Greetings from Amman!
Left Damascus this morning and drove to Bosra - a World Heritage site - originally a Bronze Age settlement - it came into the Seleucid empire - then the Nabateans (of Petra-fame) made it their capital - then the Romans took over - the theatre, that - for once - lives up to the billing in the guide books - is very impressive. The theatre was built in the early 2nd century AD by the Romans - after the decline of the Roman empire the city was extended by the Umayyad - the folks who gave us Aanjar and then the Ayyubid built a fortress around the Roman theatre.
Like the Crac des Chevaliers, this is another monument where a torch would come in handy as you explore the dark recesses of the ruins & invariably trip'n'fall over unseen steps....
After that it was off to Deraa - a very lively, bustling border city. Getting out of Syria cost SP500 this time and was pretty quick as it wasn't very busy. The Jordanian side took a bit longer as they thoroughly check the vehicles, documents & luggage. I also had to get a visa - which was another speedy process & cost 10 Dinar (about 10 pounds - this Dinar seems to be a very strong currency) (i made the mistake of changing too many dollars in Damascus last night & so had about 50 dollars-worth of Syrian Pounds to change - and with an exchange rate of nought-pence ha'penny it was a dumb move) (actually 0.4 SP to the Dinar) (the dollar is 0.68) (eek!).
Anyway - au-revoir Syria - what a fabulous country - such riches in ancient sites - teeming with history and friendly people - always felt safe wandering around. Lots of litter, though - for anyone who regards England as the litter-capital of the world - it isn't - although it is the litter-capital of Europe by a Swedish mile (a Swedish mile is 7 miles - not sure how long a country mile is) - anyway, Syria - sadly - is the undisputed champion of litter.
So one thing you notice pretty quickly about Jordan is that there is much less litter - relatively clean & tidy. You also notice the tree-planting - the government has had a programme in place for several years now of planting around 250,000 trees annually in a bid to stop "desertification" and restore the natural tree cover...
Driving seems much more orderly & less frenetic - this might have something to do with there being traffic police every 5km or so - with radar - who routinely pull cars over to check documents.....
Anyway - on to Jerash - a huge Roman site with theatres & collonades and a half-hearted museum. It is a big site and masses to see - but in the searing heat it can be quite tiring............. - i'll add some descriptions of Jerash as it is quite splendid.....
Then on to Amman - where i stayed at the Toledo Hotel - which was terrific - very friendly & had a very nice, big room..