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  Wanderlust Home and Pet Care

Jordan Part 2

February 27:  We get a new driver today for our tour of Amman. The King Abdullah Mosque is open for visitors. I put on a Moslem covering and we go inside to learn a little about the Islam religion. Our drive is a Christian. We then head for the Citadel and ruins of the Temple of Hercules built by the Greeks/Romans. I am continually amazed by all of the ancient ruins in Jordan. From the top of the hill where the ruins are located we can see the 2 Roman Theatres. The large theater can accommodate 7,000 people and has been restored. The driver than stops to get us some local food for lunch as we make our way to the airport. We change planes in Beirut Lebannon. The lady sitting next to me lives in Beirut. She says it is a beautiful city and we should come back to visit. The fighting is over and is now safe. By the way, they speak French is Beirut. The town look very modern from the air. We arrive to Cyprus without any problems.

February 26: Brother #2 gets lost because of a detour - not fun. The castles we visit were built by the Caliphs during the Ummayyad period, the 8th Century AD and the black castle built during the late 1 Century AD during the late roman period. Some are decorated with fine mosaics, frescoes, stone and stucco carvings and illustrations. They stand as silent and impressive evidence of Jordan’s rich history.

Qasr al-Mushatta is the largest and most richly decorated Ummayyad castle in Jordan. It’s a large, square fortress, surrounded by walls with circular towers on every side. It was thought to be an Inn along the caravan route.  Qusayr Amra Castle was placed by UNESCO on its World Heritage List. Its interior walls and ceilings are covered with lively frescoes and several of its rooms are paved with colorful mosaics. It also had a roman bath which brought in water from a river that no longer exists. Qasr al-Azraq is built in black basalt and has been in continuous use since Roman times. During the Arab Revolt it functioned as the headquarters of Lawrence of Arabia. I am going to have to research Lawrence of Arabia - all I remember is Peter O’Toole in the movie.

February 25:  We are picked up by brother #2. Shobak Castle was built by the Crusaders in 1115 and sacked by Moslem forces under Saladin in 1189. It looks similar to the Karak Castle we saw a few days ago.

The Dana village is on a cross roads for Bedouins trading yogurt and cheese. Currently, it sits in a Natural Reserve with many hiking and biking trails.

The last stop is Um er-Rasas a UNESCO site. It has not been excavated however, the historical society has placed a steel roof over a very impressive collection of mosaic floors found in the St. Stephen’s church built in 785. The town had 16 churches much of which is in rubble.

February 24: Today is a free day with lots of socializing.  We walk along the beach to see an Islam ruin, the Aqaba museum and the castle/fort.  In the distance you can see Elat Israel, the Gulf of Aqaba and the Sinai Peninsula. The town has duty free shops, alcohol shops and is just more cosmopolitan.  We meet lots of people ( I should say men) who wish to improve their English. Small children want to have their pictures taken. The afternoon is spent at the hotel. I take a short nap while Gary is watching a video about aquaponics.  He seems to think we will need that skill when we move to Equador - ha ha.

Gary had his own adventure today. We wanted some nuts. The hotel receptionist gave Gary a name of the store in Arabic and a map. He just walked in with 3 beers, almonds and pistachios nuts. It’s happy hour.

February 23:  Business here is incestuous. The tour organizer’s brother used his taxi to take us to Wadi Rum, a desert in southern Jordan. The father of the brothers had two wives and nine children by each wife for a total of 18 children. Can you imagine! We had a so so 1 hour jeep ride of the desert looking for the driver’s telephone he lost while he was driving us. The driver also wanted to chat with all of his friends which we didn’t allow. He wanted to extend our tour after he found his phone. I had enough of riding in the back of a truck and even with a hat I still was getting sunburned from the sun reflecting off of the sand.  The taxi driver cooked us a lovely lunch once we got back to the desert camp. We drove to Aqaba without any problems.

Internet at the Days Inn is even worse then in Petra - ugh.