Category: Middle East


Jordan Part 3

So, north to Al Azraq and the black desert. This place only really interested me as it was near the Iraqi border as well as some castles in the Black Desert. The road seemed to get slicker the further we went. Maybe it was the oil moving in the tankers in the opposite direction or maybe it was just the rubber melting off the tyres, I couldn’t tell. We stayed in a converted military hospital and for some reason there was an old Land Rover in the foyer. It was in great nick though.

IraqLandy

Desert Castle

We moved east to Jerash and it’s Roman ruins. We arrived at the ruins to find the sound of bag pipes bellowing out and there we find Jordanian Bag Pipers. very odd. We ambled about but all I could think of was about the people before me who drove their chariots along this ground. It felt so historic.

BagPipers

Jerash DSCF8168

Soon afterwards we headed back to Madaba. The two weeks here have be joys for us. the people very easy going, understanding, tolerant, open, welcoming and most friendly. There is so so much to do in Jordan and it did not disappoint in any way. The food is excellent, beer a little expensive and accommodation average but I think Molly was going to over load on Falafel. The wine and spices were also excellent. For me the middle east deserves more exploration. We agreed Jordan was one of the bets holidays we had ever had, just incredible…

muni

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Jordan Part 2

A few hours south down the dusty road was Petra and Wadi Rum. These were the places I was looking forward to in particular.  Petra is a world heritage site and has been made famous by the Indiana Jones movies. Its spread over a full eight kilometres. So, on the evening of our arrival we got a 2 day pass and ventured only to the top end. We walked down the Siq, a long winding ancient canyon carved by water, for The Treasury to be revealed. For me it was one of those pinch me moments as again I found myself face to face with a World Wonder.

The Siq

Petra 1

As we had arrived in the late afternoon we found that most people were leaving and so pretty much had the place to ourselves and during sunset the place just glowed crimson red. What a fantastic place and time to be in. We sat back, marvelled and bathed ourselves in the red glow until it was dark. The following day we decided to hike up through the site from end to end. We started off at Little Petra and slowly walked, scrambled and bouldered our way up. Every few hundred metres or so a new rock hewn building revealing itself keeping us interested and amazed. The below Monastery being particularly spectacular.

The Monastery

Wadi Rum was next. Further south we arranged a guide (after some messing about with tour guides). His name was Eid. A very articulate young Bedouin chappie brandishing a beat up old Toyota Land Cruiser. I liked him immediately. Off we went into this pseudo hell. The heat penetrating my every inch of me. I’m warm and supple to my fingertips I am at my most content in the desert but Wadi Rum was special. It is the most scenic desert you can imagine. Not lifeless or featureless it amazes at every turn, dune and outcrop.  I felt I could live here become a tour guide and drive my Toyota about sleeping under the stars camping, listening to the Desert Foxes chatter by starlight and having Halawa with pita and yoghurt for breakfast.

Wadi Rum1Wadi Rum2Wadi Rum4Wadi Rum3

That afternoon we found that a movie was being shot there and so the Jordanians obliged when asked to turn over one of their Land Cruisers for a scene….crazy! Typical Jordanians, always ready to help. What a place!

muni

Jordan Part 1

I don’t know where we pulled this destination out of but the anticipation was killing me. I’d never been to the Middle East before and it held so much mystery and allure I was licking my lips with anticipation. I had known of Petra and had always wanted to go to Wadi Rum and this was my chance. The opportunity to return to another Arabic and Islamic culture I looked forward to as I find them well tempered and easy going. We did a fair amount of research and as the country is so small we should get to see all the things we want without too many hours in the car.

First stop was Madaba as Amman, the capital, is just another city whereas Madaba was supposedly quieter and more central to our needs. We spent a few days ambling around and getting reinvigorated by being in completely different surroundings again. We quickly got some spices for ourselves and met a very nice and insightful shop owner called Joseph. Hommous and falafel abound Molly was delighted with Jordanian life. The plan now was to devise a route and hit the road. Naturally, the Dead Sea was on the hit list. Molly had been before in Israel and knew what to expect, I on the other hand, knew only that I would definitely float. So, we stayed in a community run place with a Sirocco wind howling at night right on the waters edge at 140 metres below sea level. The following day, and for the first time, we went bouldering up to a waterfall. We loved it, especially in this heat.

Next up was Dana Nature reserve. We believed that there was some good hiking trails to be explored and a beautiful little village worth staying in. When we eventually found it we ended up staying for a few days more than anticipated as it was so quiet and the local chappies a delight to be around. With the wild Juniper, Sage and Thyme the smell alone of this place was keeping us but there was yet more to see. We did also come across some Striped Hyena tracks which excited me no end. Disappointingly, I didn’t see any though. Maybe we’d get to see some Arabian Oryx in Wadi Rum.

We had fallen in love with Jordan within hours. The things to do and see in this small country were endless. I love the desert and Jordan was brimming with it.

muni