I am sure this is not what you want to see on my blog, but oh well. If you are a bad traveler you get called an American by just about the entire traveling community. It is amazing how many conversations I have lately about American politics. It seems that everyone has an opinion from Israeli taxi drivers to Jordanian guides to fellow travelers. One comment made was the US President has such an impact on the entire world that the entire world should get to vote (if they did Obama would be elected).
When I last posted I was in Aqaba and I left in the morning for Wadi Rum which is a mountain area in the desert that the Bedouin live in. I had booked a tour with a guy name Saleeh (Saw-lee) and the morning got off to a little rocky start because I didn’t realize that Jordan was an hour earlier then Israel. I ended up being like 15 minutes late to the town that the tour started from, but Saleeh didn’t care. I think one of the main reasons that he didn’t care was that I think I was the first person to go through his service which he just started (he had been guiding for other people).
The jeeps they drive ranged from the 1970’s to the mid 2000s, but my guide had never driven one newer than 1998. He is also one of 17 children and his father has two wives. The two wives live in separate houses and his father alternates each house every night. All of Saleeh’s older brothers are married and it is his turn to get married (they are not arranged). The process is that if he sees a girl that he likes and tells his sister, his sister will talk to the girl to see if she is interested. If she is he talks to his mom and his mom talks to her mom. If that goes well then his dad talks to her dad (they do not have to be from the same tribe) and then the “couple” finally talk. If they like each other they get engaged and then normally between 3-12 months laters they get married. Saleeh wants a small family with only 3-6 kids and only wants one wife. I think that this in the new trend. About this time in the tour the jeep breaks down, but he is able to fix it in a couple minutes. After we eat lunch the jeep won’t start and we hop in another one (I saw several other broken down jeeps during my time in the desert). After the day driving around in the jeep we arrived at the camp and Saleeh went to fix the jeep and I get settled and scramble up a mountain to watch sunset which was pretty cool.
The next day we drove about a mile from the Saudi border and started a hike up the third highest peak in Jordan and I was cold. It turned into the third day that it rained this year even though it was just sprinkles. When we got to the top my guide brewed tea with sage and desert thyme which were really good. That night in the camp there was a french family and a group of Italians and we ended up dancing and carrying on while drinking Bedouin whisky (tea..).
The next morning I woke up and Saleeh took me to grab the bus about 70km north to Petra. Overall the tour with Saleeh was a decent tour and it was a good one for the fact that he was almost half price as some of the established guides.
The minibus ride was uneventful and about 5 minutes after I checked into my hotel, Cleopetra, I was whisked to the entrance of Petra by a cab ($2) and I paid the crazy $90 USD entry fee for 3 days ($75 for one day). Petra is amazing and it is one of the new seven wonders of the world for good reason. That night I ate at the hotel with a Brit, Canadian, and Aussie and we decided to go out for a beer (not a cheap prospect in Jordan). We end up drinking Philadelphia because it is only 5% (our other choices were 8, 11, or 13% Petra beer). Today I went back into Petra and explored some of the more remote sights where I was able to get away from the crowds. It was great!!! I would include photos, but my camera battery just died when I tried to download them so you are stuck with a picture of a fat guy riding a donkey. Tomorrow I have a full day of castles and horses planned.
A couple thoughts:
Petra at time seems like Mexico with everything costing one dinar ($1.4 USD)
The pastries in Jordan are great and I somehow ended up with 1/2 a kilo last night (5 dollars)
Everything in Petra is downhill to start and up hill to end the day. This is the reason they have asses to bring Americans back up along with camels, and horse draw “carriages” that go at a really quick pace.
This computer has a strange keyboard (plus no spell check to alert me of typos) and I refuse to reread my post so it will be filled with typos.
The Bedouin guides I was talking to said that they really liked the king and were able to give examples of why he was a good leader and what he has done for them. Jordan does not have any oil, but they people are pretty well off compared to some other countries around. They equated the king to being a very good business man and they have good relationships with the surrounding countries.
I played flip cup for the first time in years at the Halloween party at my hostel in Jerusalem
I will be happy to get back into a country the you can flush the TP.