“And another thing I’m discovering about life- is to expect the unexpected” the sound of my voice droning on and on combined with the road noise had both backseat passengers nodding off. The driver- my beautiful friend Rach was nodding too- but I think more in agreement than from sleepiness. The road stretched on and on through the most desolate desert I’d ever seen, and as our little rental car buzzed along- I was listing a series of points that life has taught me. (This point was not the most original- but for the sake of time I’ll spare you the rest of the sermon) The honest truth is- the last week and a half was unexpected for me. I expected to fly to Jordan with 2 friends and catch a glimpse of life there. But the entire experience was so much more than I was expecting. So anyhow- you can expect that I’m trying to be concise here- but chances of me sharing piles of pics are pretty good 🙈 So I present to you- the sightseeing side of Jordan. Proceed at your own risk 🙂
* I overuse desolate and expected in this post. But it’s 3 am and I’m dealing with time change realities so please overlook this 😂
Amman was our home base. This amphitheater was built between 131-161 AD. Our entire trip included so many visits to remains of the ancient world.
Like this citadel that’s visible from Rach’s house. Crazy to stand in the same area where Uriah the Hittite was killed…
Or to stand on Mt Nebo looking out into the Promised Land, where Moses stood and looked before he died and God buried him. Wow. Looking at this place of desolation gave me an entire new understanding of the Children of Israel and the challenges they faced.
The Jordan River where John the Baptist arrived from the wilderness and preached repentance. Jesus came too and was baptized here. While we sat on the shore with our toes in the muddy water- we watched the throngs of people on the Israeli side self baptizing (is that even a term?). And I noted the sound of insects (Locust maybe?) and a white dove flew past. (Rach said they are common here- but it seemed appropriate ref Matt 3:16)
The Dead Sea. Wow- such a fun stop. (Notice the streams of minerals) I was not expecting the Dead Sea to be so beautiful. The rich blue in the water surprised me. I guess I was expecting the Dead Sea to be brown- doesn’t that sound more like a death color? Anyhow- it was beautiful. I think the only thing that I remember from 4th grade Social Studies Class was the pic of a guy floating in the Dead Sea reading a book… so if CLP is looking for a new model for their next Social Studies Project… 💃🏻
The unexpected from this memorable stop was the alternating layers of mud and salt on the bottom of the lake. The mud was rich and smooth and felt like it would cost an arm and a leg if you were buying it as a spa treatment. The salt was rugged and sharp and I pulled a centimeter long shard out of my heel. 😬
The Red Sea. Wooooow. I thought the Dead Sea was beautiful- and it was! But nothing prepared me for the Red Sea’s deep blue and turquoise. We spent hours at this clear water: snorkeling, finding the cutest mini shells, dodging purple jelly fish, and solving the worlds problems.
One evening we took a glass bottom boat out over the corral reef and enjoyed seeing the desolate mountains running into the deep blue Sea from an off shore perspective. The unexpected here was the dry heat. It was like being blasted by a gigantic hair dryer. No humidity- just the most friendly warm you can imagine.
Wadi Rum is a national Park in Jordan. And the desert there goes on unendingly. The only thing that breaks up the vastness is the herds of camels, goats, and sightseeing tourists on the backs of pickups. Our visit there was spectacular.
Here I am trudging through the desert on the back of a camel. The camel kneels down to load and unload passengers and it has to be the funniest thing to watch facial expressions as the mount rocks back and forth lowering his bulk to the ground. (Did you know that a camel has what appears to be both a knee and an elbow on each leg?)
Sunset in the desert is the most beautiful thing. 💞
And then came another of my favorite parts of this visit- staying in a Bedouin camp. The food was good, the stars were amazing and our fellow campers were quite comfortable. I was not expecting the quiet. It woke me up at sunrise and I wandered a little ways from camp and just sat and listened to the stillness- other than one fly buzzing past and a camel chewing sage brush the silence was so loud it made my ears ring. Wow.
And last but not least- Petra. We followed through the narrow rock channel until it opened up and we beheld the grandeur of this ancient city. Buildings were carved out of the rock and its believed that this city housed the Wisemen as they headed to visit the Christ child.
Can I just say that I was not expecting to come across so much Bible history on our adventure? I know everyone says that if you visit the Holy Lands it changes your view of the Bible- I can see how that is so true.
The unexpected from this visit was the miles and miles we hiked (9 according to the Fitbit wearers among us) I kept wishing I had a better understanding of the people who had once called this place home. But the mystery remains (partly because I wasn’t curious enough to hire a tour guide 🤷🏻♀️)
And because I can’t help myself- do you know what happens when you forget sunscreen in these parts? You get Petrafried 😂😂
And so there it is- a brief rundown of the touristy stops on our stay in Jordan. But is that it? Nope- you don’t get off with only one blog post on this adventure 😉 Expect another post in the near future.