Welcome To The Middle East
09.04.2012 - 14.04.2012 20 °C
It's hard to believe that we're already posting about the Middle East! Time is just flying by, but we both couldn't be happier to be back in a modern civilization again (sorry India lol), but more importantly to again be travelling somewhere that is completely unique to anything we have seen before. I'm excited to share some stories with you so lets do this thing...
After spending a long restless night in Mumbai's Airport (don't even get me started on what a "bamboozle" that was.... seemed like they checked your boarding pass just to take a piss there) we finally boarded our 6:30AM flight to Amman, Jordan via Kuwait City. The flight was good (actually got a bit of rest), but for whatever reason we touched down in some random airport (not sure even what country we were in) and sat on the tarmac for at least 3 hours. We were told it was because of a sandstorm (the visibility was pretty bad) but who knows... all I know is that we were stuck on a plane with loads of crying babies... serenity now, serenity now lol. Eventually we took off again and made it into Kuwait were again our connecting flight was delayed due to a sandstorm. So we did what any good North Americans would do... went to Chilis to fill our fat faces with Nachos and Burgers lol.
The food was comforting... the exchange rate was not lol. Traded $100 in Indian Rupees for Kuwait Dinar and lost $25 on the transaction!! How's that for a raping? Oh well what can you do. Eventually we were cleared for takeoff after only another 3 hour delay... good times....
Here are some pics of us flying over Saudi Arabia:
Obviously when we made it to Jordan we were feeling like shit as we hadn't really slept in like 2 days. But we made it through Amman's airport, obtained our Visa's and jumped on a bus to head into the city where we quickly found a hotel and some much needed rest. Even though we were tried we still quite excited about the fact of being somewhere completely foreign to us. It's always nice to get those travellers butterflies again. The first thing I immediately noticed and appreciated about Jordan was the roads. All in amazing condition, they drive on the RIGHT side of the road and the people drive sanely and normally... you know... obeying laws and signs and not trying to basically kill you (I DO NOT miss driving in Asia or India!!!).
Our first day in Amman we decided to check out the main sights around the downtown. Amman at one point in history was part of the great Roman Empire and the city was at that point named Philadelphia. That morning we met a follow world traveller named Jamie from Australia, so we teamed up and headed out to see the Roman Theatre which was only several blocks away from our hotel. On the way we passed by a couple of other landmarks...
King Hussein Mosque
Remnants of an ancient Roman Fountain
Pretty marvellous sight. They definitely did some restoration work to it because it was in incredible shape. Our admission also included entry into 2 museums attached to the theatre.
Okay so I want to take this moment to touch on the people of Jordan. By far the warmest and most friendly people we have met thus far on our journey! Have you ever been anywhere where you're just walking down the street and people will ask, "Where are you from?", we reply and then it's always followed by "Welcome to Jordan". Honestly it is just so nice to experience that Middle Eastern hospitality. Everyone from people in the street, to hotel staff, to taxi drivers are all super friendly and kind, we're honestly not used to it. Maybe it's because you could never do that in Canada... well think about it... I person of Asian decent is walking down the street and you say "Welcome to Canada!", and their like "I'm Canadian asshole" lol. Of course everyone tends to be more interested in Stacey then they are with me (it's that legendary blond hair of hers) which was just the case at the Roman Theatre. At the time we were visiting there were loads of school kids on field trips. Needless to say they were super excited to practice their english with us and of course take a few pictures.
We also had a great conversation with a member of the Tourist Police. Super friendly guy (helps us with our Arabic lol) who even invited us to his wedding! He ended up showing us to secrets of the Theatre... if I told you they wouldn't be secrets now would they? Climbing to the top of the Theatre gave us a great of of the surrounding city...
The big hill you see in the background is where we were headed to next. It's an area called the Citadel which was an important site throughout history for both military and religious reasons. We got slightly lost making our way up to the hill which only worked to our advantage because we somehow bypassed the admission gate and just walked right in lol.
The Temple Of Hercules... well what's left of it.
Inside one of the buildings was an exhibition of before and after pictures chronicling the restoration work archeologists have done to the site. It's come a long way and they did a very good job for a project on such a massive scale (I still will never forget them piecing the Terracotta Warriors back together piece by painstaking piece). The whole Citadel area is quite large but more impressively is the fact that it's perched on the highest point of the city and therefore offers up some spectacular views.
Off to the edge of the hill we met some Jordanian children flying kites...
One kid must of had his kite strung out a good kilometre, or at least to the point where it had become a flight hazard. That night we enjoyed an exceptional meal at a restaurant called Jafra. It's nice to eat again and not worry about getting sick!
After two nights we decided to switch hotels (found a better deal and the staff at the second hotel were SO friendly).
It may not look like much but satellite TV and a fridge makes a big difference in the eyes of a backpacker! You have no idea how nice it is to have ice in our drinks again!! Life's all about the little things lol. Views from our new hotel...
We did a little bit more touring around in the following days but we also decided to do some shopping also and Amman has some pretty good malls. Honestly it was a nice change of pace to just grab a coffee and stroll around without sweating your bag off all the time lol. Oh ya... the weather! It's perfect. Never too hot or too cold. The sun can be a bit much in the peak of the day but other then that it's my ideal weather. A much welcome change from India which was just too damn hot! That concludes Amman... even though we are still staying here as I write this. We used Amman as our home base to do day trips to the surrounding area. So stay tuned for us floating in the Dead Sea and touring more accent ruins in Jerash. Bye.