G'day [Double click photo strip to enlarge]
We've just returned after a delightful and busy trip to Jordan with Canadian friends Michael and Linda Fairhart (neighbours at Al Ain).
When we arrived at Amman, Jordan had just experienced substantial snow falls and the temperature was -6 C which made us really pleased we had listened to advice and taken winter clothes. Chris and I saw the most snow we have ever seen ... for Michael and Linda it was just another walk in the park but they were pleased they didn't have to shovel it from their driveway.
We spent some time at Amman and then travelled to Petra where we walked kilometres in and around the place which is chock full of pathways, stairways and hand carved graves and ornate buildings. It's truly amazing, detracted only by the dozens of bedouins trying to sell this or that "bling", either necklaces, ancient coins (from Taiwan), head dress and other stuff. Also, there are donkey, horse and camel rides and one is hounded from start to finish to take one. We needed the exercise more than the animals, so we walked about 15 km.
We visited the Dead Sea (the water tastes lousy) and purchased some of the all preventing body salts, facial creams and so on that will help us remain youthful-looking and healthy forever. Next we went to the Jordan River and, among other things, saw the site where Jesus was baptised. The location is very close to Israel where the two countries are divided by the Jordan River, only a few metres wide. We stood on the Jordan side at the water's edge talking to people (also tourists) on the Israel side watched by the ever present Israeli and Jordanian soldiers. Both of us dipped our hands into the Jordan, perhaps with the hope that it might have some special affect on our lives ... one never knows.
Next, we visited a location called Jerash which has some spectacular Roman ruins. I'm very impressed with the engineering skills the Romans exhibited and would love to know how they created such magnificent structures without all the equipment and benefits of modern technology that we have; most of our buildings won't be hanging around a couple of thousand years after they are built and much of the Roman work will still be decaying.
All told, we had a wonderful visit. Jordan is a poor country. Most buildings look either in a state of near collapse, or partially completed, although occasionally there are nice, modern, well constructed buildings. The people were friendly and the standard of English spoken by children and some adults was far superior to that spoken by our Emirati students.
Now we have to wind down and focus on readying ourselves for our next big trip ... back to OZ via South Africa in June.
for Robin and Christina
PS: Double click to enlarge photo strip