But wait, Jerash is amazing!

Trip Start Aug 15, 2009
Trip End Oct 15, 2009

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Flag of Jordan  ,
Saturday, October 3, 2009

The tour is done, but there are 7 of us who have an extra day in Amman before we fly home. We decided to get two taxis and drive 45 mins north of Amman to Jerash.  Jerash is another ancient Roman town. They say it's a highlight of Jordan but I was skeptical since it wasn't included in the tour.  I figured if if was really so amazing it would have been included because there was surely time on the lame last day of the tour. 

But wow! This place was amazing. We arrive around 10 am and once again were there before any other tour groups so we had our run of the place.  We ran up and down the steps of temples taking goofy group pictures and then went into the Roman theatre at the far side of the site and had the stage all to ourselves where I directed the group in a short play/photo shoot. These ruins rival anything I've seen in Italy, and we had them almost to ourselves for the whole day.  Visiting Jerash was one of the best decisions I made on the trip.  Then we stayed to watch the cheesy Roman Army-Gladiators-Chariot Races demonstration/show.  I say cheesy because with a line up like that it has to be, but it was actually really well done and I learned a lot.  It was a better explanation than anything I saw in Rome and a fun final activity to watch. I highly recommend it!

As we walked back to the taxis I started feeling really ill.  It was hot outside and I figured it was just from sitting in the sun but I was very uncomfortable for the ride back to Amman and decided to skip lunch and lie down for a while. Later I joined the group for dinner at a Japanese restaurant, which was a mistake because I was still feeling bad. I must have had some food poising or stomach bug because I couldn't keep anything down all afternoon and was still feeling queasy on the flight to London the next day.  A bad way to end a trip to two amazing countries.

Even with my mixed feeling about the Jordan portion of the tour, I still consider this trip one of the greatest I've ever taken.  The wide span of history in Egypt and Jordan is unrivaled. Each day was so different, a focus on Ancient Egypt one day, and Modern Egypt the next, Roman, Nabateans and Crusaders all passed through the area and left their marks. Egypt is Egypt, it doesn't consider itself part of the Middle East.  It has a secular government and a history longer that most countries. Jordan is most definitely the Middle East, it's smack in the middle of Israel, Palestine, Saudi Arabia and Iraq.  It's the most peaceful country in the area and has a high standard of living.  Things work there. Their money is on par with the Euro when I convert my Canadian Dollars.  They are ruled by their King and the Koran, and there is this feeling that I can't quite put my finger on, but as a woman, something feels just not quite right being there. We met great people in both countries, everyday people who were happy to welcome us to their world, and were harassed by overzealous salesmen and followed by overly enthusiastic men on the streets but never felt unsafe, just annoyed. We thrived in 39 degree heat and survived 49 degree heat.

This trip is full of moments I will never forget, but now that it is done my Top 5 Experiences were:
1)  The first few shaky steps my camel took at the Pyramids, less than 12 hours after touching down in Egypt. Nothing kick starts a holiday like this view and that feeling.
2)  Rounding the corner for the first glimpse of Abu Simbel, the best temple of the trip.
3)  Laughing as we rode the donkey to the Valley of the Kings. There was something so comical about us all on our little donkeys running down the middle of the road.
4)  Enjoying a great dinner on the beach, under the moonlight, at the Red Sea as my chair legs sunk into the sand.
5)  Floating in the Dead Sea with 14 new friends.

For the views from two other Canadians on my tour check out http://www.svadventures.blogspot.com/
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