Wednesday, May 14, 2014

Vicarious Tourism: Jordan

Yes, I went on vacation again. Europe is great for that; it's relatively quick and easy to get all kinds of places. Such as, for instance, Jordan. Jordan, like Ireland, is a small country with an incredible wealth of historical sites and jaw-dropping natural beauty. The color palette is a bit different though.


I crammed quite a lot into my ten days. I rode in an Ottoman-era train. I experienced the apparent repeal of the laws of physics in the Dead Sea, and then got a mud wrap and a massage. I got up close and personal with a coral reef in Aqaba. I scrambled over Roman ruins at Jerash. I rode a camel.

And there was Petra of course, where I had a whole day to hike around and play Indiana Jones. Everyone makes a big deal about the Treasury, and it IS impressive. Even having seen the pictures, glimpsing it at the end of the canyon still sent a chill up my spine. But there's so much more to the city! The place is huge, caves and carvings as far as the eye can see. Just the official highlights can eat up hours, but it's also pretty easy to go off the map a bit and do a little private exploring.

However, the best part of my trip was probably the day I spent in Wadi Rum. Almost as soon as I arrived it starting raining, torrents of water and marble-sized hail for a good 20-30 minutes. And when it was over waterfalls had appeared in the mountains where there was only rock before, and a rushing river appeared where there had been nothing but sand. That was special. And then the sun came out with a nice cool breeze, and the air was so clear with the dampness holding the dust down. Perfect conditions for six hours of walking in the desert with only a Bedouin guide and a scruffy canine sidekick. It was so peaceful, and the scenery couldn't be beat.

It was not a cheap vacation by any stretch of the imagination - Jordan's entire economy is built on squeezing as much cash as possible out of visiting tourists, and they have it down to a science by now. So worth it though! Every time my inner pennypincher started getting whiny another wonder turned up to take her breath away.

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