Wednesday, January 1, 2020

Baptism in the Jordan

Ariving in Amman was an interesting experience - the flight from Athens deposited me in the airport at 2am. I’d taken the overcautious route of booking a hostel with a 24 hour desk and an airport shuttle. I’m not sure such measures were necessary, but how is one supposed to know beforehand?



After annoying everyone in the hostel room by my arrival at 3am (not my fault - they’d used the bed I’d booked as storage, which meant they had to move all their stuff), I annoyed them again by leaving the room at 7:00 to go meet my friends at 7:30am. I would have much rather slept until noon, but I was under orders.


I connected with my friends I’d met in Georgia - a German and two Jordanians - and we headed to Petra. The road trip was fun and reminded me of traveling when I was younger. It was interesting to see how uniform the architecture was across the country - the houses are nearly identical white shoe boxes made of concrete block. After a few hours of driving through the desert, we made it to Petra.

The ruins are hard to describe - an ancient river cut through the rock and the people of the desert used this geographic feature to hide from the sun. The Treasury is the most conspicuous part of the ruins - as featured in the movie Indiana Jones and the Last Crusade. In addition to this, there are dozens of other cut outs, facades, and (ruins of) buildings spread out across the site. I’d recommend taking a few days to explore if you get the chance - unfortunately for me, my friends wanted to move faster than my snail’s pace.

That evening we ended up in a Bedouin camp in Wadi Rum, where we stayed the night. We had ourselves a little feast and, before going to bed in one of the permanent “tents”, I spent a fair bit of time just looking up into the night sky marveling at the stars. Highly recommend.

The next day was another driving day (note: it was my second day in Jordan) where we made our way along the Dead Sea. There’s a hidden hot springs which proved to be the perfect stop after two no-shower days of trekking through the desert. The small waterfall in the springs served as a masseuse. We left the springs before it got pitch dark and made our way to Jerash (formerly called Antioch), where we had an AirBnB.

While not out of the blue, the AirBnB offered us breakfast with the host family. I was expecting something small. To my great surprise, it was a huge spread of so many tasty things. I’ll try to remember to post a photo. After the giant breakfast, we went and wandered the ruins - including touching the north gate of the city, then walking down the entirety of the main street to touch the south gate. The whole thing was neat.



After that, we went back to Amman (which, by the way, used to be called Philadelphia) and went on different paths - work for the Jordanians and more sightseeing for the German and me. After a hiccup with not so great hostel, we explored the city. For me it was more ruins, libraries, and the Jordan Museum. Amman is a nice city, but I was rather spoiled by the previous few days of exploration.

Not even a week after arriving I was on a plane bound for Cyprus.


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