Trip to Amman, Jordan

It started by telling Lady I wanted to go to Oman for two days or three to see the Bimmah Sinkhole. She said she's going to join me but later on suggested to go to Amman, instead. Since we are flying partners for the month, it means we have the same schedules, days off and all. So I said yes! I have some friends working for Oman Air in Muscat so I could go there some other time. Going to Amman is much better with a a company rather than going solo. And I will tell you why in this post. :)

Only few days before our days off, we booked our zed fare tickets through Royal Jordanian. It was actually 25 percent cheaper than flying with our own airline. :D With a suggestion from an Indonesian colleague, Marintan, who recently went there, we bought the Jordan Pass which includes the tourist visa fee to save time and money on Jordan's top sights and attractions. 

We arrived at our apartments past 11 in the evening from a Lucknow flight, and our flight to Amman was scheduled to depart the following morning at 0730. We had to unpack and pack our things. And it was a bit of a struggle. Haha! I had to make sure I only carry two bags with me- a trolley and a handbag. Successfully, I did it after eliminating a few things I won't really be needing for four days. I only slept for less than 2 hours before I had to hit the skies again. 

Day 1 (March 16- Wednesday)

0900 Queen Alia International Airport is a very huge terminal, clean and modern. Immigration was quick upon being asked what our professions were while presenting our Iqama IDs.

It was a cold windy morning. Every time the automatic exit doors at arrival open, we can't help but quiver. The types of clothes we wore under our abaya and even the clothes we brought with us in our trolleys weren't enough to protect us from the cold weather that welcomed us on our first day. We didn't have fixed plans on where to stay and though we had list of places to visit, we didn't know where to head first. With the use of the airport wifi, we decided to stay nearby Dead Sea on the first day. We booked a one night stay at Ramada Hotel. We then hired an airport taxi to take us to an hour drive to the hotel.

We arrived in the hotel ahead of the check in time but the staff was very nice to check us in early and gave us the room without having to wait long. Before resting, we had enjoyed the view from our room- Dead Sea from afar and the hotel's beautifully designed pool.

Five minute drive from the hotel, a shuttle took us to our first (and maybe last :D) Dea Sea experience. We expected the cold winds like what welcomed us in the airport that morning but the weather was different. It was a clear afternoon. The sun revealed itself and the panorama we witnessed upon getting off the bus just made that experience one of our most unforgettable travel moments. Yet, that doesn't even include floating around the saltiest body of water on earth and covering our bodies with Dead Sea mud. The feelings were just indescribable!

Day 2 (March 17- Thursday)

After a short breakfast at the hotel, we decided to go to the downtown area. We already had a place to stay in mind as suggested by Marintan. We asked the taxi driver to drop us off at Jordan Tower Hotel. We met Jehad, the friendly receptionist who speaks English very well and was very welcoming and friendly. (He also helped me figure out how to get my refund when I realized I was charged twice in my credit card. I had to communicate with him when I discovered my bills after coming back from days off.)

The hotel accommodates tourists- traveling solo, with their partners or in groups. There were times that we had to come down at the reception area to use the internet and so, I've seen so much people come and go. That's when I noticed we were the only Asians staying at the place. We've met a lady who asked us what our itineraries were. And she gave us some helpful tips.

That afternoon, we met our driver, Mohammad. He took us to see some beauty's of Jordan. First we went to Ajloun Castle sitting atop a hill. and to Jerash, an ancient city in Jordan famous for its Roman ruins. While on the road, we enjoyed our trip to those places with great and wide natural views of the surroundings. Jordan is truly enriched with dramatic landscapes and amazing sights. And oh, I can't forget our driver. He made that journey at its best, too. He never ran out of things to say and share! :)

Mohammad took us to a restaurant named Artemis which served Mansaf, the national dish of Jordan. The taste is just perfect! Mansaf is made of lamb chunks boiled in yogurt sauce and served with bread and rice. The rice that came with it was also perfect. It wasn't plain and ordinary. It matched the taste of the meat. Adding more yogurt sauce to the lamb while eating every part of it was a taste I still couldn't believe. It was truly a taste to behold. :)

Here's the funny thing about dining there, though. After eating, a guy at his 30's went to our table. He said his name and introduced himself as the manager. He then looked at me and said that he really likes me and he wanted to take me out to dinner that day while reaching out to give me his calling card. And I was like... (oh, this is happening too fast) while I reached for his card and thanked him. :D I don't know where that calling card is now. Haha.

We rested for a few minutes back in the hotel. (Well that rest was actually to update our Swarm account for the places we've been that day and to upload new photos in Instagram :D) We then walked towards Rainbow Street in downtown. The area is known for its lively shisha bars and cafes at night for locals and visitors alike. I previously showed Lady a photo of a beautiful umbrella art showing set of umbrellas coloring the streets of Jabal Amman, off in Rainbow Street. On our way, we looked for that art and when we didn't find it, we started asking some locals on the streets. We didn't right away hear the answers but someone later on told us it had been ruined. We ended up having dinner at one of the restaurants there.

Day 3 (March 18- Friday)

At quarter to nine, we had breakfast at the hotel. We've seen people came to check in and people who were also about to leave to discover more treasures of the country just like we did.

We started to hit the road at nine for Wadi Rum.

It was a long drive, almost 5 hours. We were thinking it could have been 4 hours or less if the driver sped up a little bit. It was somehow a slow ride to the destination. And it took another 2 hours to reach our camp site through a 4x4 desert tour. That two hour drive honestly seemed boring but every time we stopped, there was something so fascinating to see. We saw the best lookouts in the desert. The dramatic landscapes and massive rock formations were something that will forever remain in our memories.

Once, we climbed a dune. We struggled in every step we took because we would sink and find our shoes covered by the red sand and we'd slide back down and we would take another step again to continue the climb. My white shoes transformed into a sandy red afterwards. :)

When we arrived at our camp sites, we were welcomed by a Bedouin. A Bedouin is a nomadic Arab but I don't think these Bedouins in Wadi Rum desert camps still move from one place to another. I'm thinking they are already inhabiting the area. I didn't get to ask, though.

We enjoyed our somehow modern camp site. There were a number of small tents and one big tent. The Bedouin showed us to our tent where we stayed for the night. It had two beds for my friend and I. It was made to protect us from the heat of the sun or the cold night. Actually, not really for the cold night because despite of our huge and thick blankets, we weren't able to sleep well trying to find a warm position. :D We woke up the following day laughing about our experiences and how we tried to stay silent despite our complains and how we finally survived it with the sun coming out again.

Tired from a day in the road, we simply relaxed and enjoyed the feeling of being isolated in a desert far from the city. We realized it was time to get up and enjoy the outside more when our camp guide started shouting for us to come out to climb some rocks in order to see the sunset. We saw one of the most stunning sunsets in our lives. Its colors seemed to extend to every horizon making everything more beautiful in front of our eyes.

We headed back to the camp with hungry tummies and the big tent was where we had dinner that night and breakfast the following day. Dinner was being prepared while the campers were inside the big tent. That's where we saw the rest of the other tourists.

Before dinner was served, everyone was called to go outside to see how our foods were prepared the Bedouin way. In a hole in the ground, that's where our dinner was being cooked. Underneath were meat, potatoes and other sort of vegetables. It was covered and the moment they opened the covering, we smelled the dishes in the air making our tummies grumble more.

After dinner, we tried looking up at the night sky through a telescope. Somebody showed us Saturn. It is a jewel and exquisite.

Day 4 (March 19- Saturday)

It was time to leave our camp and say goodbye to everyone to head up to our next stop, Petra, the red- rose city ("a name it gets from the wonderful color of the rock from which many of the city's structures were carved.")

We spent time discovering Petra through a horse ride and lots of hiking. We had less than a day but we made sure it turns out to be an incredible experience. Our guide made us climb rock mountains to reach to a high hill where we could see The Treasury from above. Seeing it through a different view from most of the tourists made us say it was all worth the climb. The Treasury is Petra's most magnificent facade. It is 40 meters high and beautifully decorated.

We had to walk down again to go back to where we left off and walked all the way to The Treasury itself to see its view from how most of the people were seeing it. It's amazing how this building which was believed to be constructed in the 1st Century BC stood still despite time.

Leading us back to the main entrance again, we walked through The Siq. "The Siq resulted to a natural splitting of the mountain and it is 1.2 kilometer long."

We left Petra temporarily exhausted but the times we spent there are memories that will live in our hearts, permanently. :)

We headed back to Amman and we asked our driver to drop us off a mall nearby our hostel. There we shopped for a few items and had dinner. We are supposed to leave Amman today but we couldn't get enough of the place, yet. We haven't been to all the other spots. Since we had an open ticket and looking at our flights back to Jeddah with Royal Jordanian, we didn't think the flight is full yet to leave on Sunday evening, so we took the opportunity to extend one more day.

Day 5 (March 20- Sunday)

This was our last day so we spent the whole time doing the city tour and to some more places outside the city.

We went to see the Roman ampitheater and the Citadel Hill of Amman with a gorgeous view of the city. We also went to the Bethany Beyond Jordan where Jesus was baptized. The guide showed us the Jordan river and the baptism site of Jesus. We went to visit Mount Nebo, a place where Moses was granted a view of the Promised Land. I felt excited and blessed being able to visit these Holy places mentioned in the Bible.

Since we still had time left before we needed to go to the airport, we bought some mud mask and had tea and shisha in one of the coffee shops in Madaba. We visited a church a walking distance from the cafe before finally heading to the airport.

I couldn't forget how my friend called me Miss Jordan. Haha! There were lots of instances where people would just come near me and ask a photo to be taken with them. :D Actually, mostly locals and a few tourists. :)

Having to visit Jordan- its city Amman and its all other beautiful places, Dead Sea, Wadi Rum and Petra is one of the most beautiful travel adventures I ever did in my life. It was a vacation in a place where I felt like time stood still. It was a journey full of awe- inspiring sights, thrills and moments of joy. I'm a happy soul with travel's countless wonders!