Hashemite Kingdom of Jordan – Part II

BoyOriginal Post: December 30, 2014

I know you’ve been anxiously awaiting part II of my Jordan trip. Here you go!

We ate at a restaurant that had some pretty amazing food. We did quite a bit of sharing so I had a refreshing fattoush salad. I also tried some of the best battered and flavorful calamari I’ve ever had. My main course was lamb chops with potatoes. It was served in a casserole dish and the mouthwatering blend of spices on the lamb and veggies was sensational.  The cabernet left much to be desired but at least I was able to have a glass in a restaurant. Even though I was the 4th of 20+ to order and the last to get my food, I couldn’t complain once I tasted the food.  It was delicious!  I didn’t care for lamb chops before I moved here, now I order them regularly.

In Doha, there’s the Souq Waqif. It’s a great local market where you can find good deals and it’s a defined space. In Amman, the souq is storefronts that go on and on, street after street. It was quite exciting! I learned quickly that the Jordanians greeted you with “Welcome” and say “Welcome” as you exit as well. It was really sweet actually. The souq has just about anything you would want: electronics, jewelry, clothes, shoes, luggage, food, spices, etc. It was great and amazingly inexpensive. One of my first purchases was a pair of fleece-lined leggings (yes, it does get a little chili in Doha) for $3 USD. I hate I only bought 2 pair. I found a great fuzzy nightgown/robe thing that I’ve fallen in love with. There’s no heat in our apartments so it gets pretty cool at night inside so my new fuzzy thing is great. I also bought a coat (yeah, I gave in a bought one). It’s super cute and I would have paid $100 USD easily at home. I paid about $35 USD. I tried on fabulous shoes but left them all in Jordan. Lord knows I don’t need another pair of shoes. I found a chess set for half the price of the same ones in Doha. Lastly, I found a small carry on piece of luggage. The shop owner was a nice man. My colleague and I both bought a small piece of luggage. He was very grateful. He had us sit and he sent his worker to go buy us coffee and tea. That was a sweet gesture. Warmed my heart. Next time I go, I’ll shop more. It was a fun experience.

Petra – need I say more? All you Indiana Jones fans can be envious. It was such a picturesque experience. The obvious thing is the beautiful and massive structures. As I walked along the path to the Treasury, I felt how an ant must feel to a human. I felt so small and insignificant in the shadows of the beauty that surrounded me. It was calming and peaceful. When I stepped into the path that reveals the Treasury peaking through a narrow opening, it was breathtaking.

I was part of the group that hiked up to the highest viewpoint, which is 1100 meters or 3600+ feet. I literally thought I was going to die at one point, chest pain and all. The hike was mostly stairs and it felt like an endless journey, especially with the guy walking next to me with a donkey that I was too stubborn to get on after I was determined to make it to the top on my own. I’m proud of myself for making it and will never do it again! The view was simply incredible and the pictures do it no justice.

Inside Petra, there’s its own culture. We were given strict instructions not to buy from the children. My mind immediately went to the children in Mexico that try to sell you flowers. It was very much like that. Once we arrived to the Treasury, there were numerous little girls, 6-9 years old, approaching everyone with postcards and trinkets for sell. I was a bit disturbed by this because they went from little children to seductive swindlers in a half a second. It was very sad to see. They were street smart and savvy and could point out where people kept their money. Then there were the young boys and men selling donkey and camel rides. After finally getting on a donkey coming down from the viewpoint, I had a chance to talk to one of the young men. He was 17. It didn’t appear that his teeth ever met a toothbrush. He actually did wear shoes, unlike many others (can’t understand this with the amount of animal feces all around). He told me that he and 24 other families live in the caves there on site.  All day, everyday he sells donkey rides. In all this, he and the others seemed very happy so I cannot judge or impose my values. It’s just a very different way of life.

The baptismal site of Jesus was a short walk from where our bus parked. In one direction there are numerous churches. In another direction is the city of Jericho.

We walked down a covered pathway that was only recently covered due to the Pope’s visit. It was a tranquil walk and the site was a simple site. I could imagine the now empty desolate space being filled with flowing water. It was cool to be there.

We kept moving forward along the same path until we reached the Jordan River. We stood on the Jordan side and just on the other side of the water is Israel. We were told not to venture too fare into the water because there’s no clear line as to where Jordan ends and Israel begins. The water was pretty cold and very muddy. If you’d like to be baptized there, they do offer that service. The interesting thing was that they have wifi J

Lastly, the Dead Sea! We spent the day at the new Holiday Inn Dead Sea Resort. It’s a great property and if you want to go to the Dead Sea, I’d recommend it. They offer a nice buffet that is very good.  They have a full bar as well.

First, the Dead Sea is nearly 400 square miles. I knew it was the lowest point on earth but had no idea of its size. It’s hard to describe what it’s like being in the Dead Sea. The content of the water causes buoyancy so you just float. It’s the weirdest feeling. Of course I covered myself in mud like a good ‘ol tourist would. It was delightful and my skin thanked me. It was a great experience.

So, that’s all I have to say about the beautiful Hashemite Kingdom of Jordan. It was quite the adventure and I can’t wait for the next one.

Living life…and it’s good.

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