JORDAN 1: 24.12.2003 - 01.01.2004
Translated by PROMT-Online-Translator
Route: Mafraq, Amman, Dead Sea, Aqaba
Distance: 531 Km
|Preface: Forced by the winter temperatures we
flee to the all year round warm area by the dead sea and in the Wadi
Araba. We cannot report here more, than that one swims in the dead
sea really on top of the water. More about jordan in our second
visit to Jordan.
|Still in southern syria on the 24th of december
we spontaneously decided and cycled in the direction of the Jordanian
border. Because by our bulk purchase our cash had strongly shrunk,
the last hotel in Syria was beyond our budget, and thus we arrived
about midday on the border. The border crossing and the visa were
fast and uncomplicated. The only tough one was a violent and cold
headwind and so that we reached Mafraq, the first bigger town in Jordan,
about 16:00 o'clock. We asked in a shop for car accessories for a
hotel. With a cup of tea they explained to us that about 2 streets
further a favorable hotel lay. 2 streets further down no hotel was
to be found, and after we had asked again in a chemist's shop and
with a taxi driverour suspicion confirmed itself : There was no hotel
in Mafraq. Now a good council was necessary once more. We went over
again back to the boys from the car accessories shop. Also they had
brought meanwhile in experience that there is no hotel any more. To
find a camp site would have become extremely difficult, because Mafraq
is surrounded only by bald clayey country. Then one of the boys got
an idea. He organised to us a few children who brought us to a nearby
Catholic church. There we "knocked" at hte dor and ask them
whether they would have a place for ourselves to stay over night .
Anyhow the whole situation reminded us of the Christmas history in
the Bible (Lukasevangelium). Also we were exactly like Maria and Josef
on the 24th of December far away of the home country at nightfall
in the middle of a town, frozen and did not know where to stay. However,
we had more luck. After a while came a nun who offered us to spend
the night in the staff room of the attached Catholic school. We were
very glad to have a firm roof over the head. We could not have had
it much better at the hotel. We had a small bath (only cold water),
a small kitchen, a big day room and in the church ran a cassette with
Christmas music which announced over loudspeakers to everybody that
Christmas was. Exactly how like at home, the Christmas stress started
now: Laundry wash, washing us and prepare everything for a "comfortable"
feast. Then at 20:15 o'clock everything was ready, and we had some
rest for a few minutes. Then at 21:00 o'clock we went to the Christmas
service. Though we have understood nothing, nevertheless, it was quite
a great experience for us to see here in Jordan in a Christian municipality
the Christmas service.
|Then as the next we came to Amman, the capital of Jordan.
As usual, we wanted to pitch a few kilometres before the town our
tent to be able to be the next morning fast in the centre. Unfortunately
Amman lies in a hilly, scanty plateau, so that it was absolutely impossible
to find a camp site. Before we real we haised it we landed with arriving
darkness in the suburbs of Amman. Because we discovered something
off the high street a few trees, we turned from this and stood all
at once before a German school (Georg Schneller school). We asked
the gatekeeper whether it here in the area is a possibility for camping.
He explained to our astonishment to us that they had on the school
area their own camping site and then wished us Merry Christmas. The
camping site had been presumably planned rather for bigger tents,
because it existed, actually, only of already built with mortar places
for group tents (fire brigade or boy scout). Nevertheless, we found
a little piece of meadow and built up our tent. Then the next morning
the bad awakening came. Then with the departure we were asked to pay
8€. For a "camping site" without sanitary facileties
(the toilet house was blocked off) in a country like Jordan in which
a chap hotel (hotel with warm shower) for 2 people would cost 10€,
quite expensive. The next wild camp site was then much nicer for us(see
|Then from Amman we cycled to the dead sea. In the late
afternoon we reached a hot spring. With pleasure we would have granted
our strained muscles something good and would have had a little bath
. However, unfortunately, everything was already populated from the
locals. Normally no problem, however, the men have had to bath in
long underpants, and the women might stretch at most their feet into
the warm water. We as a Europeans have there of course a little bit
different image of a nice bathing day. So we decided to build up our
tent some hundred metres farther down and to try our luck the next
morning very early.
|After meanwhile just 7 months we still have different
images about what means "early". Then very much to my joy
Nadine threw me at around 6:00 o'clock out of my sleepingbag. We had
luck and nobody was still to be seen at the hot spring. However, first
we went into the dead sea. We had to try of course whether one swims
in the dead sea really without swimming movements on top, and it works
really. .We are not maybe completely on the surface, because we choose
the spot where the hot spring went into the Dead Sea, but the water
was at least delightfully warm here.
|After our bath in the sea we went to the hot spring. We discovered
something off the "main jacuzzi" even a small waterfall.
With a temperature of 33 ° Celsius a marvellous pleasure.
|The large part of the Jordanian population are Muslim Arabs.
Already in Mafraq we had already got to know a Christian minority.
On the south shore of the dead sea (a big tomato cultivation area)
we met all at once a population of African origins and on a population
with some resemblance to Roma and Sinti. The obviously not Muslim
women carried their hair openly and the children came in to beg. Except
in Antakya (Turkey) we had experienced begging children only in Romania.
We wanted to give to one of the begging girls some bread what she
refused, however, with a haughty gesture. A little later we met a
big team of begging children.
|With these gigantic trucks the salt
from the dead sea is driven to Al Aqaba and is shipped from there
in the whole world. We always heard them honking just before their
wind carried away us. Several times it has blown even my cap from
|Then from the dead sea it went into the desert. While Nadine
was irritated by the wilderness a little bit I really enjoyed the
beauty of the nature hardly. I had to stop every few kilometres to
take a few photos. Also the first night was something quite special.
Shortly after sundown at once the wind calmed down. Although we camped
only just hundred metres beside the street we heard just every now
and then a car, but otherwise it was completely quiet. Every movement
and therefore every noise disturbed this silence. From the dead sea
to Aqaba this would have been with 190 km, actually, 3 normal days,
perfect to arrive there for New Years Eve. Hardly to believe, but
this time was the wind on our side, so that we stood after 2 days
suddenly in the afternoon before the gates of Al Aqaba, the port of
Jordan in the Red Sea.
|Our first meeting with a camel caravan in the Wadi Araba.
but the beduin didn´t want to be photographed together with
|After exactly 7 months we arrived for New Years
Eve at the Red Sea. To the celebration of the day we afforded a hotel
room; first since the start of the trip. We spent the afternoon in
the Internet cafe and with various purchasings. In the evening we
strolled through the streets. By his meaning as a port and by many
tourists is Aqaba, even after west-European meanings, a very rich
and very clean town. Above all we especially liked the nicely made
park in the main avenue and the bank promenade very. Together with
the Jordanians we sauntered thus by the lukewarm "summer night".
About 19:30 o'clock there were still more than 20 ° Celsius. Some
rich Israelis (Elat the Israeli port in the Red Sea lies only a few
kilometres away on the other side). Already about 20:30 o'clock they
lighted impressive, professional great fireworks. Many Jordanians
celebrated the turn of the year with a gigantic, honking Autocorso
till the early morning hours.
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