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Jordan Trip Diary – Tryst with an Arab kingdom of Western Asia

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22nd December , 2013 11:50 –  Flight from Gatwick airport to Amman by Easyjet.  Further flight by Royal Jordanian to Amman. Reach Amman hotel by taxi. Check in at Coral Bay. Dinner varieties of stuffed bread (stuffings inc. Leaves, cheese, potatoes, etc) with omelette cheese n Egyptian roti.

23rd December, 2013 – Sez visit to stamp passport and submarine tour of corals and under water beings. Lunch at Coral bay , consisting of Chicken burgers and chips.

24th December, 2013 – Aquaba to Wadi rum by taxi. Welcomed at house of ‘Guides of Wadirum’ by Abdullah Ali. Desert sightseeing  by jeep tour 8 hours tour. Nabatean tenple: Used by Nabatean to worship ALLAT (Goddess). This temple was built on the ruins Allat temple of the AAD TRIBE. Lawrence spring: Climb to Lawrence spring and back.where Lawrence of Arabia reputedly washed during the Arab Revolt. Has attractive rock inscriptions on nearby rocks.
Khazali canyon:  Deep, narrow fissure in the mountain side, containing many rock inscriptions.
Little bridge: Amit climbed the little bridge . I took his pics from below J. Lawrence house: where Lawrence of Arabia lived in the early 20th century.

Anfeasheah inscriptions: this mountain is famous for its formations and inscriptions. Anfashieh has numerous Thamudic and Nabataen inscriptions, next to it drawings of animals, humans, and camel caravans.

Sand dune: large area of sand dunes piled up against the mountains. We climbed to the top of the dune. Have desert-adapted plants.

Uumm froth rock bridge: Amit  climbed this bridge and i took his pics from down below again J. Its a natural rock bridge, created by many years of water and wind.
Lunch: At camp cooked by the guide consisting od a curry made of alu, matar and tamatar with rotis, rice salad, juices, yogurts, cakes and bedouin tea and water in the desert.

Barah canyon: Hiking in the canyon long, deep canyon between dramatic mountains.    Sunset site: watching the sunset sitting on a rock face where we got the most dramatic views of Wadi-rum as the sun sets below the horizon.After sun set back to the camp with evening setting in, camp fire was lit up in the tent with lots of Bedouin tea and cakes and biscuits.

Dinner:    Made by the guide consisting of chicken pulao with sesame seed paste, rotis and alu matar sabji, salad, yougurt, variety of cheese, soft drinks and cakes.

Continue to other site visits followed by camping at bedouin tent at night.

Star gazing at night.

25th December, 2013 – after breakfast of omelette, bread, juice and a variety of cheese we visited the burdah rock bridge. This is a stupendous, timeless place, untouched by humanity and its destructive forces. Here, the weather and winds have carved the imposing, towering skyscrapers, so elegantly described by T.E. Lawrence as “vast, echoing and God-like.”A maze of monolithic rocks capes rise up from the desert floor to heights of 1,750m creating a natural challenge for serious mountaineers. But we did not have enough time to climb or explore it. So just took pics of it.  Camel tour of 8 hours and visited Um sabath red sand , climbed the sand dunes, visited the ox bridge under which we had our lunch. Lunch consisted of tuna in oil, salad, juice , roti and cakes.  After lunch we continued to visit Al qatar spring and see sun set.

Back to Abdullah Ali’s house. Payment and then visit the wadirum visitors centre after which we went  off to Petra by taxi. Check in at Candles hotel. Dinner at a roadside restaurant of kebab rolls and chips.

Followed by ‘Petra by night’. Amazing experience of the whole city being lit by candles inclyding the pathway through the canyon upto the treasury. Where a program was arranged of a local bedoiun music being played by a Bedouin and we were served Bedouin tea. Took a lot of pictures and returned to Candles hotel.

26th December, 2013 – ‘Petra by Day’.  Main attractions : Monastery and High place of Sacrifice. We saw the ruins of many palces, visiting theatres and tombs. I climbed the Monastery on the back of a mule while Amit did it himself. The monastery was a beautiful attraction worth a visit. After a lunch of fruits cakes biscuits and juice we saw the museums. Then Amit went for the trek of high place of sacrifice and i took some rest in a coffe shop sipping some amazing Jordanian coffee while i waited for him to come back.

Dinner in a restaurant nearby consisting of Typical Jordanian specialties

Mansaf: The national dish of Jordan and the most distinctive Jordanian dish. Mansaf is a traditional Jordanian dish made of lamb cooked in a sauce of fermented dried yogurt called Jameed and served with rice.

Maqluba: A casserole made of layers of rice, vegetables and meat. After cooking, the pot is flipped upside-down onto the plate when served, hence the name maqluba which translates literally as “upside-down”.

27th December, 2013 –After a heavy breakfast in Petra hotel, consisting of, bread, hummus, salads, boiled eggs, sausages, variety of cheese, fruits, juice we took a taxi from Petra to Karak Castle, Madaba:  is the capital city of Madaba Governorate in central Jordan, which has a population of about 60,000. It is best known for its Byzantine and Umayyad mosaics, especially a large Byzantine-era mosaic map of The Holy Land which was inside a church. Then we also visited the museum to see some mosaics and roamed through the market. Had a ‘sawarma roll’ each for lunch from a roadside shop.  Then we went to the mount nebo. We travelled by Kings Highway crossing Wadi Mujib via Ariha and Dhiban with some photo stop.

Mount Nebo  is an elevated ridge in Jordan, approximately 817 metres (2,680 ft) above sea level, mentioned in the Bible as the place where Moses was granted a view of the Promised Land. The view from the summit provides a panorama of the Holy Land and, to the north, a more limited one of the valley of the River Jordan. The West Bank city of Jericho is usually visible from the summit, as is Jerusalem on a very clear day.

Drop at Mujib Nature Reserve RSCN guest house. Relax at the mujib chalets, while watching the beautiful sunset from the portico of the chalets facing the Dead Sea.  Dinner at the chalets dinner room consisting of grilled chicken, salads, bread, hummus and rice. We enjoyed the peacefulness of the place and the sounds of the night.

28th December, 2013 – Day started with watching sunrise from the portico of the chalet, followed by having breakfast at the mujib chalets with coffee, bread, cheese, eggs after which Amit went on a trail to see the IBIX. (But could not even see a hair of IBIX after 3 hrs of trek 😉 :P)

After some discussions we decided to go to a place where the sea did not have much salt and one could float. It was the O2 resorts. But quite a misunderstanding! Though we did get some dead sea mud to put on ourselves and it cost us a lot but neither did i get the spa i was looking for, nor Amit got the sea experiences without bruises and we concluded that it would have been better had we stayed at the mujib chalets. Day ended with us having maggi for dinner.

29th December, 2013 – Check out at mujib chalets and we headed off with a taxi to first Baptism Site where we could see the people on the Israel side singing psalms just a hands distance away!        Then we headed off to Jerash. Jerash is the site of the ruins of the Greco-Roman city of Gerasa, also referred to as Antioch on the Golden River. The foundation of the city was laid by Alexander the Great or his general Perdiccas, who settled aged Macedonian soldiers there. This took place during the spring of 331 BC, when Alexander left Egypt, crossed Syria and then went to Mesopotamia. It is sometimes misleadingly referred to as the “Pompei of the Middle East or Asia”, referring to its size, extent of excavation and level of preservation. Jerash is considered one of the most important and best preserved Roman cities in the Near East. We visited the ruins of the city walking through citadels, forts, shops, theaters.

Next we visited the Ajloun castle before heading off to Amman. Though the roman sites were closed but we could see some glimpses from outside. We took some packed Jordanian sandwiches from a street side shop before heading off to Amman airport.

Amman airport mishap  J : We reached the airport 3 hrs before our boarding. Spend a lot of time eating, taking photos and chitchatting and roaming around before going through the immigration checks.  During the immigration check, we saw the immigration officers discussing some things regarding our tickets but soon the stamped off our passports and cleared us. After the immigration we were waiting at the boarding gates for another hour before our boarding was announced.

We got into the queue to board the return flight but who knew what was awaiting our fate. We were informed by the officers that we couldn’t board the flight. After discussing lots and quite some arguments we were informed that we had to stamp our boarding passes at the counter before immigration and since we hadn’t done that, the flight left without us in it!

We were 4 people including a lady and a Japanese man who were not allowed to board because of the same reason. The lady dialed a few numbers and stayed back at her friends place in Jordan. The easy jet officers took us to their counter to reboot their next flight which was after 2 days!!! And they expected us to book with them!! We got terrible angry and took our passports back from them and left. With the help of the Japanese man, who thankfully had a smart phone with him, we booked our next available return flight with Romanian Airlines and though we wish we could forget the extra cost, we still remember it being 500 pounds. ! J J J