Dana Nature Reserve, Jordan

Hello loved ones! The internet tonight here in Kuwait is extremely slow; we’re talking three minutes to load a single page slow. I had uploaded these photos last night, but gave up due to poor internet. Looks like this post won’t have all the pictures I wanted it to, but I figure it’s better than not sharing anything!

There is so much I want to share about Jordan. It was just fantastic. I now know what people mean when they say that Kuwait is “Middle East Lite”. Jordan is full of so much hustle and bustle, a wider range of poverty, thousands upon thousands of years of history (I mean this is where MOSES is said to have died…), that it is difficult to compare to Kuwait. Kuwait is beautiful with it’s palm trees, sunshine every day, bright blue Arabian gulf, and it’s certainly a different kind of beauty.

We took a ‘nature & adventure’ approach in Jordan. We went on day hikes almost daily, and stayed in Bedouin run hotels as well as hostels on the outskirts of Petra. While it definitely stretched our comfort zones *cough*Emily*cough*, everyone had a BLAST!

Here is my mom and I as we are driving UP in elevation from the Dead Sea. Note the next picture, below, where I am sitting next to the “Sea Level” sign. These two photos were taken next to each other on the side of the road! Where my mom and I are standing is actually at sea level! The Dead Sea is much, much, lower than sea level, which is why it is so salty. (The water has nowhere to flow downwards from here, so it evaporates.)

Pretty interesting concept, huh? I am used to having my picture taken by “Continental Divide” signs, and here I am at sea level after driving UPHILL for forty-five minutes!

After we left the Dead Sea, we went to Karak. As Sean said, it was “watching archeology happen”. They have been building this city on the ruins of a castle for hundreds of years. The roads wind around in a labyrinth on a hill, just like the movie “Labyrinth” with David Bowie… kind of…

I showed my mom and Emily the wonders of “oud”, or Arabic perfume. I haggled this guy into quite a deal, and they purchased some souvenirs 🙂

My mom and I are Karak castle, which we returned to later in our trip. This was on our way to Dana Nature Reserve, so we didn’t have a lot of time to stop.

Emily loved the shopping opportunities in Jordan….

Mom looking out over the beautiful rolling hills of Karak…

So much different than Kuwait!

I think Sean’s second favorite thing (after Petra) was the castles. He loved getting to climb around wherever we wanted to. This castle (Karak), was around during the time of Salahadin and the Mamluks. That’s a loooong time ago!

A statue of the famous historical figure, Salahadin.

On our way to Dana Nature Reserve. Jordan was much more full of hills and valleys than we thought.

The next morning, we went on a hike in Dana Nature Reserve. This is “Wadi Dana” below us. We hiked down to the bottom and then back up out. Don’t ask me to reevaluate that decision…

It was really inspiring to see Jordan having a natural program in place to preserve their special places. We had to pay a fee to access it, just like the national parks back home.

Our winding trail at the bottom of Wadi Dana. Emily working on her face tan….

This is Dana Village. It is perched on the hillside of Wadi Dana. We stayed in this little village, run mostly by Bedouins, for three nights. It was a very interesting and relaxing experience. It was like stepping back in time sixty years.

They have renovated the old village of Dana so that people still live in the “ruins” or old buildings. Our hotel was actually in an old-fashioned building, complete with a thatched roof and mortar walls.

You can see Dana Village off to the right. One of the days during our stay at Dana, we hiked up to the rim of the canyon for some beautiful views. What you see in front of you, the columns, were ancient ruins for a spring that still runs there. This spring is the reason the village was built here. You could still see the spring running.

Can you spot terraced farming? Can you spot the beautiful slot canyon directly below? Paradise…

Our hotel in Dana Village. A little too rustic for Mom and Em, but we all had a great time! We cranked the space heater, sipped a little Dewar’s, and huddled close for heat 🙂

Here we are in the ‘majlis’, a traditional Arabic room of the house or village. The majlis is the welcoming area, where you sit, socialize, listen to music, and most importantly, drink the most delicious tea of your life. This is where we had breakfast and dinner. We also played cards here and saw live music played by a man from the village!

Here are my parents in the majlis, playing a game of cribbage and sipping tea. Life is good.

 

This is where my blogging stops for today, due to the internet. I am glad I got to share these pictures with you on our stay in Dana, next on the line-up in Shobak castle, and then on to Petra!

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