Monday, April 6, 2015

The Start of an Adventure in Jordan

On April 1 - April Fool's Day, we headed off on our adventure in Jordan.

There were 5 of us -- Hubby D and myself along with 3 other members of D’s team who work in Saudi Arabia.

Since it was April Fool’s Day, I thought it would be fun to send my daughter, BHB a selfie with text, “On our way to Jordan. Plane late and will have to fly into Iraq. April Fool’s!”  D did not think it was funny.
In airport. On our way to Jordan. Plane late and will have to fly into Iraq. . . April Fool’s!
As it turned out, I did not have cell service in the airport so I couldn’t send it anyway.

Our flight to Amman, Jordan was about 2 and half hours.  Our guide, Nader and his driver, Zakaria, met us at the airport.  We had arranged for our guide through an engineer from Jordan who had been working in Saudi for D. It was a fantastic connection as Nader was an EXCEELENT guide.

Nader made our trip really something special. His degree in archeology was a bonus and made for continually great conversation. Throughout the trip, he consistently directed us towards choices that really made sense for our group.

We would highly recommend him to anyone who wants a truly memorable adventure in Jordan.  Zakaria was an excellent driver as well.  It was all just great!

After packing the van, we loaded up and “headed out” – “Yella” in Arabic.

The first thing that surprised me in Jordan was how green the region was.  There were mountains, pine trees and green everywhere. I envisioned Jordan to be some-what like Bahrain with sand and dessert.  The topography here was mountainous with a lot of vegetation. And, the temperature was very cool.

First we traveled to Jerash to see Roman city of Gerasa.  

Along the way we stopped at a local restaurant for lunch. It was terrific. Their oven made the most delicious large round breads. 

Nader ordered for us and he was “spot on” with the choices.

The ovens at work.
Tasting the bread, YUMM.
Nader ordering our lunch.
Some of the meats.
Salads of several varieties.
Our meal was finished off with local bananas that were very sweet and tender.

Nader told us that the Roman city of Gerasa was the best-preserved Roman City in the world.  At first we thought he was exaggerating since it was also his hometown, however after we arrived, we realized he was correct.  It was amazing.

The old city was large and we spent a couple of hours trekking all over the ruins.

D and Nader discussing the oval area in front of the main road, the cardo maximus.
There were many discussions on how archways were constructed.
Flowers were growing every where. They were beautiful.

A herd of sheep and goats joined us.
View from the top of the theater. 

There was a connection to Bahrain as well. One of the monuments bears a Greek inscription dating from 135/130 BC that mentions the construction of a “Hammana” by Belaois, who was military governor of Gerasa and son of the first king of the first dynasty of Bahrain.

Here are a few videos that I took in Gerasa including one where D and I were serenaded by bagpipe in the large theater. If you are reading this by email, you will need to go to my blog page to view the videos.

After leaving Gerasa we headed back to Amman to check into our hotel. Along the way the sun was setting and we asked Nader to stop for a quick photo. Next to where we stopped was a pin of sheep. There was one black sheep and he was kind of cute.

That night we stayed at the Intercontinental Hotel in Amman and it was wonderful. The rooms were excellent with a large bath that had a stone walk in shower as well as a great soaking tub. It was very lovely. 
Flowers hanging over the piano in the lobby of the hotel.
On our way to dinner, we accidentally walked into an Arabic wedding celebration.  All 5 of us tried to blend into the wall so we could watch the festivities for just a few minutes. It was a large crowd in a hall with many crystal chandeliers and a long winding staircase.  The bride (beautifully dressed in white) and groom made their way down the staircase along with a group of Arabic musicians playing loud drums and bagpipes.  There was a great deal of yelling and jumping by everyone including the bride and groom. We were spell bound by it all.

Wedding staircase.
We left early the next day for our full day journey down to Petra.  Nader suggested our first stop should be at a highway truck stop he knew about.

When Nader first suggested we stop there for breakfast, I was hesitant.  He had not suggested anything yet that did not turn out wonderful however ... a truck stop? Really?

More tomorrow... Cheers!


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