Friday, April 13, 2007

Jordan

I've been so busy lately....
It is definately a lot different going back to travelling with a group again. I arrived in Amman a few days ahead of the others and pretty much just sat and swapped stories with other backpackers for 2 full days before picking them up at the airport. Nobody travels in the gulf countries so it was nice to be back on the backpacker trail and meet a few others. Found some very cool people.
Unfortunately after places like Istanbul, Damascus and Sana'a, Amman is a quick-look boring city. I knew that ahead of time but it was definately true. It's just middle of the pack at best. Not as wealthy and developed as the gulf capitals (though it is trying) and not as historic as the ones listed above. It has lots of history though. Amman was once known as Rabbath-Ammon, the capital of the biblical Ammonites (do you think I could be the next king?) , later it served as an important Roman city but apart from a few ruins in town, there is little left to do or see.
With the rest of the family in tow we used Amman as a base for day trips out to the Roman ruins of Jerash and the Dead Sea. As Bre said before it was cool but the one thing I found most annoying is that it is surprisingly difficult to get around to anywhere in Jordan on your own. It is a well touristed country (going through a slump because of the current problems in the area) but definately targetting the package tourists who tend to hire cars to take them around. There simply is no public transport to the huge number of historical and religiously significant sites scattered all over the country. I was quite disappointed.
The girls have jumped right into being on the road again. It is like they never really left and Savannah has been put in as second-in-command until dad finished his training. You should see the way she bargains and yells at taxi drivers. I'm so proud :) Dad (and Grady) is a total newbie at this and it is funny to see him trying to adjust. He's a trooper though and just needs a little time. It was strange to see him not appreciate the evils of taxis and shop touts, but I think he's got it now. Gotta keep an eye on him though :)
Petra was cool. The town Wadi Mousa just outside of it sucks though. The people are generally horrible and cheaters. Too many package tourists going through and inflating all the prices. We actually had the hotel owner (a very nice guy) do all our shopping and bring us dinner because it was half the price that way. He didn't have to do us that service but it really helped. Petra itself is so much more than the one building that you see in Indiana Jones. That one is in the best shape but there is so much more. The buildings are carved out of the side of the mountains on a very large scale but quite weather worn now. The most disappointing part is that they tend to be just a single plain and empty room inside so apart from walking around outside and looking at the facades there isn't much to see. Not much in the way of tiny detail either. It was nice though. We spent 2 full days walking around and exploring the place.
Having come up from Yemen where it was roasting hot, I am finding it quite cold these days. I was freezing in Amman and walking around Petra I was constantly switching between a sweater and T-shirt.
From Petra it was straight to the ferry terminal in Aqaba and off to Egypt. We are now in Dahab, a big time backpacker hangout but at the moment it is not very busy. It is also super famous in the area for its dive sites and cheap lessons so the rest of the group is going to do the open water PADI class. I am not, on the grounds that I can't breathe calmly snorkelling so there is no point going deeper. We'll see how it goes for them. Grady is already experienced and did a dive today and was very impressed. Otherwise it seems like a lot of hanging out and doing nothing over here for the next little while. This morning we had a crazy and unusual storm for the area. Thunderstorm and the largest hail I've ever seen, the size of marbles and quite painful to get hit by. We all quickly learned that most of the rooms here have very leaky roofs so that was quite exciting. We are now drying stuff out and trying to recover. Fortunately these types of things don't last more than a couple hours.
Ammon

2 Comments:

At 9:11 PM , Anonymous Sandra said...

Nice post Ammon. Really like the way you describe little Savannah and dad. Very sweet indeed! I am looking forward to hearing something from the aggressive newbies.
love, Sandra

 
At 3:33 PM , Anonymous Anonymous said...

Hey Guys,
Good to see you finally dynamited Brandon's arse out of Vancouver and on to something a bit more challenging. Good luck keeping up with the pro's.
Ammon, so how's the cattle herding going? Are you getting readjusted to having to discuss your plans ect..?
Maggs, I do expect a detailed analysis of the local differences in Pepsi. Did I mention I stopped drinking pop altogether? Quick someone grab your mother she's gonna faint. I'm sure you heard Dad got baptized in March, well pop, chi[s and chocolate bars were my exchange for his coffee, tea, and alcohol.... seemed a good trade to me. Still haven't lost a pound... rats.
Bre nice note, 3D Bree? are you bragging about something? or lamenting, or rhyming? hey you put it out there. LMAO
Savannah, look forward to hearing your voice among the chatter, at least when you are back in the swing.

Love and Big Bear Hugs
The Bear

 

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