Jordan, Middle East – part one
As one of seven wonders of this glorious, gritty world, Petra in the distinctly unique country of Jordan is a sight for sore, jet-lagged eyes. A destination for adventurers, any keen history buffs or the typically curious traveller, Petra truly is earth-shatteringly magnificent.
As a well-educated, but seriously uncultured creature I hate to that admit I am, I simply assumed Petra was the striking cave carving I had seen on the pages of Google (don’t you just hate millennials?). Oh, how wrong I was! Petra is an entire archaeological site spanning hundreds of kilometres, with any number of tombs, caves and temples to explore and soak up. The most famous of which, being the Treasury – as seen below (and on Google, duh).
While our adventures in Jordan were not confined to Petra, our largest draw card was laying our greedy eyes upon the rich red carvings. We opted to DIY it, hiring a sexy little 4WD at the airport, praying to Obama that our Jordanian sim cards would suffice with directional commands and hitting the road, Jack.
With a journey clocking in at just 3 and a half hours ahead of us, we took our sweet time. Stopping at roadside shops, buying stunning homemade rugs, traditional wooly jackets and a Mars Bar or two for the ride, the beauty of Jordan was not lost on us.
A pit stop at a serene, mysterious and bloody hot Ma’in Hot Springs is well worth the trouble. A holiday resort, visitors have access to a lovely warm spring for a small fee at the gate. Have a relaxing dip in the hot springs, test your tough with a walk through the piping hot waterfalls and let the warm water wash away your sins.
The romance of driving down the Kings Highway with Israel on one side and the striking Jordanian desert on the other, all but lured us in. While not the quickest route, it led us to a worthy pit stop at the Dead Sea. For any similarly minded, uncultured critters out there, the Dead Sea separates the conflicting nations of Jordan and Israel. A salt lake whose surface is nearly 450m below sea level.
We ended up channelling our inner Russell Coight and off-roaded to a secluded beach point along the highway. One of the more magical moments of our trip and certainly a memorable one. Stepping out of our already trashed rental car, stretching our cramping legs and soaking up the serene pebbled beach was pretty dang epic.
The water is said to mystically aid with skin conditions, acne, circulation and reducing inflammation. What is more mystical to my simple self is that you float in this water! The salt concentrate in this big, ol’ pond means you can’t deep dive or even stand easily in this water. Immerse yourself in the clear water and watch in delight as your legs are lifted from under you.
Bloody terrific for any lazy, incapable swimmers such as myself. It has an incredible oily, salty appearance that will leave your towels and clothes sodden in grease and grime – beware! Also beware of speed limits! I had a wonderfully challenging chat to a few roadside cops who issued me with a $60 AUD speeding ticket for ignorantly assuming speed limits mattered not in the middle of the desert – what a dingus.
Stopping in civilisation and picking up a few local snacks was one of our better moves. Aside from enjoying the gastronomic delights of tomato flavoured potato chips and some scrummy pomegranate juices, our cravings even helped us make a few Facebook friends for life (fucking millennials).
As we wove down to the Dead Sea, we just so happened to stumble across two of Jordan’s finest sharing a shisha and a shit talk roadside. On a wonderful whim we pulled over and spent a memorable half hour exchanging our snacks for homemade olive oil, a puff of shisha and a linguistically challenged conversation overlooking a shimmering Dead Sea. Dreamy.