Travel Report from Jordan (17 November 2003)

Hello from Jordan!

The highlights in Jordan are Petra and Wadi Rum. Our visit to the Dead Sea resulted in a quick and outrageously priced swim. Once you get any water in your mouth or eyes the novilty of floating in the water wears off quickly. Can understand why there are no wind surfers. A fall in to the water would probably kill them. Other than that, the Jordan perimter of the Dead Sea is one large dusty construction site with frequent passport control stops and abandoned restcamps. Really not worth the hassle of getting there.

We spent two days exploring Petra and made the climbs to the Monastery and the High Place of Sacrafice – both well worth the effort. Until you stand infront of the buildings and tombs carved into stone, you can not conceive how large they are and our pictures don’t do them justice. The place is truly awe inspiring. A small highlight for me was taking a donkey back down one mountain. It went at break neck speed and shot around cliff edge corners, it’s beduoin owner running after me with his head cloth flapping out behind him. Brilliant fun for me but too hair raising for Christian who soon abandoned his doneky and went by foot instead. Ironic given his infamous penchant for snow boarding off piste.

You can only access the desert of Wadi Rum if you have a 4x4, otherwise you need a guide and to hire a vehicle. We just about managed with our car in the very soft sand. As our tires are further apart than the standard 4x4, we are not able to benefit from the tracks made before us. That and the 4 ton weight of the vehicle make the going tough and slow, but the car survived and we didn’t get stuck. Being in the desert over night made us aware of something we haven’t heard since we entered Syria. Silence. The volume of Syrian traffic is off the richter scale, and Jordan is only a slight improvement.

Our last major highlights to report are a) the purchase, finally, of a decent camera, so we now have decent pictures to send by mail, though the bulk will go straight onto the webpage to keep mails a decent size. A quick look at the pics will tell you who likes having their picture taken. b) the discovery of a Western Supermarket here in Aqaba! Bread, bacon, beer … things we have been craving, so last night was a feast for sore eyes, and tonight we are going back for more. Aqaba, flanked on either side by Israel and Saudi Arabia, is like a small desert version of Cape Town. Tomorrow we take the ferry to Egypt and will send our next mail from there.

Cheerio for now,

Julianne and Christian.