Salt and Mountain Treks

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Flag of Jordan  ,
Tuesday, April 5, 2011

We decided to cram as much into our morning as we could, since we had a long 4 hr drive this afternoon to Wadi Musa, the town outside of Petra. After our breakfast buffet, we headed down to the Dead Sea to see first hand what all the hype was about. It wasn't warm this morning, still in the low 60s, so while it took a bit of coaxing to get into the water, we weren't about to pass up this opportunity. It's everything people say about it. It's unbelievable how you float so easily and effortlessly.  It's what I imagine zero gravity is like. Plus since nothing can survive in it's salty water, you don;t have to worry about fish brushing up against you,  and the squishy stuff your toes touch at the bottom is just mud. And it is super super super salty; so salty you become immediately aware of ever miniscule scrape or shaving nick. Bo got a tiny amount of water on his tongue and almost puked.  Eric got a drop in his eye and it looked like he had been awake for days they turned so red, a little in his nose and he is still sniffly and all clogged up a day later. They shouldn't allow splashing in the Dead Sea. They say the mud found at the bottom is therapeutic and rids you of ailments. So, of course we covered ourselves in mud....head to toe. After a shower off, we warmed up in the hot tub before packing up and checking out.
About a 10 minute drive north along the Jordan River is a place called Bethany-by-the-Sea, a place that they believe is the place where Jesus Christ was baptized by John the Baptist. They gave us personal audio guides and we rode a shuttle from the ticket gate to the site, a short 10 minute drive. The site consists of chapel ruins and steps into one of the many ancient pools where they believe the baptism took place. You follow a walking path to the Jordan River, where it's a stones throw across to the Israeli side, where they have their own monument site set up, with steps down into the river.  After that, we got on the road, heading towards Petra. We were told it was about a 260km drive,  a straight shot for the first 200km on a highway traveling along the Dead Sea. It was a nice drive. After seeing the drivers in Egypt, Eric wasn't sure what to expect here in Jordan,  but it's a different world here.  A fraction of the amount of cars and there are lanes that people actually follow. There were a few police traffic stops along the way, where they just peek in the car and ask where you are from and where you are headed, welcome us to Jordan and send us on our way. A bit into the trip, Eric and Bo realized we had missed our turn awhile back so we had to backtrack a little and take a different road into Petra. At another police traffic stop a little bit after our turn around, the police officer gave us directions to Petra, a right turn just past the next town ahead. We found it and the road was nicely paved and heading towards the mountains that we had to get into. At another traffic stop a little down the road, these police officers probably hadn't seen many people that day, and they did a thoughough inspection. They checked the trunk opened our bags, checked the back seat, and everything. After a few minutes, they welcomed us to Jordan and sent us on our way.  I offered him some of the candy Bo had brought in this huge Ziploc bag. He took a handful with a smile.
The road we were on turned a little rustic, alot of rocks and dust on it. And we were heading on a very twisty, curvy road, up up up up up up the mountain. There were bedoin settlements down in the valleys below.  We did pass the occasional car, but other than that we were pretty alone, and we were losing sunlight quickly. Now the car we had rented is a manual Toyota Camry, a couple years old. Eric drove this car like a pro, any NASCAR driver couldn't have done it any better. I mean, at points this road was so steep it was unbelievable, he just put it into first gear and gunned it, and got that car over that mountain, hill by hill. I guess that could be a metaphor for life in general. We eventually got to our hotel no problem a little after dark. We are only a mile or so from the front gate of Petra, which we will do tomorrow.  We grabbed a dinner of local food in town about a block away--falafel, hummous, kabobs,and this stuff called knaffah---which the guy who rented us our car said was his favorite. It was pretty good--it was like a mozarella cheese breaded and covered with something like honey. I have no idea if that's what the actual ingredients are, that's just what it tasted like to me.  We finished the night off playing cards and talking.  It's nice having Shannon and Bo with us,  they are great travel buddies. Tomorrow-Petra!   
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Kris on

Very cool, Muddy Meisters (and friends)!

Driving manual comes in handy for foreign travel. Go Eric! Also, parallel parking chops in tiny spaces .... I rely on Michael for that skill in Europe.

Zachary W on

Meisters! I just remembered about yourr travel blog and I have tons to catch up on! Looks like you are both having tons of fun...keep it up...I'm serious about meeting up with you somewhere along the way...but no not really :(

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