Sunday, May 10, 2009

postcard from jordan

Time is in short supply now, and we are not getting to spend as much time in countries as we would like to.

Jordan, we boil down to it's two essential destinations, the first of which is Petra.

Familiar to millions as one of the new seven wonders of the world, and as the scene of a couple of chase scenes or something in the film Indiana Jones and the Last Crusade (although I'm one of those people that has never actually seen the film), Petra is a colossal playground of incredible natural colour and ancient architecture.

It's expensive (₤26!) and takes effort - on our second day we walk 20km to ensure we see the essential sights everybody sees, and do some hiking around rarer ventured sections.

Has we not, it would have been a day spent trudging round alongside the masses of tour groups, but Petra is most certainly a location where the more you put in, the more you get out. The result is the most rewarding day from the five weeks of the trip thus far.

From Petra we head to Wadi Rum where we spend 24 hours in the middle of the desert, as guests of a Bedouin family. We sleep in Bedouin tents, go jumping off sand dunes, and bomb around the desert in a 4x4 van exploring some of the more impressive desert scenery. It's all very good fun.

It's hard to tell after such a short stay, but the Jordanians are roughly as hospitable as the Syrians, who I was waxing lyrical about a couple of weeks ago. It's still a joy to be welcomed to a country like this.

The ferry to Egypt is a nightmare. Expensive as well (₤45), the boat takes three hours to leave the port, three hours to cross the sea, and four (!) hours to dock at the other side, a failure for which they bizarrely and unfathomably blame on the 'high' (yet barely existent) winds. By our rough calculations, we reckon it would have only taken slightly longer to walk the journey (were it possible).

Thank goodness then, that we are prepared for entertaining ourselves whilst in transit. I have on my ipod the full first series of 24 (neither of us have ever seen it) and on the ferry we manage to watch the five remaining episodes of the series. I dread to think how the journey would have been without them.

The boat docks at 10pm - way past schedule - and we still have to get through passport and luggage control. There is no chance we are going to be able to get to our intended bed - 70km away - tonight...

Wish you were here,

Jordan rating
: 7.7/10
Friendliest person met: The guy who we asked for directions to Irbid bus station, and he walked us the 20 minute route there.
Scariest moment: none.
Most beautiful sight: Petra.
The Soundtrack: Chemical Brothers - Push The Button.
Still to come: Egypt, Japan, Vietnam, Cambodia, Thailand, Glastonbury festival.

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