Posts Tagged ‘Red Sea’
Well, this week was quite a whirlwind; our group departed from SIT in Amman early on Monday morning and headed toward the south of Jordan. The first stop along the way was the Karak Castle, and it was beautiful. The week’s full agenda included stops at Karak Castle and Dana Biosphere Reserve, as well as Petra, Wadi Rum, and the port city of Aqaba on the Red Sea.
Personally, I feel like castles are similar to Roman ruins, in that they all sort of look exactly the same. I know, they’re not the same thing and each have their own history and story, and their surroundings may be different. But, to my naked eyes, everything unique about a castle is lost once you see another. After two or three, or more, castles all appear the same to me.
After Karak Castle, the bus drove us to the Dana Nature Reserve. The road was long, and the air was thick with humidity. Once we strolled all the way down the road along the mountainside, the camp with white, rounded tents was immediately in front of us. It was amazing- I have never seen so much greenery in Jordan. We went on a “hike,” as a group of
too many 46. The hike was a disappointment to Matt and I, who were recalled back to the group as we continued down the path. Now, we’ll never know where it leads to.
Dana was exciting for me, since I had been almost everywhere else we have gone to just a year ago.
Last year, during this weeklong excursion, roughly one new site per day, I learned so much about myself. My way of thinking and living changed. It was such a time of serenity and peace for me, and I was really able to think deeply about my life, and the people I know and those I love. I never thought that I would be back here, in Jordan, so soon. And I didn’t think that the natural solace and tranquility of these places would surround me again.
I sure am glad I was wrong, because Petra and Wadi Rum are incredible places, and I feel blessed to have experienced them both again. Seeing something you love so much a second time, after some time apart, gives you a deeper appreciation for it. That’s exactly how I feel about these places, and my time spent there with such good friends.
Well, everyone, that’s all I have for now. I’m on deadline today for my second story, so keep an eye out for that soon. And I’ll be writing more in-depth about my week in the south of Jordan, but for now there just isn’t time. I’ll leave you on the edge of your seat with anticipation for those posts, and some pictures.
This morning, after breakfast at the Bedouin camp at Wadi Rum, we sat down in the hut once again for a lecture by Dr. Raed Al-Tabini. He spoke to us about several key issues facing the Bedouin people and the greater Jordanian kingdom. He was particularly focused on the water shortage, which my colleague Rob has written a fantastic story about here.
After the discussion, which was more of a lecture, in the tent, the whole group boarded the bus for an hour-long ride down to the port city of Aqaba, the southern-most point in Jordan. Along the way, I took a nice nap at the back of the bus. When I woke up, I spotted signs that read “Aqaba Special Economic Zone Authority.” Moments later, I could see a bustling city and the Red Sea. What a pleasure it was to see water again! We stopped briefly at a hotel so that everyone could change out of their conservative, Amman-approved outfits into swimsuits.
We soon arrived at the port of Aqaba on the Red Sea. Just across the water was Israel. The group all hopped onto the boat and we began to drift farther into the Red Sea. The water was a vibrant blue, and I couldn’t wait to jump in.
As the boat got farther away from Aqaba, the Jordanian flags moving farther into the distance behind us, the snorkel gear appeared. We stopped in the Red Sea and I could see Egypt, Israel, Saudi Arabia and Jordan. I must say, these four corners are much cooler than the four corner states in the US; Colorado, New Mexico, Arizona and Utah.
Everyone geared up in snorkels and flippers, and one-by-one we jumped into the Red Sea. The fish were beautiful, striped black and white like zebras. After a few minutes, I realized how strong the current was and traded in my flippers and snorkel gear for a lifejacket. I felt like I was four years old, but I felt safer. Solid tradeoff, I think. I swam, or floated, in the Red Sea until we were all called aboard for lunch.
Katie and I locked hands and jumped back in off of the back of the boat. It turned into a great flipbook of pictures:
Michele, Erin and I shared the view with our feet dangling over the top deck and a glass of white wine in hand. Then the music started blaring out of the speakers- first Celine Dion (seriously?) and then more traditional Arabic music. Everyone joined in the dancing festivities. The music was short-lived. We all then leapt off of the top of the boat into the Sea again, three at a time.
Last call for jumping in, as we were preparing to head back to the port and the dreaded bus. All in all, it was a great day.