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The Joy of Jordan ||| October 2014

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Jordan was never on our “to-travel” List for 2014 or even 2015 but during one hot & sunny morning of June 2014 – 25th to be precise when I was dreaming about our upcoming Kenya Trip, a thought came to my mind! “What we would be doing in the October Eid Break?” And spending the 5-days long break sitting at home was not even remotely in my mind! Immediately I opened the Sky Scanner Website and started looking for some cheap flight options and Amman Flight Tickets were the cheapest at that time!

I called Bandita, told her about the plan and as always & as expected she was all gung-ho for it! So without wasting any further time I booked our flight tickets and started the planning and as some of you already know my “excel sheet” process which I always follow as a regimen before starting any trip planning!

And then the fun part began; deciding the itinerary, the places to visit, the hotels, the restaurants and most importantly – to self-drive a rental car or book a tour operator! After all the deliberations, discussions with Bandita, Abhishek Tripathi (Jordan Expert), one of my Jordanian work colleagues – Muzaffar and my favourite travel partner – Trip Advisor the itinerary was finalized and frozen!

I chose Almajali Tours as our Tour Partner after getting quotes from 7 different vendors all selected through TA and it was a superb decision I made as they planned our trip so superbly!

We travelled to Kenya for our Jungle safari, came back on 1 August 2014 and then the 2-months long wait for Jordan began which for me is always an exciting time as I research & read a lot about the country we are visiting next!

This was Abhay’s 2nd International Trip and after his kick-ass performance in Kenya we were very sure that he would pass the Jordan Test with flying colours and boy he did that! He was such a superb travel partner once again! He threw no 9-months old tantrums, always used to wake up early morning with a wide grin on his face and ate everything which was offered to him! He loved Jordan the same way as we did!

The trip started with a little hiccup but finished without any mishap and was such a fabulous one, much-much beyond our expectations all because of one man – Mr. Ahmed Almajali who was our Travel Friend, Philosopher & Guide all rolled into one and his hospitality blew us like nobody else can! He is such a genuine, lovable & a wonderful human being that I can safely say that such people are almost impossible to find these days! And to make things even better his family is as awesome as him! They went out of their way to make our trip so special that it would be impossible to describe in words! I can just try…

Day 1 | Friday 3rd October 2014 | Kuwait – Amman – Wadi Rum Desert Area

I had “thought” that I had set the alarm for 3:30 AM but woke up at 4:21 AM thanks to Abhay waking up! Checked my Mobile phone and sat up howling “Bandita, wake up, we are late”! She sat up and was frozen for some time before gathering her senses and running to get ready! Those were really very anxious moments as my Office colleague Murtuza was supposed to pick us up at 4:30 AM and drop us at the Airport! Thankfully we had packed our bags in the night and needed just 20 minutes to get ready! All this rush because it was the Eid weekend and going by our past experiences the Airport is usually very crazy (we waited in the queue for over an hour during our Kuwait-Kenya flight Boarding Pass process)! We reached the Airport at 5 AM to board our 7 AM flight expecting mad rush at the airport but thankfully & surprisingly there was no major rush & things were very calm & smooth! Coolly we finished all the processes and sat down to wait for the boarding!

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Then we got another scare when our pilot announced that the Baggage Management system had broken down and as a result there would be a delay of 45 minutes or so! All the passengers got worried as the majority were going on a vacation & the thought of spending a vacation with no luggage is damn scary indeed! With a prayer on everybody’s lips the flight took off after a 55 minutes delay but surprisingly landed 10 minutes before the scheduled arrival time at the Queen Alia International Airport at Amman, Jordan! I am sure that Jazeera Airways knows very well that their flights often fly late so they have factored that in their published flight times!

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A swanky Airport welcomed us & soon we were standing in the on-arrival Visa queue which was moving very slowly & painfully! The 2 guys manning the counter were whiling away time chatting amongst themselves while all of us were getting tired waiting! We finally got through after a 1-hour wait! Not before the Immigration officer asked the routine questions – “How many days in Jordan?”, “Where are you headed to now?”etc. and then the killer dialogue from him “I would give you only 1 week visa!” As if we wanted to over-stay! I had clearly told him that ours was just a 5-days trip! The Visa fees are 40 Jordanian Dinars per person and this fee was surprisingly doubled early this year especially considering the political situation is in a turmoil due to the Syrian Refugee crisis & has resulted in a sharp drop in the number of tourists arriving into Jordan! The logic of doubling up the Visa Fee in such tumultuous time just can’t get through me!

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Abhay soon got into the holiday mood and was observing the new country very intently! We quickly collected our luggage and headed towards the exit where the Star of this Trip was there to welcome us! And the first glimpse was when he recognized us without even holding our name board or me waving towards him! When I asked him later his intelligent reply was quite a good one “I knew you had an infant kid with you”!

Mr. Ahmed Almajali looks like a lost brother of our Bollywood Maverick Feroze Khan and it was so shocking for us that nobody had told this to him when we told him the same; the resemblance is so striking! Our initial connection got even stronger when he looked & smiled towards Abhay and he gave such a wide grin! Normally he takes time to get friendly with people; this was the very first time that he instantaneously gave a stranger such a big grin!

We started our trip in the comfortable Silver Colour 2014 Model Hyundai Sonata getting to know Jordan in detail. Ahmed Uncle is such a warm, hospitable and kind person that our connection was so electric just few minutes into our trip! And then he told us that his wife (whom he lovingly calls Bush-Bush) Bushra had packed lunch for us! It just kept getting better! We stopped at 12:30 PM for our Highway-Side Lunch & when he opened the Lunch pack the aroma just blew us up! Fresh Grilled Chicken with Khubuz, Salad and Potatoes! What else 2 famished souls could ask for! We gobbled up the super-delicious chicken like nobody’s business & all this while Abhay also had his share of Bread & Potatoes! We stopped only when we were full to the brim and started our drive again!

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Enroute we stopped at a Petrol Pump where I saw a Smoking Booth just 30-40 metres away from the Fuel Bunk! It was a shocking site indeed! And even worse was a man nonchalantly smoking right next to our car while diesel was being filled! Talk about foolish bravery!

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Our first Jordan destination was the world-famous Wadi Rum Desert where we had planned to stay overnight in a Desert Camp Bedouin Directions which I had pre-booked. Wadi Rum is also known as The Valley of the Moon due to the moon type terrain (which also reminded us of the barren Ladakh landscape) and is a valley cut into the sandstone and granite rock in South Jordan. Wadi means Valley and Rum means ‘high’ or ‘elevated’. It is a beautiful desert with gorgeous landscape inhabited by Bedouins & is wildly famous amongst all Jordan Tourists. You can get more information at http://wadirum.jo/

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Welcome to Wadi Rum

We were welcomed by our Bedouin Tour Guide Suleiman who was to take us for our 3-hours Drive through the Wadi. We shifted some of our stuff to his old Jeep & started our desert drive. Ahmed uncle moved to the tent to catch a short & richly deserved nap! We were to visit various stops & viewpoints which were timed perfectly by Suleiman!

Our first stop was the Spring Water Point where spring water flows down from a gorge & camels throng this place to have their share! And we were lucky as the moment we stopped our Jeep there was a group of 12 camels walking towards us in a perfect straight line! Talk about water-drinking discipline! They enjoyed the fresh water while we enjoyed the views around us!

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Our next stop was “Desert Cliff Point” where we enjoyed some hot ‘Kahwa’ in a small tent with some American Tourists. We were quite exhausted after our early morning flight and the 3 hours’ drive but the drop-dead-gorgeous views & the Kahwa freshened and readied us for the long evening & night ahead!

We then moved towards the point where the famous movie “Lawrence of Arabia” was shot and this was the first time when Wadi Rum got the world’s attention! There was a short trek which I did to enjoy some narrow gorges while Bandita & Abhay rested in the Jeep. This place is also known as Lawrence’s spring where Lawrence of Arabia reputedly washed during the Arab Revolt. It also had some rock inscriptions on some of the rocks.

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Wadi Rum also has some natural bridge formations which have been created due to wind & water movements. There are 2 famous ones and we visited both of them. The first one is a not that high so we trekked to the top with Abhay in our arms! Suleiman clicked some real nice pics for us & the views of the Wadi were breathtaking.

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As sunset was approaching, the terrain changed from the desert brown to a golden rich hue which was making the views even more spectacular! We then moved to the Bigger Bridge which was very high so we dropped the idea of trekking to the top & decided to enjoy our time from the ground level itself! There were a lot of people here, some trekking up and the rest of them like us! Abhay was blissfully sleeping so we got the “couple” pics clicked for a change!

Our next stop was the Sand Dune stop where Abhay had the maximum fun! He played in the sand for the first time and tried his best to hold it in his fingers! It was so much fun seeing him explore this new terrain on his own! We let him be like that and he sprayed himself with the sand as we didn’t want to disturb him in this exploration! There were 2 other drivers who got their musical instruments out & played some Bedouin songs while we enjoyed the peace of the desert!

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Our last stop of this tour was the Sunset Point where we spent a lot of time watching the sun going down, with the colors changing around us so vividly! There was a small hike here too & by now we had become quite experienced! Abhay was a good sport as always! We sat on the top-most rocks and just got lost in the sunset!

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We finally reached our Camp at 6:30 PM, our luggage was already there in our tent. We quickly changed & freshened up to get ready for the long & one of the most memorable nights ahead! We sat down to some Live Bedouin music, Bonfire, Hot Kahwa and Sheesha (which was specially readied for Bandita) before the Dinner Spectacle began!

We were told by Ahmed uncle that if the number of guests in a Tent is 15+ plus then the cook prepares the special “under the sand” BBQ and luckily there were 23 guests that night! So we were in for a special treat! At 8 PM they opened the BBQ Tray from below the Sand & we were all treated to delicious naturally grilled Chicken! I gobbled up some 7-8 pieces with rice, khubuz & Tzatziki and as often is the case “overate”! Bandita had a big share too while Abhay enjoyed his rice & khubuz too!

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And the fun times began! Slowly all the other guests moved into their tents to sleep (which was a big surprise to us as this wasn’t a place to sleep that early!) We just lounged outside near the Bonfire enjoying the moonlit-night with Sheesha and fresh Kahwa which was being brewed continuously! The night was so beautiful with pin drop silence & the moon light made the scene even more surreal!

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Abhay like a good boy slept in the open & we went for a late-night desert walk! But soon he had enough of the good-boy image & wanted badly to come out of it! Just 15 minutes into our planned “long” walk under the stars we heard the echo of him crying and ran backwards towards the camp! He was in the lap of Ahmed Uncle who was trying his best to soothe him! Within seconds of coming into the arms of Bandita he slept again! It was almost magical…

I wanted to sleep in the open but it was getting very chilly and I didn’t want to take any risk on the 1st night of our trip as if I would have fallen sick due to the cold the entire trip would have been jeopardized! So playing safe we finally called it a night at 12:30 AM and moved into our tent in absolute darkness! We had a blissful sleep after a long but absolutely fun 1st day of our vacation! Jordan was surely going to delight us; we were very sure about that!

Day 2 | Saturday 3rd October 2014 | Wadi Rum – Petra

We woke up to a nice & sunny morning, got ready, packed our stuff and went to the dining Tent to have our Breakfast which was a very humble one but good enough to start another long day!

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And I had a Black Coffee for the first time! Simply because there was no milk available & surprisingly liked it! We bid goodbye to our awesome & secluded tent and went towards the main gate of Wadi Rum where our car was parked. Suleiman and the Egyptian Cook were with us, we transferred our luggage once again and started the drive through the Mountains towards the next agenda of our trip – Petra which is the signature spectacle of Jordan!

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We stopped at a View Point on the main road to click some pics and have a short break before staring the final leg towards Petra! We reached Petra Moon Hotel at 11:30 AM where we were up for a surprise as we were told that we can’t check-in before 2 PM as per their rules but the ever-so-awesome Majali Uncle came to our rescue, he threw his weight around, negotiated hard & got us checked-in even before 12 PM! And in the process got us the best view room on the 1st floor! Watching him negotiating with the Hotel Manager was a learning experience for me as I am pretty lousy in such situations!

We had packed grilled chicken, hummus and some fresh khubuz on the way to have it in our room plus some of Bushra Aunty’s magical chicken from the last day was also remaining! And the choice was very clear for us! We devoured Aunty’s chicken and finished even the last shred of meat on the bones!

All what we wanted was a couple of hours sleep for us to get fresh & ready for the Petra Walkathon & that is what we did! We woke up at 3 PM, quickly got ready and left for Petra Gate which was just 50-odd metres away from our Hotel. Perfect location as they say!

We bought the entry tickets & booked a guide which was much needed as we had limited time to spend but wanted to maximize our knowledge about Petra.

Petra is a city established possibly as early as 312 BC as the capital city of the Nabataeans and is the pride of Jordan! The site remained unknown until 1812, when it was introduced by Swiss explorer Johann Ludwig Burckhardt and rest as they say is history! It is also known as “Rose City” due to the colour of the rocks…UNESCO has described it as “one of the most precious cultural properties of man’s cultural heritage” {Information from Wikipedia}.

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We started our long walk with Nayaf, our guide towards the grand & ancient city of Petra passing through the streets, tombs and inscriptions on the way to the grandest part of Petra – The Treasury! Enroute we saw many magnificent pieces of the Petra Architecture – the mind boggling water lanes, the tombs of commoners, some carvings which have got withered away due to the elements and also the well-designed road system.

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But the real magic unfolded infront of our eyes when we saw the Treasury; I had seen many pics but they just can’t compare when the magnanimity appears LIVE infront of you! The gigantic carving, the mythical history and huge crowds! I was spellbound for some minutes just gazing at the brilliance!

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Nayaf told us the history and background of the Treasury and we had lots of interesting discussions with him; he was an archaeology graduate which made our talks even more worthwhile! All this while Abhay was enjoying in his baby carrier looking at the crowds around us and generally having a good time! It was so awesome to witness the brilliance of Petra & also to see the 2nd “New 7 Wonder of the World” after Taj Mahal! Hope we can see some others as well in the near future…

The funniest incident here was when we saw 2 sisters taking innumerable selfies of them with the Treasury in the background but the pitiable bit was that they were more interested in taking selfies than enjoying the view! And this we see at so many places these days; people have minimal interest in the actual place but more interest in taking photographs! I am sure you would have witnesses the same many a times too!

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We sat down at a lovely shop and had Fresh orange Juice here and the name of the shop was so incredible! “Why not Shop”

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We moved on to witness some other parts of Petra before our stamina gave up and we decided to head back at our own pace; Nayaf bid us goodbye & wished us safe travels for the rest of our trip! We walked back slowly trudging away and as we had to walk uphill on our way back so I wore the carrier! It was great fun seeing his expressions while I carried him! Once again he never got cranky and was smiling all the way through!

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We witnessed another gorgeous sunset and the Moon also gave a view! The Petra views were very surreal in that fading light!

We reached our hotel at 6:30 PM and I sat down at our balcony and enjoyed the beautiful view sipping hot coffee while Abhay was monkeying around in our room! That coffee was very relaxing after another tiring but a very worthwhile day.

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Thanks to Almajali Tours, our Hotel had included Dinner as part of the stay which was such a blessing as were in no mood to walk outside as the nearest restaurant was some half a km away and that too uphill! The Buffet Dinner was really awesome and we definitely deserved such a meal! I had pit-loads of Pasta and Grilled Fish! After a hearty meal we had a short walk around the hotel and then went back to our room for another exhausted sleep!

The 2nd day of our Trip also went perfectly as per our plans & we thoroughly enjoyed the long drive, hospitality of Ahmed Uncle and the magical Petra! Another fruitful day was waiting for us!

Day 3 | Sunday 4th October 2014 | Petra – Ma’in Hot Springs – Dead Sea – Madaba

We started the day relatively late (as per our vacation standards!) at 7:30 AM after having breakfast at the Hotel through the Mountains to the Ma’in Hot Springs which was suggested by my Jordanian colleague Mohammed Ibrahim; big thanks to him for suggesting this hidden gem which isn’t a part of any Jordan itinerary! The Roads were getting better & better!

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Our first stop was the Dana Village Viewpoint as suggested by Ahmed Uncle which has a lot of Historical Significance; the weather was perfect – nice, windy & sunny! We clicked a lot of pics before starting towards our next stop – to get some fresh Khubuz! The Bakery had just opened and they were baking 2 types of breads which we bought! And then another “first” happened! Ahmed Uncle had brought Baba Ghanush cooked by Bushra Aunty which I don’t like much but I was hungry (as always!) so I had no other option than to enjoy the hot Khubuz with plain Yoghurt which I have never had before! And surprisingly it tasted very good too! Another food item ticked off my list!

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We passed through beautiful roads with minimal traffic till we reached the first Dead Sea View Point where we stopped to enjoy the pristine blue view of the Sea! After reading through my childhood about Dead Sea being the Lowest Point on Earth this was a very special moment for me and it fealt really great to see the “famous” Sea infront of us! I just could not wait to dive in!

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But it was to come later as our first “real” destination was the Ma’in Hot Springs where we reached at 11:30 AM, quickly changed and headed straight towards the waterfall. The water was surprisingly quite hot but felt so relieving! And the waterfall reminded me of Tiger Falls at Chakrata for the sound it was making though it was nowhere as high compared to the Tiger Falls. But for Abhay the main natural pool water was very hot so we moved to the much cooler and smaller pool area where he had his first such experience and simply had a ball splashing all the way through! We were a bit skeptical about whether he would feel comfortable or not but just like his father he just loved it!

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And then Bandita also joined in providing me an opportunity to move to the bigger waterfall pool where people told me to stand in a way so that the water from fall splashes straight on my back; they said that it relieves back pains! And that’s what I did – standing quite awkwardly but then it was quite relieving!

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After some 2 hours we got out of the water to get ready for the biggest treat so far of the Trip! While we were having the watery fun, Ahmed Uncle was busy cooking Maqluba for us – which is an Arabic speciality! It is a traditional Arab dish The dish includes meat, rice, and fried vegetables placed in a pot, which is then flipped upside down when served, hence the name Maqluba, which translates literally as “upside-down”. Bushra Aunty had made the most critical preparations & Uncle just had to cook the final product; as always he found his way through and got access to a kitchen! When he asked me to hold the pan in the car you can imagine how tough it was for me to control but somehow I managed! We spent some time to find a shady spot to stop our car and have our “on the road” lunch but we couldn’t find any place! All this while I was getting very impatient just to gorge into the pan with my bare hands so I told uncle to stop ASAP! But then he is a process-driven man (unlike me) and stopped only when a particular spot cleared his criteria! Then he decided to make a salad from Peppers, Tomatoes, Onion and lemon! But I had enough of the wait and decided to take matter into my hands so the pan was opened, a spoon came out & I started to devour the rice which were heavenly to say the least; I just could not wait any further for the “upside down” act to take place! And when it happened we felt so blessed to enjoy such a special dish cooked specially for us with the Dead Sea view infront of us and that too in the middle of nowhere! I just can’t thank the most wonderful couple enough for that treat (don’t worry, more note of thanks would follow).

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After this very heavy & special lunch I just felt like dozing off and not getting up till the next day but then we had other important agenda items (than sleeping) to take care of which was the critically acclaimed & the world famous Dead Sea Float! With 34.2% salinity, Dead Sea is one of the world’s saltiest bodies of water, it has a density of 1.240 kg/L, which makes swimming similar to floating! We all have seen pics of people floating here and that’s what we were about to do next! We had never imagined that this experience would be such a big disappointment though!

The weather was very hot & sunny – almost 40 degrees and a lot of crowd was having a gala time! We had decided to go to the Public beach to save some money over the private 5-Star Hotel beaches which are damn expensive. Abhay didn’t go to the water as his skin is very delicate to handle the salt-laden water so he sat with Ahmed uncle on the shore while we entered the Sea with full excitement!

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The moment we hit the water it felt like we have entered a pool of Oil! The water is so salty & viscous that it doesn’t feel like water! Plus I had 2 minor bruises on my body so the salt was paining a lot! It just didn’t feel good neither to me nor for Bandita! The floating bit was a lot of fun though and experiencing that magical buoyancy without the drowning fear! But the salty water was too much to handle & both of us came out within 15 minutes. No wonder it is called the “dead” sea!

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We had a quick shower before heading to the pool for a long round of watery fun without the salt! And this time Abhay also joined us & he had a ball in his first “swimming pool” experience! He didn’t even cry once and was so fascinated with moving his hands & feet in the water! The tragedy of Dead Sea was well behind us & we had a wonderful 2 hours having fun in the pool! With the most extensive collection &

We got out, changed and then went for shopping the “Dead Sea” products! Lot of our friends had asked for the famous Dead Sea Mud, face masks and soaps so we went to the best quality shop with fixed prices – Dead Sea Treasures. We bought a lot of stuff from here including cosmetics & other gift items – magnets etc. And enjoyed Turkish Coffee too!

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Then we headed towards the city of Madaba for our Hotel but before that we got dinner packed for ourselves – Falafel Sandwiches, Hummus and Khubuz; the idea was to have a light dinner and also avoid going outside after checking-in as we just wanted to relax in our room. Our Hotel was named Mariam Hotel and was located in a quiet & peaceful neighbourhood of Madaba. Thanks to Majali Uncle we got a Pool View Room on the 4th floor with a large balcony!  We had a relaxed dinner in our room & slept early that night. End of another fun-filled and tiring day!

Day 4 | Monday 5th October 2014 | Madaba – Mt. Nebo – Jerash – Ajlun – Amman

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We started our day with a light breakfast at the rooftop restaurant of our Hotel, checked out and started the 1st leg of the day towards Mt Nebo which approximately 817 metres (2,680 ft) above sea level, mentioned in the Bible as the place where Moses was granted a view of the Promised Land. The view from the summit provides a panorama of the Holy Land and, to the north, a more limited one of the valley of the River Jordan. It is a very important place for Christians and the view was breathtaking. There is a small museum area where some excavations, ancient mosaics and the history of the Mountain is featured. It was definitely a good learning experience for us & the pleasant weather made it a good stop for us!

Our next stop was the ancient city of Jerash where Greco-Roman ruins are present. From the photographs I had seen it surely looked like a beautiful place and in spite of the very hot weather & harsh sunlight we had a wonderful time walking & exploring the ruins. Luckily for us Abhay also didn’t mind the heat & sunlight and was in his playful mood all the way through!

Extensive remains of an old city/township are there to explore including two large temples (dedicated to Zeus and Artemis, a unique oval Forum, Two theatres (the Large South Theatre and smaller North Theatre), two baths, and a complete circuit of city walls. We read through the history of this interesting place & imagined the life & times of the people who lived here sitting on the top of the city!

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After spending almost 2 hours we started the uphill drive towards the Ajlun Castle which stands atop Jabal Auf in north Jordan and was built by Izz al-Din Usama in AD 1184-1185. It provides a beautiful panoramic view of the mountains & the valley below. The trek to the topmost point is an easy one & thankfully the Sun was no more in its harsh mood and had got much milder! There is a small museum inside the Fort featuring many Murals and excavated items.

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We had a wonderful time at both Jerash & Ajlun exploring the rich history of Ancient Jordan plus both the sites are very well maintained which enhanced the overall experience for us! And the fact that Abhay was in a wonderful mood throughout the day made our experience even more special! He had a wonderful time with Majali Uncle playing with him all the time!

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We headed towards Amman in the evening to start the last part of our Trip! We went to the Old Downtown area to do some shopping too; I ordered customized sand bottles for kids from our friend circle & for Nandini-Samyukta, We also bought a Dish-Dasha for Abhay and bought sweets & cookies from the famous Habibah Sweets which is operating in Amman since 1948. We bought Kunafa and Barazek which were so damn delicious! We got them for our friends here and everybody loved them!

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We checked into our Hotel – The Heritage House in the evening after finishing all the tasks at 6 PM for our last night in Jordan. We rested for a bit before hitting the Rainbow Street – the most active & happening street of Amman and it was more rocking this particular time as it was the long Eid weekend!

The first agenda item was the Al Pasha Turkish Bath to have a relaxing & rejuvenating traditional Turkish Bath in a Hammam which has always been on top of my “to do” lists; this was my first opportunity and I lapped it up!

I had a wonderful 90 minutes of relaxation & fun there filled with very LOUD Turkish Music and it was perfect VFM too; 25 JOD or 10 KD for the 90 minutes! Enroute we had an interesting encounter! We asked a Police Guy about the route to the Turkish bath and he asked us “Indians?”, we said yes & pat came another question “IT Engineer?”! I said “No”, he was a bit disappointed as he thought every Indian is an IT Engineer! He could not help us with the route but still that conversation would always remain special!

I got back to the Hotel to have a walk down the street to have dinner at Ararat Armenian Restaurant which I had shortlisted through my TA Research; I had my first Armenian experience in Nicosia, Cyprus in August 2014 & I wanted to continue the tryst of this interesting cuisine!

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Even though the street outside was very loud & bustling the restaurant interiors had pin drop silence which was quite surprising & eerie at the same time plus we were the only guests when we entered!  The Menu Design was quite brilliant with all the dishes well explained & had pics too! We ordered Haigagan Salad – A very spicy (we were forewarned) salad of carrots, pepper, onions, cucumber, olives with lemon zest olive oil plus Patateslee Hav – Full Stuffed Cornish Hen stuff with spices & caramelized onions and Makanek – Minced Lamb kebabs filled with Herbs which tasted almost like our Indian Seekh kebabs! Fresh Khubuz was regularly served straight from the oven! The food was very very delicious plus it became a very interesting meal thanks to our long discussions with the food attendant with whom we discussed Bollywood, Jordan and also various traditions! His most memorable statement was “why are Indian movies unreal?” plus his favourite Indian movie was Amar Akbar Anthony which he grew up watching! After this wonderful meal we headed back to our hotel I had Ferrer Rocher Gelato from Gerard which also came strongly recommended!

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We went back to our hotel and had a nice & relaxed sleep with our soul and tummies full! The next day was to be our last day in Jordan and obviously we were a bit sad leaving this wonderful country!

Day 5| Tuesday 6th October 2014 | A Fun day in Amman & then flight back to Kuwait

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This was our last day in Jordan &we wanted to end our trip on a high! We woke up early, got ready and were off through a short walk through the now almost curfew like Rainbow Street to “The Bake House” for an American Breakfast which came highly recommended as the best breakfast joint in the Rainbow Street Area! And it was damn popular considering it was choc-a-bloc full at 8:30 in the morning! We ordered 2 orders of egg-laden breakfast with coffee & got busy eating and enjoying the lovely view of Amman from the big windows! The food was very delicious and the service was quite decent too. Abhay had a great time munching on the bread-jam and tried his best to get friendly with other people! After this heavy breakfast we got back to the Hotel to pack our stuff and get ready for the check-out. Rainbow Street was a big contrast from the last night as it was so peaceful with no vehicles as well! We had another lovely walk before getting to the Hotel.

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We checked out of our lovely hotel, Majali Uncle picked us up and then we went towards the old Amman to pick up the Knife I had bought for my Brother with a special custom inscription! I just loved its design! I also picked up the sand sculptures I had ordered a day before.

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The next agenda was to visit the Amman Citadel which is the most popular spectacle of Amman & provides spectacular views of the entire city. It was another lesson in history for us as we learnt a lot about the background of this place, the people who constructed it, the people who lived here and also had an interesting time at the Citadel museum. Luckily it was much less sunnier and the cool breeze helped our long walking exploration!

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We met 3 young Palestine kids and the moment they saw my Che tee they got so damn excited! They started shouting “Che”, “Cuba” and “Guevara” in excited unison! It was so heartening to talk to them and know more about their love for Che as their hero in the resistance fight against the Israelis! Che is very popular in Palestine as well they told us! They got pics clicked with me on their mobiles and also of my Che Tattoo! Their excitement was so awesome indeed! The spirit of Youth as they say!

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And then one of the best parts of our entire trip were waiting for us! Majali Uncle had very graciously invited us to his home to spend the rest of the day with his family and the most exciting bit was that his wife Bushra Aunty had made special Lunch for us! Just imagine getting to eat authentic home-made Arabic food with such a lovely family! We were indeed very lucky & humbled at the same time!

We reached their home after picking up some gifts for the family and sat down for a chit-chat session, discussing our trip & about our lives! Abhay soon got to basics, crawling in their home! My wait was getting palpable and I just could not wait to dig my teeth into the lunch! Aunty had set up the dining table in the Kitchen & we all sat down for the special treat!

I must say rarely would any traveller get a chance to experience such hospitality and this time were the privileged ones! The food was so damn delicious that I simply binged! The baked delights, the olive & aubergine pickles, the Kofta, The rice…everything was laced with flavours and most importantly with the love of Bushra Aunty!

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Bandita & Abhay slept after this heavy meal and I sat down with Adam; Majali Uncle’s son to check out his Currency and Stamps collection, this discussion was so much fun as I am also a stamp collector and I also got some stamps from him! I also gave him some currency notes from the New Kuwait Currency & promised him to send the old ones along with some Indian currency ones too! He was so excited to add to his already extensive collection! We also talked about his future plans and life in Jordan in general for young kids! Though at 15 he is very mature for his age basis his knowledge & thought process! He wants to be a Pilot in the Jordanian Air Force and I hope he achieves his dreams!

I got down to the final packing & re-arranging of the stuff before we left fore the Airport to board our flight! We had shopped a lot so Majali Uncle offered us a spare bag to pack our stuff – his hospitality was never-ending! I finished the packing and sat down for another round of talk this time with Black Tea!

It was so sad leaving Jordan and more so the lovely Majali family who opened their home & heart for us! Even when they met us for the first time! But it never felt like that as our bond is something really special! We really hope to visit Jordan sometime in the future and that too in the winters to experience the snow-chill!

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We just can’t thank them enough as nobody would make such an effort for complete strangers! I can safely say that Majali Uncle is one of the best human beings I have ever met in my life – such a big & open heart with an always-smiling demeanour! I got to learn so much from him & pray the best for him always!

We left for the Airport amidst heavy traffic reaching the Airport well in time. And Majali Uncle dropped us at the VIP Entrance using his wit & charm once again with the security personnel!

We bid him goodbye with a heavy heart and even his eyes were moist! It was a touching meet and Inshallah we would meet again!

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We finished our check-in, immigration and security check process very smoothly & Jazeera Airways gave us our preferred seats which was a big help! We had an evening meal before boarding, had a very smooth flight and reached Kuwait at 1 AM in the night.

The wonderful trip was over with memories worth a lifetime! It was a 5-days hectic & action-filled trip made so beautiful thanks to Majali uncle & his family!

Big thanks to them and to the people of Jordan for their hospitality, warmth and their love! We met so many wonderful people throughout the trip, had lip-smacking food, watched some awesome sights, explored the countryside and had comfortable stays throughout!

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My next trip is right round the corner! Would be in a new country once again to finish off 2014 on a high!

So till the time we meet again…

Cheers to life…

Till then ride safe and have safe sex…

Inquilab Zindabad…

Hasta la Victoria Siempre…

Jai BoP!

4 Comments

  1. I think the experiences we have when we travel stay with us for a very long time. You all were lucky to meet such a kind and caring man during your trip to Jordan. What a lovely post this is Nishant, makes me want to travel too! Petra has been on my bucket list for a while now.

  2. Beautiful Storytelling of the trip. We were delighted to meet you. We have become friends forever. You and your family are great people. The angel * Abhay.* took a piece of my heart with him. I Will not forget you Family forever .

  3. Kamal Kanwadia

    Bro, that was really detailed and you are indeed a lucky person. You got a friend which are in endangered zone. I feel you should rename your blog with Joy of Ahmad’s Jordan. you know i am brutally honest about my opinion but this one is indeed your best. Keep smiling and lots of love to your family and a salute to ahmad ji.

Leaving without a comment? now that's cruel!