The end of the holiday and back on the road. We were up for a 7:30 breakfast and 8:00 Taxi to Nuwebia.
Plan was to go Petra via ferry from Nuwebia to Aqaba (we needed to miss out Israel to ensure we are allowed into Syria). I wanted to go back to Cairo as the FCO travel restrictions had now been lifted but the rest of the group revolted and said stick to the original plan. I relented.
First part of the trip went well - an hour long ride to the port of Nuwebia. The ticket office there was typical chaos - we finally managed to get tickets at the extortionate price of $60US plus $ 10 departure tax. What time does the ferry go? Some time before noon was the reply.
We ambled over to the port, through security. We found a queue for immigration and eventually got through that. We were then in a vast hall that looked like a refugee camp - people lying about everywhere. We were shown to the family area (95% of passengers were male). The hall slowly began to get warmer and warmer. !2:00 came and went - another 5 minutes was the response to when will we start boarding. Eventually at 14:45 we were ushered onto the oldest bus imaginable and taken to the boat. We went through 2 passport checks and one ticket check before getting onto the boat deck. There we had to go to Jordan immigration who took our passports, gave us a bit of paper and said get them back with visa in Aqaba.
We were getting peckish so we tried the on board catering - basic chicken, rice and beans. We had a look round the boat and realised how slowly the boarding process was - eventually we got underway just after 18:00 - 9 hours after we arrived. The boat itself wasn't too bad - an old Danish boat we think - but it seemed to crawl along. It eventually docked just after 22:00 - 4 hours to do about 30 miles. At this point we realised we were not going to make Petra so needed to find a hotel in Aqaba.
The disembarkation process was equally shambolic but we got shown onto a bus for women, invalids and foreigners. This took us to immigration. We found an immigration policeman and asked where we might get our passports (expecting long delays and more confusion). He gave a broad grin and produced them from behind his back. We couldn't believe how lucky we were to find our passports so easily.
After clearing customs (whisked to the front of the queue but still having to wait 10 minutes for the x-ray machines to warm up!), we found our way out, hailed a taxi who located an ATM for us and on to our hotel.
We all collapsed into our rooms at midnight - it was all their own fault I muttered - should have gone to Cairo!