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part one of this trip

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Day 4:   As everyday, I woke up early and had a walk with my camera to enjoy the calm morning and take some sunrise and morning beautiful shots. First shy than bold sun, singing birds and the sound of the waterfalls. Simply magical. The ideal place for relaxation and meditation. After a light breakfast, I went with the ladies to the falls, excited and a bit nervous like a child taking his first dip in the pool. Fortunately the fall was not crowded. I was the last one to walk under it. Meanwhile I heard the soft creaming of my friends. I knew that it is going to be something different. It was indeed. A very thick and heavy shower of hot water that falls on the skull in a way I was afraid to fall. I had to hold my feet well to the sandy floor in a way to stay up and still. The hot water was giving a well needed and deserved back massage, better than any I ever had by a professional masseuse. Now I understood the signs at the entrance that says that while this water rich minerals is known to be well to treat rheumatism, it is not allowed for people with heart disease or high blood pressure to use it. In a nutshell, this was a unique experience that anyone should try, and that deserves a special trip just to spend few days in this resort. Which was explained by the presence of so many tourists from all over the world. We left toward the town of Madaba, where we visited the church in the mount. Frankly, I was sad at this sight, as I saw it was restored in a modern way.

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In my previous visit to Madaba over ten years ago, this site was historic and beautiful. Now it reconstructed in a way that makes it look like a modern house in Europe. I was sad and expressed my thoughts to Zawkan the guide. He told me that many people didn’t like it as well but the work is not over yet, and it might improve. The next stop was in the downtown of Madaba, where the group headed to restaurant, but I preferred to visit the historic church if Saint George, known as the map church, where was found the mosaic of the map of the holy lands. Another place I had visited before but didn’t want to miss to see again. A must see. I joined the group at the restaurant, “Harett Jdoudna”, a ver charming and rustic place, that looks like an old courtyard, decorated by lot of greens and colorful flowers.

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The owner proudly displays photos and thank you note from the former American First Lady, Ms Laura Bush, who had ate at ” Harett Jdoudna” in 2005. As being the main activity if our trip, the food was also our next stop, after the three hours trip to get to Petra. We went straight to a place called “the kitchen” where we had a new experience. We helped the chef prepare our dinner, and this time we were the critics of our own cooking. We didn’t feel but we had to rush so we won’t miss the visit of Petra by night. Although we were all very tired, no one could miss this night ride through the candles. ( check the pervious article). This night stay was at a very different style if hotel, “Taybett Zaman”. An old village restored into a modern hotel. Reminded me of the old Lebanese villages when I was a little child.

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Day 5:  for me it was supposed to be the most important day of the trip, between Petra and Rum valley. Petra is a place that brings u thousands of years back, just in an 40 minutes walk. In fact this time I didn’t and couldn’t walk so I just took a carriage driven by a happy man and drawn by a jumpy horse. It was a bumpy jumpy ride to get to the Khazneh, interrupted by a kiss on my cheek from a horse, and a hit on my face from the tail of another one. My friend in the carriage had a good laugh about it, but despite this and the repulsing smell from the back of our horse, I was fine and better than to make this walk again in less than 20 hours. The square was very busy with tourists enjoying one of the most amazing historical places on the planet. No matter how many times you visit Petra, you can never see everything and you can never have enough of it. A must do is the donkey, horse or camel ride. Everybody enjoyed this visit, although we were all tired.
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Next stop was a piece of heaven. Wadi Rum. A joyful and colorful desert. I was looking forward for the safari in the 4X4 Jeep, which ended up higher than my expectations. A sunset ride in the back of a Jeep, the beautiful “red” desert, wonderful rocks. We passed by the spot where the movie ” Laurence of Arabia” was shot, with the rock having the drawing and impressions on it, proudly reminding of the event. On the way back to the camp, we stopped on one of the beautiful rocks, where we patiently waited for the sunset. It was worth the wait, and even the whole trip.  A sunset that even a blind would see.

Back to the camp, “Captain’s Camp”, where our hosts were preparing the dinner. They were doing a great job making their guests live the real Bedouin experience, in all its colors, sounds, tastes and flavors. All your five senses are risen from the modern world sobriety to a very rich and lively historical level.  We ate the Zarb, which is a traditional “dish” prepared in a very old and traditional way, where the food is cooked underground. The buffet was also very rich, served by wonderful people.

Before the dinner, I had a nice camel ride with one of the friends. I had a nice chat with the helper who was riding our camels. This few minutes conversation with this man was very rich. He is probably not educated and has no diplomas to brag about. He is not a CEO or a CFO of any big international company, he has more wisdom of many of the modern highly educated people we see in our days. He talked peacefully and openly about religion and woman’s right, in a way that makes our politicians shy to show their ignorance.
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The evening was ended by a delicious dinner, and unforgettable music played by a band of Bedouin, lead by a blind singer. Amazing ambiance under a starry sky. Simply unforgettable, and I will redo it for sure.

We had to drive to Aqaba same night, where we stayed at the Radisson Blu  beach resort.
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Day 6:  I woke up at the sunrise, opened the curtains of my room to see an amazing see view. The famous clean blue Aqaba sea.

Breakfast at the hotel, than we spent the day in the sea, in a special boat trip, where the guys had a unique snorkeling experience and we had a mouthwatering barbecue lunch on the boat.

back to the hotel, where we rested before the dinner. Then we all met at the terrace cafe where a dancer accompanied the loud music of a live band. Some of the group stayed and enjoyed their arguileh, while me and two others moved to another cafe on the shore side of the resort. Much calmer and nicer for my taste. I preferred the sound of the waves, and the sweet breeze.

Day7: last night and last day of the trip. We were all ready to head up to Amman. A last stop for lunch in downtown Aqaba. We greeted and thanked Mr Khaled Kilani who left us after lunch.

The adventure didn’t stop as our bus stopped not far from Aqaba exit, and the guys had to push the van for at least one kilometer before it ran again.

Goodbyes at the airport.

Jordan, as we say in french, “ce n’est qu’un au revoir”. We will visit again for sure, and next time we will bring family and friends.

Thank you Jordan for a great and unforgettable week.
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