And Moses went up from the plains of Moab unto the mountain of Nebo, to the top of Pisgah, that is over against Jericho. And the LORD showed him all the land of Gilead, unto Dan, And all Naphtali, and the land of Ephraim, and Manasseh, and all the land of Judah, unto the utmost sea, And the south, and the plain of the valley of Jericho, the city of palm trees, unto Zoar.
Turns out Mt Nebo is in Jordan so went went and visited it and looked out, like Moses on the promised land. However it was a little bit hazy so we probably didn’t get the view Moses did. Apparently on a clear day you can see Jerusalem in the distance.
Anyway to get to Amman to see all of this we first had to get a bus from Petra, we wandered down to the bus station not really expecting much, but behold! a bus! and it was going to Amman, now! amazing! we jumped on and headed north. Somehow we were the only ones with luggage and everyone gave us dirty looks as our packs took up the aisle, but really there was nowhere else to put them! The landscape was, as usual, dry and brown with Bedouin tents along the road. We reached Amman after about 4 hours and a taxi was waiting for us from the hotel which we had called ahead for. Amman, was a big sprawling city. It looked a lot more modern than Egypt and lots less women in head scarves and generally a lot more women just around it the streets which was refreshing. All the men everywhere gets a bit much, even though most of the are nice, its just frustrating men everywhere all the time.
Our hotel was in downtown, the main area, a nice place with a lot of tea being offered and an over helpful manager who like to flirt with mum and have ‘special jokes’ all the time, again, just frustrating. We spent the afternoon sleeping and waiting for it to cool down before walking around to see the busy streets and the main mosque. Its kind of just big and busy, not really a beautiful city and doesn’t have to old middle eastern feel that other places do. We ended up taking a taxi out to this restaurant called the Blue Fig which could have come straight off the strip at home. All flash and full of women dressed normally, I actually felt a bit under dressed! We had some really good food and drinks before heading back to bed. Jordan is way more expensive than Egypt and we were burning through our money pretty quickly so we decided that we would cut our time short and get to the cheaper Syria. But first a few things to do.
We went on a day trip, out to Mt Nebo, where as explained Moses did some important things and eventually died there. Also to the dead sea! We paid a bit extra to use one of the flash resorts on the seaside with nice swimming pools and a restaurant. Although strangely no sun loungers, only plastic chairs to sit in. Anyway we first went down to the ocean, we had been advised to not shave or wax before swimming and cover any cuts as the high salt level means it stings. Unfortunately I was still recovering from bites which meant I had little sores everywhere. and it did sting but was bearable. The beach was actually really nice, like all lovely sand and things. Swimming in the water was the most bizarre experience, you really do just float like a cork.
You cant stand that easily because your legs just float to the surface and when you do go upright you just sort of bob at armpit level. It is really the most bizarre thing ever, and the water kind of feels thick and oily. So me and mum spent a bit of time laughing at ourselves and other tourists as we all tried to sink ourselves and float around and get photos. It was really weird and very cool and only when we went swimming in the proper swimming pools did I realise how much you do float in the dead sea as I jumped in expecting to keep floating but would keep sinking. There were mainly lots of non-western tourists from Iran and Saudi around so of course all men swimming in speedos while a handful of women in the water, some in full burkahs. After we had had enough we headed back into Amman for the night, had a nap and some more falafel…getting a little bit sick of falafel now!
The next day we had arranged a taxi to take us all the way to Damascus (so we thought) via a Roman ruins called Jerash. We got to Jerash all right with our taxi driver who spoke no english. Driving there was nice because we went through some areas that were actually green! amazing after weeks of desert!
So we spent about 3 hours wandering around this ridiculously impressive ruins, which I will put photos up of when I can! The ruins are of the whole centre of this town still with the amphitheatres and the town centre in this big circle with pillars up. Along the pillard streets there is still the original stones on the ground where you can see the groves worn into then from all the horse carriages, very very cool. There was just heaps of stuff to look at and easy to image the city back in the day. Apparently 90% of the city still needs to be excavated. So yeah it was just really impressive!
Back to the taxi we realised after awhile we were actually driving back to Amman, not to Damascus so a bit of confusion with the driver and eventually realised we were being put in a service taxi (a shared taxi which leave when full) to go to Damascus, not quite what had been promised but you just roll with things sometimes. We waited around for about 2 hours before we eventually took off heading north to Damascus!