I have to say, I think I like the Monastery just as much as the Treasury. It’s not as ornate, but the fact it’s set way the hell up the mountain is impressive. Plus, you get the kick-ass view. We spent some time just walking around, going inside and trying to get into trouble.

Filthiest group EVER

Right now, I am traveling with a group of people that range in age, gender and nationality. Our group leader (John) has dubbed us the “Filthiest Group Ever”. Why? Two reasons:
1) We are smutty. It’s true. It seems we can’t have a conversation without it turning into something that Stu (a Kiwi) dubs “utter filth”. It might be dirty jokes, innuendo, learning a new and disturbing word or phrase, etc. but it’s all smut and sex with us.

I think it’s because we’re all single people with nothing better to talk about. There’s one married couple and they rarely (if ever) add to the smutty conversations. The rest of the group thinks it’s me that causes the decent into filth! Sure, pick on the romance novelist. Bastards and liars..all of them. J

2) Lack of washing. It’s not that we don’t want to but sometimes there is no time. Luckily, we don’t all do this at the same time, but I will confess that I didn’t wash my hair for two days after hiking up Mt Sinai and going to Sawa beach—I just rinsed and conditioned because I figured the salt water was harsh enough without adding soap to the mix. WRONG. My hair got to the point where it would stand up on its own.

Wadi Rum Desert

Entering Wadi Rum (a desert) is like entering a movie set—it’s so unreal and so huge that it verges on unbelievable. We did quite a bit there—climbed up huge rock arches, hiked up dunes (which is really really hard may I say) and spent the night at a Bedouin Camp.

Ah—the Bedouin camp—where one of the guys in my group tried to sell me for camel milk! Luckily, there was no camel milk to be had so the deal was no good. Plus, thee sheik already has two wives and me as wife number three…I think not! Still, the Sheik of the camp had great fun with it and went around all night calling me his wife. Even late into the night, I heard “Good Night my Wife!” yelled out into the dark, which sent Alex and I into giggles.

Anyway, dinner was cooked under the ground (called Zarv—see the picture) and quite good though occasionally gritty. And afterwards, there was singing and a dancing by the men. Myself and Cathy (she’s a British girl in my group) were pulled up as well and joined in—heaps of fun if a bit embarrassing. After the entertainment, we headed to bed and slept under the stars.

Sleeping in Wadi Rum is the best. There’s little to no light pollution and I don’t’ think I’ve seen that many stars in years. It was so clear and the stars so thick that it was like a sea of them over our head. Memorable!

Look Up!

Spent the night in Aqaba. A LOVELY town and but a bit dangerous. My roomie, Alexandra (Alex) and I were walking down the street to find a bakery and these who men were yelling at us. We ignored them because lots of people yell at us. Usually it’s a shopkeeper telling us to come into their store, that looking is free, etc.

Turns out, they were trying to warn us that there was construction going on in the building next too us. So, we’re chatting and walking and ignoring and we heard a clattering above our heads. We look to see mortar and wood raining down. I swear, I could feel the adrenaline and before either of us had time to think or shout, we ran into the street as the whole mess hit the sidewalk.

Cheated death once again!

Sense of Humor Day-Number One

Basically, it’s a border crossing. This time it’s from Egypt to Jordan via ferry, which is an adventure in itself. The ferry is always two hours (min) late and today was no exception. The ferry was supposed to leave at 2 and it left at 5. And the waiting terminal…..ewwww! At some point, I simply got use to the flies.

On the upside, as a foreigner, you get to board first. So when everyone rushes the door—push ahead of them. Yes, you get dirty looks but that’s why you pay more for a ticket. And the seat on the ferry are plushy and comfy. Well worth the wait!