Oh my gosh it's been yet another two weeks since my last blog...sorry!! Probably won't be able to update you all the way up to now until I get to Greece but I'll see what I can do. I think I last wrote in Dahab so I'll start from there.
Had a full day in Dahab to relax and shop and basically just bum around. Bought a few things...most notably a big shisha pipe which is so cool, I'm very excited...not too sure how I'll get it home safely yet but I'm sure it will all work out. We then went for a snorkel at the Blue Hole which was amazing, I'm really glad I gave snorkelling a second chance, I saw some absolutely incredible fish right around the coral, it was so cool! Had a cruisy night, watched a heavily censored version of James Bond Quantum of Solace at the boat pub (Toto's) - I'll need to watch it again when I get home as I have absolutely NO idea of half of what actually happened in the movie - they omit the sex and violence and without that there is nothing really left in a James Bond film. Woke early the next day as we were off to catch the ferry to Jordan.
We were given advanced warning on how long and boring the ferry crossing would be but it really could not prepare us. First we sat around for 2 hours plus while the guys in the ticket office printed us tickets with our names on them - a five minute task anywhere else. Then we moved a little futher into the port and waited...then waited some more...then found out we had missed the early ferry because it took us so long to get tickets...then we waited some more. Then we found out that the ferry we were supposed to be taking across was not going to be leaving until at least 11pm (we had been waiting since 9am)! So we waited some more..the place is just madness there are people and luggage absolutely everywhere, there doesn't seem to be any order of things at all. In the end we caught a faster ferry across (people only and we only just made it by a couple of minutes) while Johan stayed with the truck to bring over later. We finally arrived in Aqaba, Jordan at about 7pm so it was definitely a long boring day, to say the least. We were originally supposed to be camping out in the desert but because of the ferry debacle so we stayed in a crappy little hotel in Aqaba and had pies for dinner. It actually turned out to be a good thing that we didn't end up in the desert as a massive sandstorm passed through which would have been horrible...everything always happens for a reason!
Slept in a little the following morning as Johan didn't get in until around 7am. We had brekky in the parking lot, not so classy but a normalcy fro overlanding trips and then off to Wadi Rum. We went on a tour of Wadi Rum in the back of a ute which was freezing and bumpy but so fun. The desert scenery is just astounding. We ran up and down a red sand dune, so much fun, walked across a rock bridge, saw where Lawrence of Arabia stayed when he was passing through, saw some Nabatean rock paintings and just really took in the scenery, it was awesome. After that we headed to Madi Musa and Petra. It was so so cold in Wadi Musa, the wind was just cutting right through us. We layered up, had a buffet dinner and then went to bed early as we had a really big day ahead of us.
Off to Petra. We woke early to get a headstart on all the tour groups. met our guide and walked through to the Siq - the entry way into Petra. Bizarrely it is compulsory for people visiting Petra in tour groups to hire a horse to take you the 600m to the entrance - most of us declined this and walked but a couple decided to take the ride. The Siq was astounding, like a giant hallway but made of this incredible red rock. Because we had arrived so early there was hardly anyone around so we got some awesome photos of just us and the Siq. My first glance of the Treasury was absolutely spectacular - so beautiful and intricate. I took waaay too many photos. Our guide then took us around to see some funeray tombs, and the theatre and then we were on our own. Sarah, Gill, Andrea and I headed off one way, while Bec and Dave decided to do their own thing. First up on our agenda was heading up 850 steps to the Monastery. I decided to take a donkeyas I had never ridden one before and that was certainly an adventure. Bought a couple of ridiculously priced bracelets (still kicking myself as I hadn't quite got a handle on teh jordanian exchange rate yet which is times by 2.5 as opposed to the egyptian exchange rate which is divide by 3.5!!) Oh well...I do like them though so it's all good. Had a walk around the Monastery which is stunning (a massive building carved out of a mountain) and then looked at the views around the place. Walked back down, had another look around the tombs and then up our second climb of the day to the High Place of Sacrifice. The site itself wasn't so imporessive but the views were amazing!! You could really see just how far Petra extends and you would need several full days to see the whole thing! Had another look at the Treasury on the way out and then back to the hotel to prepare for the evening's activity - a Turkish bath. We arrived at Salome Turkish Baths, unsure of exactly what was going to happen. we put our togs on and were then told to sit on some benches while a man threw warm water at us (actually quite nice considering the freezing weather!). Next was a steam room which we sat in for ages until the sweat was just pouring off us - so lovely and cleansing. Then we had to lie on a bench with our feet in the air for a while - good for circulation and then were told to sit on a bench again. This fat hairy man (who so looked like a 70's porn star) came and took us one by one off to this other room where we where vigorously scrubbed (he showed us how much dead skin there was on our bodies - so gross) and then I was grabbed by a woman and taken off to the cleaning and massage room. She didn't speak a word of English just told me to lie down and then she yanked my togs pretty well off and scrubbed and cleaned and then massage me which was lovely but she was so rough, cracking my bones this way and that!! She then led me out to the showers and left me there. wasn't sure if I was supposed to wait for her or not but in the end I just had a shower (feeling so smooth and clean by this point) and then got dressed and had some tea in the waiting room. So nice...I was just so clean and refreshed after the last few weeks of feeling filthy all the time! Taxied back to the hotel, had dinner and then watched Indiana Jones and the Last Crusade (the most shown movie in Wadi Musa as it has a scene of the Treasury in Petra right near the end), played a drinking game and then off to bed.
Last day with the english girls...it was so sad to leave my roomy! We left early after breakfast to head to the Dead Sea, the lowest point on Earth. We floated around for a while and then covered ourselves in mud (see my facebook profile picture for proof) and then floated around some more. Accidentally swallowed some water and it was absolutely repulsive!!! The water was really stingy on our skin and the backs of my knees are still sore from it, probably a combination of the dead sea salt and my dry dry skin. Stopped for lunch at Mt Nebo, where Moses first saw the promised land (on a clear day you can see jerusalem but we weren't so lucky) and then off to Amman. Had a last dinner with the group (at a an irish pub, so much culture on this trip lol), said goodbye to Sarah, Andrea and Gill and then off to bed.
Okay, not enough time (or money) to keep writing but when i get to Athens I'll write all about my week in Syria - which was so incredible, loved every minute of it!! Off to dinner soon and then a good night's sleep before heading to Greece tomorrow. Hopefully the situation there willl have settled down otherwise I'll be spending a relaxing few days in my hotel room :) xxx