Our oldest daughter Emily is a linguistics major at Brigham Young University, and has chosen Arabic as a language of study. She took the opportunity to go on a intensive arabic study abroad to Amman, Jordan, and lived there for a little over 3 months. In our last few weeks living in the Netherlands, we took the opportunity to go to Jordan to visit her. We had been to Israel, and Tera and I had spent a few days in Aqaba some years earlier, but seeing Amman, Petra and Wadi Rum was fantastic. Emily was studying and attending class, so she wasn’t able to do everything with Tera, Nathan, Anna and I. This was a trip with only three kids, since we had sent the younger three to the US earlier, to spend some time with Grammy and Grampy.
#1 - Eating falafels on the street
#2 - Petra
#3 - Desert Bedouin stay at Wadi Rum
#4 - Ruins of Jerash
#5 - Petra horse ride tipping
What I would do next:
#6 - Jordan River baptism site
#1 - Eating falafels on the street - The first evening of our arrival, we met Emily at our hotel, and she took us down the street to her favorite falafel place. It was a thrill to let Emily be our guide, and to watch her do all the transaction in Arabic, watching the men smile at her fluent arabic, and eating the delicious middle-eastern food.
#2 - Petra - This was an big, iconic place to visit, and it did not dissappoint. The walk through the narrow, winding gorge was indiana jones like, burstin onto the first Nabatean temple. The various other carved rock structures were beautiful. They are continuing restorations of some temples along the walk, and the climb up to the sanctuary in the back was inspiring.
#3 - Desert Bedouin stay at Wadi Rum - We chose a well-reviewed Bedouin camp, and stayed the night in the tents. They provided a bedouin BBQ, which they cooked in charcoal beds buried in the sand. The next day we tour the desert in the back of the 4X4, stopping at Lawrence of Arabia huts, and slot canyon hikes, and sand dunes.
#4 - Ruins of Jerash - These old Roman ruins were expansive, and incredibly well-restored, and amazing. They were equal or better to any of the ruins we say in Rome itself. The views of the Temple of Venus, as you walked up the three succesive sets of stairs were well planned, and erected to inspire awe and glory to their ancient gods. The plaza, and the long walkway were impressive. It was extremely worthwhile to make the visit.
#5 - Petra horse guide tipping - the entrance fee to Petra “includes a horse ride” down the first 200 yards from the entrance of the park to the entrance of the slot canyon. Multiple signs say that tips are not included, but what is a “tip”? It is an extra payment for a job well done. Unfortunately, the extortionist horse operators at Petra were demanding a $10 tip, per horse, for about a 5 minute ride. Forget it! The ride wasn’t even worth $10 as a fee, let along a “tip”. They were extremely belligerent, when I complained about his demanded tip, and it put me in a bad mood.
What I would do next:
#6 - Jordan River baptism site - We tried to visit the Jordan River baptism site, but unfortunately we were unable to find it. I would have liked to have visited.