The weekend I was 5KM from Saudi Arabia

Trip Start Jun 27, 2011
Trip End Sep 04, 2011

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Flag of Jordan  ,
Sunday, July 3, 2011

While many of you are preparing to eat crab cakes and watch fireworks to celebrate America's birthday I have finished my first day of work at the Jordan River Foundation and had the most delicious meal including flatbread, hummus, fata and falafal at a famous shop (I say famous because the King has dined there) in the city center.  What's great is that famous can also be extremely cheap here...just a few dinar.  You have to walk down and then back up the steepest hill ever to get there so minimal guilt in popping an extra falafel :)  After dinner it is only customary to hit up one of the knock-off DVD stores down there which is why my roommate and I are now watching Psycho and guzzling 2 liter bottles of water.

The weekends here are Friday and Saturday.  This past weekend, my first weekend in Jordan, I traveled with some friends to Petra and on to Aqaba.  It was an awesome trip.  We woke up at 6am Friday morning and hopped on a JETT bus for a 3 hour ride to Petra.  It was only 8 dinar.  In Petra we  hiked in to the Treasury, straight up hill to the Monastery and even further up hill to "the best view of Petra".  I learned all about the Nabateaens and Bedouin of Jordan.  After the day in Petra we took taxis up to the bus station to catch a bus to Aqaba.  Unfortunately, we missed the last bus to Aqaba so it was time to haggle with the taxi drivers for a fair price down to the Red Sea.  Of the two drivers my driver was very nice and I was happy to stay in his taxi. However, the other driver was not too pleasant.  After an interesting exchange of words (Arabic and English) we finally agreed on a price for the 2 hour trip.  In route our driver said he learned his English from the he knows what asshole means...we all (including the driver) had a good laugh.  The price for the 2 hour trip was 35 dinar per cab, so about 12 a person.  Not too bad!  

Once in Aqaba we all realized we had barely eaten all day and were starving.  We went to Jafra restaurant and had a delicious Jordanian meal with fantastic service.  I discovered my new favorite drink --lemon wa na-a---it is lemon juice, cane sugar and lots and lots of ground fresh mint.  After dinner we went to the Bedouin Garden Village Hotel which is about 5KM from Saudi Arabia where we slept on a rooftop under the stars.  It was fantastic, although a little chilly once the sun went down.  The next morning we definitely looked like travelers---sleepily walking in to the communal toilets (that doubled as showers?) in the same clothes we arrived in the night before that were wrinkled from sleeping in them.  

After breakfast at Ali Baba we hit up the Red Sea for some swimming!  All of the women on the beach were wearing hijab and some even niqab... so I swam in my clothes.  It felt refreshing none the less.  There are lots of Saudi families vacationing in Jordan right now that are easy to pick out from their dress.  Men wear a  thawb with a keffiyeh. It is law for women in Saudi to wear a hijab and many also wear a niqab.  

 After our swim we hopped on a JETT bus for a 4 hour ride back to Amman...we were all layered in salt, sand and sweat and happy to be heading home.  I've attached some pictures from the weekend---although my new friend Ben took many many more and I hope to attach some of them soon.

I hope everyone has a wonderful 4th of July!!  

xo Jocey   
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jim scherr on

looks and sounds great send more pics.....Uncle Jimmy



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