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An easy border crossing into Jordan. The first car inspection so far, but luckily we avoided the complete ‘unpack your car’  inspection suffered by others. I had to drive over a man in an inspection pit as he thumped the underneath of the car for anything suspicious whilst Bun and Iso stocked up in duty-free!

We took the castle route east after the border towards Iraq. Feeling slightly overwhelmed by historic sites, we camped wild overnight after finding a spot in the dark. Bun and Iso got scared when sorting out the tent when they noticed a pick-up coming towards us in the dark. It turned around, probably after noticing the vehicle more clearly and seeing our number plate.

We awoke in the morning to a lunar landscape with only distant cars from the road in sight. The nights are cold here. Changing altitude and the shift from warm days to cold nights has given me a cold. I’m about to put my head in a bowl of vicks vapour!

The desert road after the border is more like a roller coaster which adds to the fun of driving. The rumours of the lack of diesel in Jordan hasn’t been noticed yet, but we are told it costs a little more than in Syria. We filled up both tanks to use up the last of our Syrian pounds.

The other amusing fuel stop is for cooking fuel. Every time I need to fill up the canisters with unleaded petrol it turns into a 10 minute discussion about why I need them filling up. Plenty of gestures are needed and if necessary I end up showing them the stove in the back of the car to explain. Bring back self-service!

In the morning we took the road south towards Azraq, Jordan’s only oasis. We are camping in the grounds of the Azraq lodge, a former British military hospital. The hotel is owned by Chechens. They first arrived here after Russian persecution in the late 19th century. The town is also known for Qasr -Azraq, the desert roman fort which Lawrence of Arabia chose for his headquarters.

We are here to see the Azraq wetland reserve in the morning before we head towards Amman.

Jordan’s eastern border with Saudi Arabia is a strangely angled line that makes Jordan’s shape look like an odd piece from a children’s game that needs slotting in somewhere. Winston Churchill was responsible for the line in the early 20’s when he was British Colonial Secretary. The story behind it is known as “Winston’s hiccup”.

Bun 5 times champion at backgammon after beating me before losing her crown to Iso in the next game!


November 2009