Life, Love, Travel & the Pursuit of Being Alive: Part One (Amman, Madaba, Mount Nebo, the Dead Sea, Petra, Wadi Rum, Aqaba, Jordan)

In Jordan, I see countless stars filling up all the night sky, structures and monuments created thousands of years ago, ancient and modern history and civilizations, and I realize that I am but a tiny creature on one small planet in this vast universe occupying but a blip in time. But I do not feel insignificant or minuscule…on the contrary, I feel completely blessed to be alive.
That somehow conditions came together perfectly for life to start at all on this planet of ours and then that I am here now and that I am conscious of even being alive and have the power to create the life I live. That I have been shaped in part by all that has come before me and I will help shape what comes after me. Though it was quite the impulsive decision to leave Asia and head to Jordan; and even with it being more difficult than I envisioned, it feels like this is where I am supposed to be.

My photo essay to help shed some light on these feelings, thoughts, emotions:

Day one: 

AMMAN:

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Ok first stop and I am already am a bit overwhelmed.  TL Physically by the remains of the Temple of Hercules and then historically with the citidal dating back to the Bronze Age!   It’s stunning to walk along here through the site including the Ummayad Palace (MR) and learn about/let all that history sink in.  Oh and if that’s not enough, it’s situated on the highest hill in Amman, so you get stunning views of this very ancient city.

Roman Theatre: ok so this is from the 2nd century and the acoustics are incredible.  There’s a spot on the stage where your voice gets magnified/projected.  And along the bottom wall, the curve is just so and allows you to “play telephone” with some on the other side.  Pretty cool how innovative and knowledge-seeking mankind has been and continues to be

Day two: 

MADABA:St George ~ A Greek Orthodox Church houses this incredible mosaic map.  It is said to be the oldest map of Palestine in existence and it starts to hit me about the history of this place.

MOUNT NEBO

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TL Traffic jam! BL/BR This is where Moses is given a view of the promised land and may be buried here.  I’m fortunate in that it’s a sunny clear day and I can see not only Jericho but out to Jerusalem…

THE DEAD SEA

It’s supposed to be a short ‘check off the wanderlist‘ stop.  The shore is coated with white from the salt crystallizing and the water is an inviting mix of turquoise and aqua.  So I head into the water.  The salinity is so high that it makes physical exertion unnecessary, so I’m left to my thoughts.  During this time, I am completely alone in the world ~ there is no one else nearby but that feeling doesn’t scare me.  I feel a tremendous amount of calm coming over me in my solitude and find a sense of peace.

Day three: 

AL-KARAKKerak Castle ~ a huge Crusader castle: be prepared with a flashlight for some of the darker places.

DANA BIOSPHERE RESERVEThis mountain girl is so happy to fit in a hike here and that I’m lucky enough to come across these beautiful flowers ~ black irises: Jordan’s national flower. Later I’ll learn they’re symbols of growth, renewal and change…

SHOBAK CASTLE

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Another crusader castle but markedly less crowded than Kerak…most of the time I was the only person around.

Day four: 
PETRA

Click here for my separate post on Petra


Day five :
PETRA

Morning exploration.

WADI RUM

I really loved my time here ~ TL and TR the sand dunes during my Jeep tour ML My lodging amongst such a beautiful setting MR, BL, BR: Sunsets and sunrises

 Of course, my experiences are always shaped by such incredible chance encounters.  I am befriended by this trio and we go explore the sand dunes then watch the sun set.   She is even so worried about me having enough money to continue traveling that she wants to take me back to Tunisia but I finally convince her how I’m actually financially sound. And later they have more friends join them and I’m entertained with Jordanian songs and dance.   The group helps create such incredible memories I’ll cherish for a long time like running and collapsing on the sand dunes, gazing at the stars, and being reminded how much more binds than separates people.

And the bottom four pics are from Day 6, when I return for an amazing BBQ.  It’s followed by some great local music.

Day six : 

AQABA


I wish I had made it out for a dive here but snorkeling isn’t a bad alternative. And I’m amazed that there’s Israel and Egypt across the Red Sea and the Saudi Arabia border is close as well.

Evening: return to Wadi Rum ~ for pictures/description, please see day five

Day seven: 

Drive back to Amman in the morning.  Not surprising, I change plans and stay for a couple more days.  Amazing how life works out that I meet an Italian in Burma and am able to be reunited with her in Jordan.

She introduces me to this amazing and delicious place: Shams El Behad Cafe ~ more info on this amazing place provided on the Food page to maintain a practical post length.  Food & amazing conversation with an incredible and like minded person fills the day.

I also make some new friends and some pics from our nighttime adventure TL Some of the best ice cream I’ve ever had BL/TM/BM/TR: Books@cafe Cool spot for books, food, drinks (yes it’s possible to get alcohol in Amman) and a great view from the terrace ~ also known as an LGBT friendly venue!

Day eight: 

The Jordan Museum is a well thought out and educational museum housing some amazing archeological items including TL first human statues dating back to 7250 BC to TM/BM the Dead Sea scrolls!  Note: operating hours are fairly limited so verify prior to heading there.

And there was the most interesting temporary display at the museum as well. Titled “My Dream of Peace” it features art work created by children around the world who also signed a peace pledge. Quite thought provoking in so many ways ~ much of the art shown was from children living in warn torn regions, some who had spent their entire lives mired by violence and destruction but their pieces showed hope and strength and maturity that belied their ages 

Day nine: 

Logistics including my border crossing and my final thoughts are included with this Petra post.

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