Upon our arrival in Jordan, Suzanne and Gil and Mick and I we were met by a tour representative who expedited our visa entry, passport check and a car waiting for us to drive us to the Kempinski Amman Hotel by 9:30 p.m.
We were quite hungry and wanted a little something to eat. This is when we found out that it is Ramadan from May 6th to June 4th. This means that all Muslims must fast from dawn to dusk and must abstain from alcohol for the entire month. This means that for the entire duration of Ramadan all liquor stores are closed, all restaurants only open after 7 p.m. and tourist areas close two hours earlier.
The saving grace is that all 5 Star Hotels are exempt. Having said this, the cost is at a premium. I knew I wouldn’t be too popular with the girls once they found this out! I was happy to be in Jordan when I sent a message warning them of this little snag…how did this affect us?
We just had to start the tour a little earlier which suited us fine because we have encountered a heat wave in Jordan in the high 30’s – lunch was a challenge so we had to stop a few times in a bakery and organize a picnic lunch.
All in all we’ve been kept so busy from morning till night that right after dinner we’re back in our room with our feet up and enjoying the air condition. The highlights of our trip (Reader’s Digest version) so far has been our walk through Petra which is a Unesco World Heritage Site and one of the Seven Wonders of the Ancient World.
Simply put, indescribable! It was a 4 hour walk on this magnificent site (11.6 km). Our return was a little challenging as the heat rose to 36 Celsius. We did it and were very proud of ourselves! We then headed for an over-night stop in Wadi Rum to experience a Bedouin Camp in the wild desert.
The rock formation reminded us of melting ice cream! Quite the site. Very popular for movie shoots such as Laurence of Arabia and some lunar landscape star wars movies!! Upon arrival we were shown our tents which consisted of hard wood floors, king size beds full bath and shower facilities, air conditioning and silk like Arabic draping
We know for a fact that the local Bedouins don’t live in these luxury tents…we were then informed that we were going on a two-hour jeep drive through parts of the desert to end the drive at a peak to view the sunset.
The vehicle was slightly battered (to say the least) we sat in the back of the pick up hanging on for dear life! Personally I just love this!!! Within 10 minutes the driver stops in front of this high dune and points us towards the top of the crag.
We looked at each other and couldn’t believe we were to climb this sand dune after walking 11.6 km in the heat. Might I add, the sun hadn’t set yet…Well, we made it to the top and well worth it for the view.
Many of the stops in the desert were very interesting including hieroglyphics etched in the rocks. As we neared the end of the drive we stopped for the sunset whcih was lovely, and from there we could see our camp at the bottom of the sand dune so I asked the driver if he’d drive it straight down rather than go all around.
I thought it would be more exciting, he had a huge grin on his face and agreed. It was a great way to end the excursion. The dinner was in a Bedouin tent and consisted of Jordanian foods such as chicken and rice with interesting yogurt based dips with crushed thyme and sesame seeds, fine oils and hummus and egg plants. Wonderful meal, a nice pit fire, stars above us and a good night sleep to follow.
The following morning we headed towards the Dead Sea which is 430 meters below sea level. The drive is incredibly scenic and we stopped at a few sites with biblical/historical significance.
when we arrived at our hotel, we immediately checked in and were up-graded to a room facing the Dead Sea and Palestine. We changed into our bathing suits and went for a ‘float’ in the sea! What a strange feeling! The ‘water’ is more like salted oil and you really cannot swim in it. You just float! Whether you want to or not, you float! Suzanne and I then muddied ourselves with the black mud full of minerals and salts, then let it dry and rinse it off! Our skin felt like silk after that!!
The following morning we headed to the Airport at 3 a.m. for a 7 a.m. flt to Cairo. We are now in Cairo and have caught up with Vanessa, Kelly, Shannon and Catlin and will be going for a camel ride at the Pyramids tomorrow –Ma’as Salama to All
Are you ready to check the second part of our Tour! we are waiting