Some Thoughts about Israel and Jordan

I am having a really great time on this trip.  I think that I am having even more fun than I had in Ecuador.  The main difference is that in Ecuador I had a lot more crazy stories then on this trip.  I think partly because this trip is planned a little more and both of the countries are a lot more “first world” (yes I know I am not using the definition correctly).  I have a choice tomorrow between either wandering to the bus station around 6am and catching a local minibus the usually runs before 730am if there are enough people or  taking a cab.  The difference is about $30 US dollars and getting my first full night of sleep, 8 hours, since last Wednesday night.  I am going to probably choose the sleep, but know I am missing out on a travel adventure that I world normally be up for.  

There are a lot of differences between Jordan and Israel other than the fact I haven’t seen a monk in Jordan.  One that I have noticed is the prevalence of firearms.  A ton of people in Israel carry a side arm (my bus driver today had one tucked into his pants) and the police/military all have assault rifles.  In Jordan the only weapon I saw was one border guard who had an assault rifle.  All the other police/normal people don’t carry weapons.  

Another difference I touched on earlier is that the people are friendlier.  The shop keepers are less pushy and people have a smile on their faces.  Aqaba is a beach town with several major resorts and then a smattering of lesser ones that have access to public beaches.  I think that most of the tourists are Arab and there really isn’t an established “budget travel” scene.  What that means is that it is a little harder to meet other travels to split costs and do things with.  

Something else that is different is alcohol.  There are a lot of stores selling alcohol in both places, but a lot fewer places to drink it here.  My hotel actually has a no alcohol policy (which was one of the only rules written in English on the check in slip)

A third difference is the women.  Almost all of the women have a head scarf or burqa on.  In Israel I only saw a few women with a burqa covering their faces, here I would say at least 10%, probably more, have them on.

It is pretty warm here with today reaching over 96 degrees and the next two days in the desert being over 90 degrees.  After the desert, I travel to Petra (I might actually put a picture of this up) where it is going to be in the 70s which will be perfect weather.  Talking to locals I have realized that the time that I am doing this trip is actually the ideal time to be traveling in the region.  

Another thing that I need to be better at is eating lunch early so that I am actually hungry for dinner.  There is so much food that looks good to eat ( I picked up half a kilo of smoked nuts), but I haven’t been that hungry for dinner everyday because sometimes my lunch is really late (I ended up eating some oranges and apples on the bus and having “lunch” almost at 4pm today).

When I touch base again in a couple days I will include some photos.

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