The Eid Al-Adha holiday fell in the first week of November this year, and both Dan and the kids got the week off. As for me, it’s hard to differentiate between “off” and “on”, but I was allowed to join them on their trip to Jordan nonetheless. We had a driver for the week (Essam) who shuttled us around the country in his very comfortable van. We wanted this trip to have a good balance of hanging out by the pool and sight-seeing. With so much to see, we prepped the kids as best we could. In the words of the great Scott Feschuk, "OK kids, time to walk slowly past old stuff." In the case of Jordan, REALLY old stuff.
|Indiana Jones 1, 2 and 3|
at the Treasury, Petra
Petra is nothing short of spectacular. We rode horses for the first short part of the tour through the ancient city, and then walked the rest of the way, making it to the Treasury, and continuing on all the way to the Monastery. In the first nine months of this year, the site saw about 500,000 visitors less compared to the same time frame last year, and the people who make a living off of tourism are really hurting. Boy, were they happy to see us. Because there were less of us, their numbers seemed amplified, and we were targets of the men offering donkey rides, and the women and kids hawking silver jewellery, postcards, rugs, etc. Nicholas and I got a good work-out practicing our "no thank-yous", but we did come away with a few souvenirs. It was a very full, physical day, but a once in a lifetime experience.
The Drive to the Dead Sea
|The Promised Land|
The Dead Sea
And whose idea was it to have a little vacation within a vacation? Mine, that's whose. Brilliant, too, I might add. After a couple of fun but long days on our feet and on the road, it was great to sit back for a few days in the warm weather at the Dead Sea, which is the lowest point on Earth, with an elevation of 420 meters below sea level.
|The Three Buoys|
|Sunset at the Dead Sea|
Amman and Points North
After three days at the Dead Sea, Essam drove us back to Amman, the capital of Jordan. We wanted to try something local for dinner, so we went to Reem Bawadi, a restaurant serving Middle Eastern fare and housed in a large, high-ceilinged hall. The cab ride was an adventure, with the five of us crammed into a Honda Civic with the driver. We discovered that Jordanians drive a bit like Qataris, only with older, smaller cars. Since it was the last day of Eid, the restaurant was quite busy, with lots of families sitting on cushioned benches at the low tables. We told the waiter to bring us what he thought we should try, and had a great meal of grilled lamb, chicken, fish, and beef, stuffed grape leaves, falafel and various salads. (One day I'm going to write a whole post on dealing with a sesame allergy in this part of the world!)
|Corinthian column heads in Jerash|
On our last day in Jordan, we caught a cab and went on a self-guided tour of the Citadel in the heart of Amman, featuring a collection of ruins from Roman and medieval Islamic periods, and offering fantastic views of the surrounding city. Then it was back to the hotel for a great lunch (with the manager and three waiters serving us, the only guests in the restaurant), and then on to the airport for our late afternoon flight.
There is easily another week's worth of places to visit and things to do in Jordan, so who knows? We may have to make another visit someday.