Friday, March 27, 2015

Jordan, A Middle Eastern Treasure

After finishing my Omra trip earlier this year, my family alongside with the tour continued our trip to then visit Masjid al-Aqsa in Palestine. En route to the grand mosque, we will pass by Jordan and went directly Israel and Palestine back and forth (because of the border issues, in case you haven't heard), to then go back to Jordan and spend the rest of our tour there. This post will mainly discuss about my travel in Jordan. The flight we took from Mecca to Jordan was one of the best flight I've ever taken with the most up-to-date technology provided from Royal Jordan as our carrier. The exact plane were Royal Jordanian Airbus 3200 and it is  one of the newest, most current plane provided by the carrier and we all ended up being in awe throughout the flight. The window brightness was adjustable, the food were delicious and served alongside high-quality utensils, the in-flight entertainment were up to date (my movie pick were Jean Reno's 'Comme un Chef') and the seats were very spacious! I regretted not taking any pictures and falling asleep for several hours on the flight because it was that great, and this is speaking from someone who flies coach.

The flight experience certainly brings a good note about Jordan, and the Queen Alia International airport continued to give us a good first impression. At the airport we were met by additional tour respresentative from a local Jordanian who spoke Indonesian very well. We were given guidelines on our preparation to cross the Israeli border because our access to Israel would have to go through Jordanian land. We stopped by a souvenier shop that were located on a pretty deserted area as we are far from the city. In this spot too, we dropped off several of our luggage since we were only taking small luggages to Israel and Palestine. This time I splurged on many local products such as dead sea mud, salts, shirts, and the typical gifts to bring back home. The rate were actually pretty high where JOD 1 equals to about  USD 1, 4.

(Fast forward after going back to Jordan from Israel soundly)
(The Israel and Palestine post can be accessed here)

Back at Jordan we were greeted by the very same tour guide, ready to lead us around the places. Firstly we went to Salt in the Jordan Valley, to the maqam of prophet Jethro (Syu'aib). The place were so beautiful and I enjoyed sightseeing alongside the prayers we had during the time; the places I've visited throughout the trip has been very clean and well organized. My oh my, every second I spent in Jordan, more and more were I becoming more fascinated.

Met these two kids upon entering the maqam of prophet Syu'aib. They wanted their picture to be taken and wishes to have a picture with me too, however my tour has been proceeding through that I didn't get a picture with the two of them :(

We then continue on to the long awaited trip to the Dead Sea. My brothers all took their clothing off and begun applying mud all over their body before beginning to swim in the Dead Sea. As for myself, not prepared with any sort of swimming wear, only ended up dipping my toes by the beach. The sands by the Dead Sea were rough due to the large content of salt in it, and the water itself might get a little bit stinging as the salt hardened. But in proper amount, the rich minerals will give your health such a boost. A family friend told us that her secret to staying young were actually by the extract of the Dead Sea. Interesting. Yet besides those benefits of Dead Sea, the sea by itself were very beautiful with a rift of two water current visible. The ocean breeze were also very very soothing as it is one great source to oxygen. Nearby the sea there were also a lot of resorts and hotels to provide your stay and as there were many tourists, fashion were not a big concern here.

Before swimming in the sea, we had our lunch by the restaurant above the beach by the Dead Sea and were thankful since I got pretty bloated even to run by the sands and everything. After spending a couple hour by the sea, the last stop of for the day is the Ashabul Kahfi Cave in Amman (said location of the site believed by the Jordans). It is one of the believed place where the People of the Cave fell asleep for 300 or so years by the protection of the God. The cave and its surrounding were not very big but there is an accompanying mosque besides the place. The dawn were getting pretty breezy at the time, yet the view is well worth as it is breathtaking.

The next morning we began the day by visiting Zaid bin Tsabit's maqam and we are welcomed with the wonderful view of the sky. It's been a long time since I really get to appreciate my surrounding and Jordan really had hit me hard. The views of the places I've visited, no matter how deserted or small, has always been a pleasure. The tour then continued on to one of our last stops in Jordan on top the Ajloun Castle that is located on a hill in Jabal Auf, Northern Jordan. Needless to say the view from the hill was astounding.

The rest of the day which were our last day in Jordan is spent by souvenir shopping and tasting out olive oil. Unfortunately the end of my Jordan trip marks the end of my Omra travel journey. It was definitely an unforgettable experience, and Jordan closes the whole trip beautifully. The country had really really inspired me.