You are currently browsing the daily archive for December 9, 2009.

Here we go. The mile long natural gorge known as the Bab as-Siq leads into the city of Petra, emerging dramatically in front of the Treasury ( as in picture ). It is an incredible journey that lasts an hour from the visitors centre at the top of the site. It is a combination of natural wonder and civilisation which could vanish tomorrow if you rubbed the sandstone hard enough with your hands. It’s a wonder how it has survived for so long. Other tomb faces have vanished from exposure to the weather.

The rest of Petra, aside from the 800 steps we took to get to the monastery on top of the mountain, was lost in endless requests for camel and donkey rides (no thanks, for the hundredth time) and endless cruise ship tourists on day trips from Aqaba! Most of Petra seems to be lost underground, so we’ll have to come back one day.

We made the most of it for two days, with Bun and Iso getting in horse rides near Petra and a night at a Bedouin camp before moving back North. We bumped into a group of Air France air crew who were on day leave and were sampling Bedouin life before visiting Petra the next day. We camped whilst we were there, a few miles up the road from Petra, only venturing to the Movenpick for ice creams!

I’ve been joking how I haven’t spoken to any women whilst travelling in the Middle East. We meet a lot of men who are full of themselves. One being a man who called himself  ‘Dangerous’ who owned the camp site we stayed at. I hope one of the others didn’t give him the blog address! They seem to like saying ‘lovely , jubbly’ when they discover we are English and must think Only Fools and Horses is still on TV  in the UK.

I have been getting slightly stressed about the two big ferry journeys ahead. One I am less worried about ( from Jordan to Egypt) and the other longer one from Egypt to Sudan after the New Year. Having read a few blogs from overland trips three or four weeks ahead of us, this seems to be ok if we speak to Mr Salah who runs the ferry company in Aswan. I was looking forward to getting to the capital, Amman, to make a few phone calls to sort this out.

It is a 250km journey from Petra back north to Amman which took about three hours, with only one early stop for a falafel. We took the desert highway, one of the two major roads from north to south in Jordan. Imagine the M1 with speed bumps and police checks every 20kms. Luckily they wave us on before we have to slow down to much.

We had four days in the South with the temperature in the mid-twenties to be greeted with rain in Amman. A massive ‘thank you’ to Ashley for  treating us to a lovely meal on Monday night and meeting us again for cocktails on Tuesday. Fortunate timing being in Amman at the same time!

I’ve been trying to download all the TV shows, films and audio books for our journey at our hotel in Amman. I’m finally up to date with everything. Thanks to the hotel reception for looking after my laptop overnight to get this done. We can finally watch the next three episodes of Curb Your Enthusiasm.

Yesterday we ventured into downtown Amman after a slow start. We wandered the back streets and the souk before getting some lunch. I finally got some sugar cane juice. The board outside of the hole in the wall shop boasted the benefits of sugar cane. Top of the list was ‘sexual supporter’. Bun and Iso tried milky custard topped with coconut shavings. I don’t think that offers the same benefits!

Our taste for real coffee has vanished. Hopes of making coffe like we do back home has now turned in to drinking vending machine style cups of Nescafe 3 in 1 sachets. I’ve got a real taste for it and am buying it by the jumbo pack.

The Landcruiser is performing well after approximately 6000 miles and has finally had a few ventures off-road as we try and find camp away from the road. Detailed mileage to come when we hit Cairo. Thinking it was time to start changing filters before we hit the desert in Wadi Rum and Egypt, we stopped at a local garage in Petra after we filled up with diesel. After chatting under the bonnet for a while, the mechanic  reckoned we didn’t have to worry about that for a while.

We are heading to Wadi Rum on Wednesday afternoon for three days in the desert. We’ve got the firewood on the roof rack and the car is full of supplies.

December 2009