Thursday, April 8, 2010

Jordan and Petra

We would definitely love to come back to Jordan. A strikingly beautiful country with delightful and welcoming people.

The sail up the Gulf of Aqaba was amazing, one side Egypt, Sinai desert, Saudi Arabi and Jordan and in front of us Israel. With the history of the Old Testament surrounding us. Aqaba however is the Riviera of the Gulf of Aqaba, or at least working on trying to position itself that way. We were so fortunate to arrive in the late afternoon, so most of us eat quickly and rushed off the ship.
Taxis were waiting in anticipation for us to flood the dock and to make the most of the opportunity. They weren’t as pushy as in some places but like all good entrepreneurs they tried their best. Lucky we had done some research and were able to let everyone know what they should pay for a taxi into town.
Aqaba is a beautiful city. People come out at night to do their shopping so it was very lively with families strolling in the parks and going out for dinner.
There was a wedding and we saw the groom’s cavalcade go by with all the boys hanging out of the cars making a lot of noise.

What was most amazing is as we were walking by we saw 2 camels with riders sitting at a crosswalk waiting to cross the road, then crossing the road in the break of traffic and sauntering towards us. Adrienne was clever, rummaging furiously to get her camera out to take a picture. When she finally got her camera out, the camel boy (Arab for cowboy) stopped his camel, asked it to kneel down and got off so Adrienne was able to get her picture. He then wanted her to get onto his camel. It was a proposition that was hard to resist but she did. A lovely gentleman then explained to us that the government funds the camel riders as a tourism attraction. Camels crossing at, as crosswalk is a sight you will always remember.

Petra- a Wonder of the World!

The drive to Petra was striking in its rugged beauty. Looking out and the sand carved landscape, you can’t imagine how people or anything for that matter can survive, and yet for 1000’s of years they have thrived. It is a land steeped in biblical history with being the land that Moses crossed and where his brother Aaron was lewd from “the way” towards god by the Golden Horn. Aaron’s tomb lies at the top of a mountainous crop.

As you arrive at Petra it is a steep and winding road, where you hope you don’t loose your brakes. The entrance into the gorge, called Siq in Arabic, widens and narrows and winds this way and that with camels and horse drawn carriages making their way up and down the passage. Everywhere you look you marvel at the rock formation. There were many school groups and we had a magical moment when some young girls started to sign.

Advertising was alive and well in the time of the Nebateans (the people credited with the building of Petra). You can still make out what would have been signs for this way for the camels.
Although you know that the Treasury is just around the corner, you are still not prepared to see it when you take the last bend. You will all remember it from Indiana Jones and the temple of Dome.

We spend some time in awe in front of the Treasury. Many decided to head back, knowing they still to walk the 1.5kms back while a handful of us carried on a bit further to the amphitheatre. Along the way, some beautiful young ladies, who just wanted to talk to us and practice their English, approached us ladies. They were part of a school group and were in year 7. Their English was very good and they were very inquisitive. It was a special moment.

A few of us decided to try out the horse drawn carriage for the ride up while the enthusiastic ones walked back up to the entrance.

It was a buffet lunch with traditional food. Lots of dips, hummus, abaganoush, a salsa sauce that was divine, kafta (lamb mince kebabs), Persian rice (saffron infused with raisins and almonds) and of course desert which consisted of honey cake and traditional donuts dripping also in honey.
As Ewan and I kept saying it was divine!

The drive back was a bit more sedate as we were all exhausted.

Satisfying the shopping bug.

Aqaba has good shopping if you like jewellery, particularly silver and Lapis as well as other colourful stones.

And yes, we did some damage! Angela was so pleased to have finally been able to get some cash out so purchased 2 beautiful necklaces. Janice also bought a beautiful ring and earrings.

The Suez awaits. We will be joining another convoy, so the boys will all be out ship spotting.

No comments:

Post a Comment