Jordan - Round The World Tour 2003 Day 99


Thursday 19th June

Having decided that we were going to leave Petra today, we met our driver for the day at the reception desk and set off up North along the King’s Highway route to Amman via the Dead Sea and several other tourist sights. At JD55 ($80), I had a niggling little feeling that we overpaid for the day-long tour through the country but the only other alternative was a three-hour or more public bus ride to Amman and then another bus from there to the Dead Sea and back. All of this would have been done with our backpacks in tow. Even though it would have been much cheaper to take the bus, we would not have seen much else other than the inside of the bus and it would have been an absolute pain carrying everything along.

Reluctantly, then, we resigned ourselves to the fact that we would have to fork out the $80 and did our best to make the most of the day. We stopped at four places altogether, including the Red Sea, and it was overall an interesting day of sightseeing. We were far from happy, however, with our driver. He kept switching off the air-conditioning and turning the volume of his radio up to an agonizing level. Each time he did this, I complained and asked him to turn it down – which he did. We went through this routine about a dozen times throughout the day. For the second half of the trip, he also decided to keep his window open and kept smoking. We were ultimately glad to get out of the taxi when we reached the hotel in Amman.

We spent about a half an hour floating around in the Dead Sea at a public area. It was quite fun and more than a little weird. I was floating with more of my body out of the water that would have been the case whilst wearing my fully inflated BCD. There was quite a strong Northerly current so we couldn’t really float for very long without disappearing up stream with the flow so we stayed very close to the shoreline and held on to the pebbles. There was no mud where we were so we weren’t able to coat our skin and benefit from the supposed healing properties of the stuff. We will have another opportunity to spend a few hours at the Dead Sea in a day or two and we will try to go to one of those places where the mud is present.

We chose the first hotel that we looked at here in Amman, which actually turned out to be a hostel. This choice was just as much to do with getting rid of our driver than anything else but the place is no less comfortable than many others that we’ve stayed in and it is relatively cheap at just JD6 ($9) per night. There is no on-suite bathroom but the room is quite spacious and I have a nice, powerful fan to keep the oppressive heat from being too unbearable.

As is the case with most hostels, there are signs posted everywhere advertising all sorts of things from laundry to sightseeing day trips. My niggling feeling from earlier turned out to be correct, as there is a King’s Highway trip from Amman to Petra via the Dead Sea (the same trip we did today but in reverse) for just JD15. I’m not sure if this is per person or not but even if it is, this is still half the price we paid for our trip today. Oh well – you win some, you lose some.

Amman is a very nice city. It bustles just like Cairo does but seems a little more organised and civilised than Cairo did. It wasn’t long after arriving that we decided to visit the neighbourhood KFC since we both had eaten very little during the day.

The guy at the front desk is very accommodating and extremely eager to do anything and everything to help ‘Mr. Chris’. He sent me to a very nearby Internet Café but their network configuration made it impossible for me to do anything worthwhile with the laptop so I gave up trying.

Sandy has not been feeling too well and has slowly deteriorated throughout the day. She now has a temperature of a hundred and a half and is also suffering from traveller’s diarrhoea. She started a course of Cipro this evening and so hopefully will start to feel better by tomorrow evening. I sympathise with her condition, having gone through the same agony myself just last week. We will stay in Amman and just rest for tomorrow to allow her time to recuperate a bit. Since I pushed back the date of our flight out of Amman to Sunday 22nd, this gives us a couple of solid days here to do with as we please.