I rode a camel. NBD.

Jordan was a whirlwind, a completely different perspective of the Middle East, and heaps of fun.  I’ll give a thorough run down later, but for now the most important thing to know is that I rode a camel.  I saw Petra, I camped with Bedouins, I swam in the Dead Sea, and I rode a camel.

The school sent a group of teachers to Jordan for visa paperwork and another teacher, Emma, and I extended our trip by three days and toured ourselves (and I rode a camel).  The vast majority of photos you’ll see are Emma’s work; without her, I would have little evidence of having been anywhere. (Or having rode camels.  Which I did.)

Jordan is so different from Kuwait, both the people and the land.  The people are poorer but more relaxed; the women cover here as much as in Kuwait, but with more color, not in black.  The men are amorous to say the least; on the street, shopkeepers call out at you, “Beautiful lady!”, “Beautiful eyes!”, “I love you!”, “Welcome to Jordan!” which is mostly salesmanship, but there’s underlying good humor to it.  The women are friendly and helpful, too, which I find far more comforting.  On the other hand, men got a bit handsy with both Emma and I during the busier part of the evening, and we were glad to retreat to the hotel at the end of the day.

Jordan’s terrain is more rock and earth than sand, and you can see surrounding mountains in the distance.  Vineyards, olive groves, shepherds and goat herds line the roads outside of the cities.  Geographically, it reminds me a lot of a less verdant California.

I’ll give a history lesson and a detailed itinerary soon, but here are the highlights:

Amman itself is a mish-mash of tourist shops, hotels, businesses, apartment buildings, Roman ruins, and bars, all perched and carved into the sides of mountains.  It reminded me a lot of San Francisco in more ways than one.DSC_4357IMG_0570Petra was astonishing.  My words fail me, but it’s staggering to imagine an entire civilization carving out their homes, their temples, their theaters, their aqueducts, their monasteries from cliffs and crags.  We hadn’t nearly enough time, but we climbed up and overlooked the valley.  It was breathtaking.

IMG_0662 IMG_0663 DSC_4520We saw the sunset and camped at Wadi Rum, “The Valley of the Moon.”  Bedouins certainly capitalize on tourists, but the natural beauty was striking.IMG_0810 DSC_4683

In case you missed it, I rode a camel.  This guy was my buddy.  We’re pretty tight.IMG_0807 DSC_4722The Dead Sea was mostly comical.  You physically cannot dive under the surface (and when you do, the salt in your eyes burns like no dried contact ever could).  I felt like a bit of styrofoam in the water; I wish there were a more romantic simile, but there you have it.  Lumineers appropriately ran through my head as I drifted.DSC_4738

The last key difference between Kuwait and Jordan?  alcohol is legal.  Believe me, we put the law to good use.  There is nothing like six dry weeks to make one thoroughly appreciative of the finer things in life, even at 8 am in the airport on our way out.IMG_0432 IMG_0463 IMG_0812

 

 

 

Oh yeah…. and I rode a camel.

DSC_4722

 

 

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