Now we are back we are attempting to wean ourselves away from writing solely about our recent adventures. Having predictable access to the internet again means we can get back to writing researched pieces about working and volunteering abroad and focus more on other areas of the planet outside of the Middle East.
For the rest of this month though I’m taking a last chance to indulge ourselves and show some pictures of our travels. I learnt a long time ago our friends ain’t interested but the advantage of having a website is I can force them on to you. (Tip: I don’t pay much attention to our stats so if you want to slowly back away from the computer now I won’t know about it).
There are too many photos for one post so I’ve split this feature into three. Milking this post in this way will also give me a chance to do the work needed if we are to move to our planned Monday to Friday posting schedule.
We had planned to visit Cairo and Alexandria but first off headed to Dahab to catch up with work. We knew we would be able to both relax there and enjoy good wifi. We never did make it to the rest of Egypt. Protests, sparked by police corruption and brutality, kicked off in the capital so we rode out the revolution petting cats by the beach and doing a little snorkelling.
Forgetting our vows made after climbing Machu Picchu never to go near the summit of a mountain again, we decided to challenge ourselves and go see where God handed over the Ten Commandments to Moses on the top of Mount Sinai. We can be stupid fucks sometimes.
The God theme continued when we took a Jeep Safari in the company of a couple of creationist Australians. The creationists seemed to be good people so mostly I played nicely. Intrigued by their literal interpretation of the bible my arguments were fair and not mocking and only my not meant to be taken seriously claim to be related to God (a long story that involves DNA evidence, multi generation fidelity and draft dodging in 19th century Russia along with a literal belief in the bible) caused some offense. Together, we journeyed to places so remote no one had been there before. Except Bianca.
Though it wasn’t on fire flora is still used in the Sinai to communicate with a higher authority. The only spot for miles with a mobile phone reception, this tree attracted pick up truck driving Bedouin and tour group drivers trying to call the office or wife
I don’t have any photos of the day Mubarak resigned but these kittens might make you feel as happy as most Egyptians did that day.
Though numbers declined drastically during our six weeks there, Dahab is a resort mainly for foreigners. Tourism in Aqaba is a more local affair and it was interesting to see Arabs at play in their own country.
If you have ever seen Indiana Jones and the Last Crusade you know where the walk through the rock split Siq is leading to. Even so it is still difficult not to let out a gasp at first sight of the Treasury at Petra.
Petra though is more than the iconic Treasury. The Nabataeans carved so much more out of the region’s cliffs it is worth investing in a three day pass to the UNESCO World Heritage site.
After small towns and tourist sites it was a pleasure to experience again the bustle of a capital city. We arrived on Thursday night when all the residents of Amman seemed content to set up stall and sell their wares to each other.
‘Welcome’ is a word heard often by visitors to Jordan; even in the capital city and well trodden tourist sites. There is no reason to go to Suf, a small town near Jerash, except to see how the Jordanians up their welcoming game. Needing lunch supplies during our stay at the Olive Branch Hotel we twice attempted to walk into town. On both occasions we didn’t make it as curious drivers stopped, picked us up and drove us there. We spent our second afternoon in Suf in one of the local barber shops (coincidentally the end of Indiana Jones and the Last Crusade was on the TV) where we had been invited in for coffee. Going back up the hill to our hotel we knew we wouldn’t have to walk all the way.
Fans of ruined cities will love Jordan. While Petra gets the lion’s share of visitors, a few hours by bus at the other end of the country is Jerash where we travelled back in time.
Starting at Hadrian’s Gate the ancient city of Jerash makes an interesting linear walk down a colonnaded street through the region’s Roman past. Highlights include the Oval Plaza, Temple of Artemis and the Theatre.