Welcome to my very belated first post of 2012! This year has been full of a lot of ups and downs, and it’s only been eighteen days! I rang in the new year smiling and laughing in Petra and climbing around ancient ruins, three days later I bawled my eyes out saying good bye to my mother as she flew home. The Badgers lost the Rose Bowl, the Packers lost the playoffs. My Dad and sister joined me here in Kuwait for ten days of complete bliss, but then they too returned home to my utter sadness. Within this week alone, Sean dislocated his knee for the sixth time. THAT is a blog for another day. We experienced first-hand the ins and outs of the emergency rooms of Kuwait. We also walked into a maternity hospital asking if they did knees. They laughed in our faces, offered us a mint, and showed us the door.
I suppose it’s time we cue up some photos from our trip to Jordan! This post will be short, because it’s not quite the weekend yet and I’ve got a curfew. I’d been dying to post SOMETHING the last few days, so here are a few tidbits to whet your appetite 🙂
What a surreal experience to meet my family in the Middle East! Here we are in Madaba, my three favorite ladies in the world. This photo makes me feel all warm and fuzzy inside, with it’s blurry glow and smiling faces.
A Christmas tree in the Middle East? That’s right, Jordan has quite a few Christian towns.
Don’t even get me started on the Petra beer… it was delicious. We found a small cafe that had delicious sandwiches, shisha, Petra beer, and comfy couches. We stayed for hours, just catching up with each other!
On Christmas day we visited St. George’s cathedral in Madaba. It houses the world’s oldest map of the “transjordanian area”. (Sean made sure I was correct on that.)
Sean in St. George’s cathedral.
This is the world’s oldest map of the “transjordanian area”. You can see the Dead Sea, Egypt, Israel, all of it, if you look close enough. It was really interesting to see that we were so close to the location of the birth of Jesus on Christmas day.
My family in St. George’s cathedral.
We went on an interesting walking tour of Madaba, where Sean began to climb about all of the rooftops of the buildings, pretending he was in the videogame, Assassin’s Creed. Or, if you don’t get that reference, Aladdin.
My parents looking over Western Jordan. This was on our drive past Mt. Nebo, where Moses saw the promised land and then promptly died. We then made our way down a winding road to the Dead Sea. We must have dropped over three thousand feet! (Remember, the Dead Sea is 1,000 feet below sea level!)
Here we are at the Dead Sea. Don’t remind me they lost the playoffs.
We had lots of fun near the Dead Sea, the view was amazing! I couldn’t wait to swim in it when we got closer!
Our Christmas Day chalets on the Dead Sea. We rented two private chalets in Wadi Mujib. Wadi means a dried river bed that formed a valley.
One of our chalets. What a beautiful location!
The day after Christmas, Sean and I awoke with this view out of our chalet. Note the two hammocks… how relaxing! I had to pry Sean out of it when we had to leave.
As we made our way down to the Dead Sea for a morning dip, I was amazed at all of the salt encrusted on the rocks! There was literally inches upon inches of salt. We’re talking like 6 inches of crust in places. You could pick up massive chunks of salt.
I licked it, and wished I hadn’t. It’s even saltier than table salt. I accidentally splashed water in my eyes once and had to head for shore.
Mom and Sean walking to the sea. (Did you notice my MOM is going to jump in the water?!) The weather ended up turning out beautifully for our swim! Did you know Jordan was this mountainous?
Emily as she is about to plunge into the salty waters.
Sean and Dad, floating! They were in over their heads at this point, and they look like they’re reclining on lawn chairs!
Here we are, bobbing like corks. It made me feel like a balloon. Let me explain, this particular body of water is TWELVE TIMES SALTIER THAN THE OCEAN. You bob like a cork because there is so much salt in the water, you float to the top. It is the lowest place on earth; we are hundreds of feet below sea level. Imagine taking a glass of water, opening a container of salt, and pouring salt into the glass of water until it reaches a third of the way up the glass. Give it a stir, and you’ve got the salinity of the Dead Sea.
Pops and I post-swim. What a refreshing morning!
Emily’s favorite part of the day, breakfast. Actually, I am kidding. She got pretty sick of the traditional Middle Eastern breakfast; she swore she would never come near hummus and flat bread again!
A sampling of our daily breakfasts. While Jordan has its sprinkling of American eateries, when you are in the beautiful nature reserves, or basically outside of Amman (the capital city), you really eat authentic Jordanian food for most meals. I look forward to sharing more about the foods of Jordan in upcoming blogs!
So, there you have it, folks. Our first two days in Jordan. I could have stayed on the Dead Sea for three more days if I could. It was just so quite, relaxing, and beautiful.
Check back again for the rest of the adventure! We visit the ancient city of Petra, the castles of Karak and Shobak, the ruins of Jerash. We climbed hills, descended valleys, danced with Bedouins, and laughed more than I have laughed in months. See you soon!