If you havent read my last post about Israel and how we got there, you should start there before continuing. If you have, you know that where we left off, Burke and I were stuck at the Israeli Jordanian border without enough sheckels or dinar to get our visas. Remember the people I said we talked to on the bus? Burke asked them if they coud loan us any money and one willingly gave us about 5 USD worth of sheckels. We were so thankful!
Once we arrived in Amman, Tomas met us at the bus drop-off. We went with him back to his house and rode in the first taxi of our trip, they are ridiculously inexpensive there. We spent the afternoon with Tomas, his wife, and their three amazing children. It was very nice to rest and just have a place of our own again for a little while. Later on we went to the English Language school they were helping to run there. We met up with the people from J Team that we had met in Slovakia and had a nice time catching up and meeting some Jordanian people who were proud to use their newly acquired English. Then we took a walk around the city for the rest of the night before going back home.
A few fun facts about Jordan:
1. They don’t flush toilet paper.
2. They pay for every drop of water they use. Every apartment has a big tub on the roof that they pay to have filled once a week and if they run out, they run out for the week.
3. They love to heckle. So much so, that shop keepers don’t even mind working and will work late into the night just because it’s enjoyable.
4. The country is ridiculously cheap for everyday expenses, but the attractions are painfully expensive. Details below.
Our first full day in Jordan, we hired a taxi for half a day to chauffer us around and it only cost us 30 Dinar, amazing! So we first went to the Baptism site of Jesus. It very dried up, but pretty cool nonetheless. There are four churches on the site and we were able to go into one of them. Just across the river is the West Bank. By request, I’m including a small map to give you an idea of where all we went. Perhaps it will help you better imagine our trip.
After the Baptism site, we went to the dead sea. The water was very warm and we floated around and I tried to swim a bit. It is a very strange sensation to try to swim because I floated so much that when on my stomach, my feet floated right out of the water, making kicking sort of inverse, but knees don’t bend that way. So swimming isn’t really possible. Also, the water is allegedly therapeutic and good for your skin, but I felt disgusting afterwards. It took four showers to feel like I got the salty film off of me. I suppose I should mention at this point that Burke drove that night in Amman. He was excited about the opportunity. The streets there seldom have road lines, even downtown, but when there are street lines, they are entirely ignored.
The next morning we woke up and started heading south to Aqaba with a stop in Petra on the way. Petra was so beautiful and unlike anything I had ever seen. It is basically a city carved into the side of a canyon. We were very limited on time, so we were happy to take a horse ride down to the opening of the canyon (my horses name was Luca). We practically ran through so that we could see as much as possible, but it was worth it. On the way back up, we heckled our way into another horse ride to the top. The owner of my horse was very friendly and talked to Burke and I about our lives. He asked if we were married and when we said yes he asked how many children we had. We said none, we’ve only been married for six months. Then he said, if you married an Arab woman, she’d give you two kids by now. He sure showed us.
After Petra we continued on to Aqaba, but were deterred by obnoxious amounts of rain… in the desert. Obviously that doesn’t happen a lot so their roads are not prepared for it, making for a scary hour or two of driving. We settled in at our accommodation and the next morning we went to the Red Sea. The water was so warm and Burke and I took a nice long walk along the beach. Along the way, there was a man looking forlornly into the sea at his soccer ball which was just out of reach. I was wearing flip flops so I retreived it for him and he was so happy that he called all his friends over and they asked to take a picture with us. Loved it.
The rest of the day we walked around the town and mingled through the various markets and shops. It was especially fun to shop in Jordan because the people working take such an interest in their shoppers. We even had some sweet tea. In the evening we walked down a street and asked a shopkeeper where a good place to get falafel was. He pointed us to a place around the corner and we went. While we sitting there I said, “Burke, if you feel out of place (we were the only caucasians in the restaurant), imagine how I feel (the only woman in the restaurant).” Regardless, our falafel sandwhiches only cost 25 cents each and were spectacular.
The next day was the last day of our vacation, and we went out with a bang. We visited Wadi Rum, which we had never heard of before, but it was incredible. It is a desert with mountains and canyons and sand dunes and was so beautiful. At the end of our time there I even accomplished my Middle East vacation goal: I rode a camel!
After we left Tomas took us to the border where we proceded to walk from Jordan to Israel and into Eilat. From there we just had to make our trip to Israel in reverse. We have been very very blessed to have been able to take such an amazing vacation and safely:) And we are VERY thankful to the Sipocz family for hosting us during our stay in Jordan.