Jordan to Jerusalem and back again

 

Spring Break 4/4/14 to 4/11/14

I have to preface this with a story about Kelly. On 3/28 I went with Rebecca to see the amazing sand sculpture here in Kuwait (I will try to post about that next); reputedly the world’s largest. It was amazing! We met Michael there who brought us home. Kelly texted me for “advice,” so Rebecca and I went to her apartment. We find her standing holding onto a table in severe pain, with a gaping wound open over her outside ankle and the inside of that same leg rather savagely scraped/burned from the heel to mid-thigh. She insisted she didn’t need to go to the hospital, but wanted advice on how to stop the bleeding from her ankle. I got on all fours and looked closely at it only to see bone. I said, we’re going to the hospital now. We got her downstairs, hailed a taxi and went to the hospital. Three hours later she had stitches, a cast, and pain meds. Later we realized that much of the damage was internal tissue damage. How did this happen? She was out in the desert, which just means outside of the city because it is all desert here, riding an ATV or quad (called buggy here). She hit a soft spot in the sand where the ruts jerked the buggy one way and she went the other. She held onto the handlebars before flying off and that caused it to come back and run over her. She’s fortunate to be alive…maybe she’s a cat and has nine lives.

propped to try to get the swelling down in Doha waiting on our connection

propped to try to get the swelling down in Doha waiting on our connection

Now, Gabe, Kelly, and I got up early to head for Amman, Jordan to begin our spring break on April 4. We flew Qatar Air and our flight was delayed from Doha to Amman, which seems per usual for Qatar Air. Kelly is a week out from the accident, but still in pretty intense pain. Of course, traveling makes everyone swell and especially her with her wounds. We finally arrive in Jordan, get our visas, rental car and find our hotel. We head back out for dinner at 9:00 pm and find an amazing little place called Books@cafe. It was hopping and so people watching and food were plentiful. We got back to the hotel at around 11 and headed straight for bed.

The next day we went to the Citadel in Amman to see Hercules’ temple and some amazing Roman ruins, which also offered a lovely view of the city from all around.

city of Amman surrounding the Citadel

city of Amman surrounding the Citadel

Hercules' Temple

Hercules’ Temple

City surrounds the old Roman amphitheater too

City surrounds the old Roman amphitheater too

more of the surrounding city

more of the surrounding city

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Then we were off to Petra. It took about four hours to drive and find our Bedouin tent camp, called Seven Wonders.

Kelly entering Seven Wonders Bedouin Camp

Kelly entering Seven Wonders Bedouin Camp

 

driving through the wadi area

driving through the wadi area

boy on a donkey and his dog (he was herding sheep)

boy on a donkey and his dog (he was herding sheep)

 

Bedouin tent at the foot of ancient rock walls

Bedouin tent at the foot of ancient rock walls

They weren’t quite ready for us, but served us tea and then we headed out to explore. We drove around Little Petra and a wadi area and then into Petra.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

We found a Cave Bar for beer and shisha. It was a lovely and relaxing evening.

Cave Bar in Petra

Kelly and Gabe at the Cave Bar in Petra

Kelly and Gabe at the Cave Bar in Petra

As evening fell and the moon rose

As evening fell and the moon ros

Then we drove back to Seven Wonders for dinner at 8ish after which we sat around a campfire for a bit. Tired, we headed to bed shortly after that in our Bedouin tent.

 

So the tent is sort of like camping, but we had actual twin beds with frames and bedside table and lamp, and carpeting on the floor. The bathrooms were like what you would find at a campground in the U.S. and even had showers. They provided a breakfast buffet and then we were off to Petra.

The entrance to the ancient part was right next to the Cave Bar from last night! Kelly hired a horse pulled cart to take her as walking with crutches in sand is just unfeasible.

Kelly in the horse pulled cart

Kelly in the horse pulled cart

Gabe and I walked to the Treasury and then to the base of the monastery steps.

entrance to Petra

entrance to Petra

walkway toward the Treasury

walkway toward the Treasury

sunlight and "ta-da" just ahead

sunlight and “ta-da” just ahead

ta-da!! The Treasury

ta-da!! The Treasury

amphitheater with tombs surrounding it

amphitheater with tombs surrounding it

more tombs carved into the rock walls

more tombs carved into the rock walls

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

I walked almost 400 steps up and began to feel dizzy and nauseous due to dehydration. I stopped and sent Gabe on. Finally, I decided to take a donkey up to the top (another 500 steps) and enjoyed the view and some water (there were booths all the way up with various trinkets and scarves to sell, but at the top there was a small café as well).

Monastery at the top of the 900 stairs

Monastery at the top of the 900 stairs

sad little donkeys who hauled people up the stairs (the red saddle blanket one was mine...he looks like he's about ready to faint)

sad little donkeys who hauled people up the stairs (the red saddle blanket one was mine…he looks like he’s about ready to faint)

view over the valley from the monastery

view over the valley from the monastery

Gabe and I walked back down (all 900 steps, which was less aerobically taxing, but jarring on the joints). I didn’t feel I could do the walk through sand in hot sun, so took a donkey back to the Treasury as well. Gabe beat me. He was lounging in the shade when I finally pulled up and dismounted. We then walked through the passage and back up to the gate near the Cave Bar. Kelly had been there for hours waiting for us. I collapsed and tried to rehydrate. Soon we were off toward the Dead Sea.

Pretty spectacular

Pretty spectacular

I loved these road signs. I assume they were warning of falling rock.

I loved these road signs. I assume they were warning of falling rock.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

What an incredible climb and then descent (my ears were popping like crazy) through beautiful country! We arrived just in time to see the sun set over the Dead Sea.

Sunset over the Dead Sea

Sunset over the Dead Sea

We checked in to our hotel, had dinner in the room, and went to bed.

After breakfast, we headed down to the beach from the hotel to check out the Dead Sea. Kelly is still on crutches, so it was a Herculean effort on her part. We had found a large plastic bag to put over Kelly’s wounds and then she bought a compression stocking to put over it. We all three went for a dip and a float, but Kelly came out pretty quickly when the water started seeping in.

Gabe and I floating in the Dead Sea

Gabe and I floating in the Dead Sea

Kelly just before the water started to seep in

Kelly just before the water started to seep in

I didn’t realize that the Dead Sea was the lowest point on earth and of course, it is becoming more and more salty as the water evaporates. I had been to the Dead Sea once before from the Israeli side many, many years ago. My recollection was of a much smaller body of water than I found it to be, and a much nicer beach with pools of fresh water. Our hotel was doing some major construction on the beachfront, so I assume it will be much nicer next time. We went back to our room to shower off all the salt. Then we went down by the pool to have lunch. Kelly decided she had had enough of a workout for the day, so she stayed at the hotel and Gabe and I went out to investigate the town. There is no town, but we found the Baptismal Site of Jesus, so we went there and I dipped my hands into the Jordan River with Israel just a stone’s throw away. We went back to get Kelly and we went out for dinner in a small market nearby.

Jesus' Baptismal Site

Jesus’ Baptismal Site

standing on the Jordan side of the Jordan River (Israel is just on the other side!)

standing on the Jordan side of the Jordan River (Israel is just on the other side!) I totally get the scarves they wear here. It helps keep off the sun and is cooler than a hat.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

The next day took us to the King Hussein Bridge and Jerusalem.

We're getting close

We’re getting close

It took us five hours from hotel to hotel with what seemed eternal waiting. This is a somewhat risky trip since Kuwait does not acknowledge Israel’s existence. If we try to get back into Kuwait with an Israeli stamp on our passport, we would be denied. Israel knows this and accommodates travelers by issuing separate paper visas and stamps those.

The paper visa into Israel

The paper visa into Israel

Again, Kelly stayed at the hotel once we reached it to put her leg up in order to join us for dinner, while Gabe and I walked to and then all around the Old City. We went through all four quarters.

One of the streets (alleyways) in the Jewish Quarter of the Old City.

One of the streets (alleyways) in the Jewish Quarter of the Old City.

In the Armenian Quarter

In the Armenian Quarter

In the Christian Quarter

In the Christian Quarter

In the Muslim Quarter

In the Muslim Quarter

Via Dolorosa

Via Dolorosa

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

On the way back we decided to try public transportation, but ended up only taking it one stop. Haha! We were told to visit a small market nearby and go to a place called 5 May for dinner.

5 May pub in the marketplace near our hotel

5 May pub in the marketplace near our hotel

We finally found it, and once again, it was a hopping place. So interesting to see so many different cultures represented.

In order for Kelly to see much of the city, we decided to take the double decker bus tour the next day. We rode this bus snapping pictures for about two and a half hours.

Orthodox Jewish man and his son

Orthodox Jewish man and his son

One of the gates into the Old City

One of the gates into the Old City

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Dome of the Rock peeking above the wall

Dome of the Rock peeking above the wall

Jerusalem. So wonderful to see so much green.

Jerusalem. So wonderful to see so much green.

Old City Jerusalem

Old City Jerusalem

This mosque is more important than the Dome of the Rock to Muslims

This mosque is more important than the Dome of the Rock to Muslims

Dome of the Rock

Dome of the Rock

 

museum with Noah's Ark and animals on top

museum with Noah’s Ark and animals on top

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Jewish...

Jewish…

Muslim...

Muslim…

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

We got off at the Dung Gate, the Old City entrance near the Western (Wailing) Wall, which Kelly really wanted to see. We walked up to it and touched it and both found it quite moving.

even unbelievers...

even unbelievers…

In front of the Wailing Wall

In front of the Wailing Wall

The three of us then went for lunch inside the Old City

Kelly and Gabe in a cave cafe inside the Old City

Kelly and Gabe in a cave cafe inside the Old City

and returned to see about visiting the Dome of the Rock. We were under time constraints for getting back to Jordan and the line to enter the Dome was so long we decided not to wait. I will just have to return. We hailed a ride back to the bridge (called the Allenby Bridge from the Israeli side) with a Palestinian driver. He took us near the wall between the Jewish and Palestinian sides.

Yikes!

Yikes!

It’s a tough situation, but when looking at maps it is hard not to empathize with the Palestinians. What was designated as their land is being overtaken with Jewish settlements. The crossing back to Jordan was easier and quicker, though more expensive (Israel has a hefty exit tax). We returned to our car and headed back to Amman.

exit stamp from Israel

exit stamp from Israel

Our last full day and we decided to head for Jerash. What a gorgeous part of the country! I was struck by how much green there was, and all the little stands along the roadway selling fresh produce of all sorts.

I miss green and hills.

I miss green and hills.

Jerash is purported to be one of the largest Roman ruins outside of Italy. It is extensive and it happened to be swarming with students. Many busloads were visiting that day and they seemed almost as intent on getting pictures with the white folks as seeing the ruins.

Hadrian's Arch at Jerash

Hadrian’s Arch at Jerash

entrance to the hippodrome

entrance to the hippodrome

swarming with students all over the ruins

swarming with students all over the ruins

colonnaded street

colonnaded street

colonnaded street

colonnaded street

through the Propylaeum of the Sanctuary of Artemis

through the Propylaeum of the Sanctuary of Artemis

Sanctuary of Artemis

Sanctuary of Artemis

surveying the expanse of these ruins

surveying the expanse of these ruins

amphitheater

amphitheater

paradox?: Muslim bagpiper playing "Amazing Grace"

paradox?: Muslim bagpiper playing “Amazing Grace”

kids up in the ruins of Zeus' Temple

kids up in the ruins of Zeus’ Temple

the whole hillside was dotted with pieces of the ruins

the whole hillside was dotted with pieces of the ruins

We headed back to Amman and went for a wine tasting of Jordanian wines. The vineyard was St. George’s.

St. George's winery

St. George’s winery

We also tried their arak, which is anise flavored. They gave Gabe and I a complementary bottle of it! Then we headed off for dinner to Books@cafe again for our last beer and shisha.

books@cafe

books@cafe

Kelly was still struggling with pain and couldn’t walk without crutches, so we used the wheel chair through all the airports. This was good as we again had a long delay causing us to miss our connecting flight. We finally returned to Kuwait only to have all our alcohol confiscated and thrown out, even the gift. I guess it’s surprising it hasn’t happened before, but it was very frustrating to have it happen THIS time.

4 Comments (+add yours?)

  1. Ellen Manning
    May 16, 2014 @ 11:14:26

    Wow Pam! It is utterly amazing to get your posts and see/read about the places you’ve been. You are really something my dear….thanks for taking the time to share, for travelling safely and for the vicarious experience through your eyes and words. Can’t wait to see you again! Love always and always, Ellen

    (¯`v´¯) `*.¸.*´ ¸.•´¸.•*¨) ¸.•*¨) (¸.•´ (¸.•´ .•´ ¸¸.•¨¯`•.¸•

    Ellen Manning Carrboro Elementary 1st Grade Classroom Teacher

    “Tell me, what is it you plan to do with your one wild and precious life?” *Mary Oliver*

    Reply

  2. Ronna
    May 16, 2014 @ 13:20:09

    I loved sharing your journey. Thanks Pam!

    Reply

  3. Liz Mitchell
    May 16, 2014 @ 19:49:10

    Pam, what a glorious adventure….We never did make it to that area, only so far as Ephesis…and had dreams of visiting there.

    Liz Mitchell

    Reply

  4. Jane Kaman
    May 17, 2014 @ 12:18:24

    So far this is my favorite trip! Reminds me of Turkey in many ways!
    love you,
    jk

    Reply

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