Tuesday, June 28, 2011

Israel, Day #7, AKA Jordan - Day #1

Day 7.
Early morning.  Well not really.  We got up after 7 and were out of the hotel at 8:30.  Today we went into Jordan.  That's right, we left the country and went to Jordan.  Going through Customs is interesting.  Apparently you need a guide to make sure you don't screw it up (?) who walks you through the whole Israeli side.  Then you walk through no man's land towards Jordan where you are met with another representative who takes your passport and does the whole thing for you without Customs having to look at you once.  I guess they trust that the Israelis are only letting valid people through.  Okay, we were through Customs and met our guide for the day, Qussai (Ku-sai).  We toured through Aqaba (the city on the Jordanian side next to Elat) and then drove through the mountains towards Petra.  Petra is an ancient city that carved tombs into the sandstone.  It was also used in one of the Indiana Jones movies.  I thought that it was the city itself carved into the sandstone but I was wrong, they are ALL tombs.  The bigger the tomb the more important you were.  It was really beautiful and weird kinda; I mean all that is left of the city is the cemetery because they didn't build anything else that lasted.  But that could be because squatters lived there until 1984 when it became a national park.  It could also be because the Jordanians have not done a lot of excavating or preserving in the area.  They use it for the tourism money.  We were there until 3 in the afternoon.  Our guide brought us 2 hours into Petra through the ravine and past the tombs.  Then we had an hour and a bit to get ourselves back at whatever pace we wanted.  Let me tell you, it was hot in the sun.  It was great in the shade, but hot hot hot in the sun.  And the last half-mile was entirely in the sun.  So we trekked back.  Then we had a typical (maybe) Jordanian lunch.  At this point our guide had lost interest in us completely, although I might have something to do with that.  I asked a question badly and he answered it aggressively.  I asked about how women were dressed.  I did not assume that they had to cover completely but we saw Arab music videos on the TV and they were both dancing and dressing seductively, which is not what I know about Muslim culture.  So I asked and he did not like it very much.  He did say that he would want his woman to cover up and not share any of herself with anyone else... whatevs, moving on.  Long ride back to the border and see ya.  Back in Elat.  Back to swimming in the Red Sea.  Shower. And then we walked on the promenade//boardwalk behind the hotel.  There are a ton of shops here.  We ran into a family from MD that was at the Bedouin tent the night before.  We ate more hummus for dinner with kebobs and pita.  Arthur, our guide for the next 2 days, met us for dinner and we talked about this and that and what we are going to do for the next two days.  I don't remember anything except that we are meeting for breakfast and going snorkeling.  Good night.

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