After a mostly restful sleep, (Good Morning! says the local mosque at 3:30AM) we prepared for our day of travel.
Tasty breakfast in tummies of the typical eggs, halloumi cheese, beef sausage and yogurt with fruit, we carried down our bags to meet our driver, Adli. Our original plan was to go straight to the Feynan Ecolodge, but our host insisted we go to Wadi Mujib as it was on the way. And since it was something I had hoped we’d get to, but figured we wouldn’t have time for, it was a nice surprise.
Our host said the driver would take us to Wadi Mujib and wait for us there while we do the hike and back. Leaving our valuables unattended with a perfect stranger (the laptop! the precious laptop!!!) went against every microchip in my husband’s Macintosh being, but our host assured us the driver was a professional and he had worked for many establishments in Amman for many years.
And off we went with the trusted Adli. There were more Roman ruins just around the corner that we were unable to see the previous day (so much rubble, so little time!) And our driver took a detour so we could get out and grab some pictures of the Roman amphitheatre. One of the guides we met there, said that at the top of the hill was an outpost for the Ammonites, as mentioned in the Bible.
It was fun to walk around and try to imagine what went on there many years ago. (Of course my imagination is best served for more realistic things like surviving dysentery or how to escape out of a trunk after a kidnapping attempt.) We came back to our car after a few quick minutes of exploring and photos.
As we drove, Adli talked about where he came from, (Palestine) and his hopes of visiting the US one day. He beeped at drivers who were driving slow in the fast lane, and said they must have been texting on What’s App. I guess people are people, no matter which continent you are on.
In the hour and a half drive to get to Wadi Mujib from Amman, we passed by different plaques explaining where we were and relation to our surroundings.
Just before we came to the wadi, Adli was kind enough to find us a roadside stop that was serving even though it was Ramadan. Adli said the man served very good turkish coffee, and we were happy to test him on this.
During Ramadan, you are required to fast during daytime hours. There are a few exceptions, and if you are traveling, that is one of the exceptions. So I imagine our roadside chef was catering to just that crowd. He began to work on the craft of artful coffee-making. I asked politely if I could film him preparing the coffee (thinking of you, dear readers!) but he shook his head, declined, and I put my camera away. I was disappointed, but it was his prerogative, and I respected his privacy.
After he completed the coffee, he handed both John and I small demitasse takeaway cups. We excitedly took them as our driver explained coffee in Jordan is only good when it is so hot ‘it scares your mustache.’ Yes it was hot, but the cardamom was intoxicating and it just drew me in. I thanked him in Arabic (Shukraan!) and smiled. As a parting gift, he offered me a bunch of grapes to carry on our journey. I accepted and reached out for them. He quickly plucked one, handed me the bunch, but motioned that he would like to feed me the grape. To my mouth. From his hand.
So let me get this straight- you are too shy for a video, but not to shy to feed a married woman a grape… in front of her husband? (Not very Ramadan behavior!)
I declined, grabbed my grapes and my husband, and scurried back to our car.
Just a few minutes in the car, we arrived to the Dead Sea area, and passed by exclusive-looking resorts. Adli tells us you can get a day pass to private beaches there for 35JD that includes their beaches, pools, and includes lunch. Pricey, but seemed pretty luxurious. Then a bit farther he pointed our a free, somewhat hidden, hot springs. There were a few cars pulled over on the road, so it seemed that others knew about it as well. So much for secrets!
Shortly thereafter, we arrived at Wadi Mujib. Wadi Mujib is like a slot canyon, a la Antelope Canyon, with fresh water cascading through it. It begins as rushing violently off the top of mountain and ends at the opening with just a trickle, that gently empties out into the Dead Sea. And your mission, if you choose to accept it, is to hike/wade through all of it.
After the requisite life-jacket, and the signing-of-a-waiver activity, we were on our way. There’s several hikes and expeditions you can do, ranging from the simple (what these 2 doughy towheads were attempting) to the much more advanced involving ropes, rappeling, and mandatory guides.
You can take a guide, but on the basic trek, it’s simple to do it alone. Follow any signs, looks for ropes, and use common sense! I could go on and on about the details, but the picture will tell the story much better than I ever could.
After completion, we dried off, changed, and hoped back into the car to finish our route to Feynan Ecolodge. It was pretty uneventful since we were exhausted from the total output of energy.
As we neared the Ecolodge, we made contact with the front desk to have a 4×4 truck pick us up, as the roads were inhospitable for the average car. We arrived at our meeting point and whisked away for our next adventure of Bedouin food, shepherding, and living off-the-grid in the middle of the countryside. Sounds remote? Well, here’s what remote buys you:
Yes, that’s the Milky Way my talented husband photographed!
Up next time, life without electricity, sleeping under the stars, and an invitation into a Bedouin home!