Entering Jordan was like taking a big gulp of air, a sigh of relief, not least because of the lack of smog!….though I still ended up in the same position as when entering Syria, no money, no map and no clue of where to go and in need of a camp spot to close to darkness! Chased by some mad man flashing his lights and beeping his horn, waved down I stop, he wants my picture. I find a camp spot pretty easily, luckily I felt completely at ease in Jordan and pitched up not too far away in complte openess, or maybe it’s just because I am too tired to care?!
It makes me wonder though if it is my own perceptions of a place that limit my view of it, was Syria really as bad as I thought?
I go to the nearest city, there is a bank, an ATM, street lights, people smiling, pasta sauce!!! I buy some bread and return to my bike to find twenty people crowded round it, “what is your name?” I get asked again and again and again. One gent invites for me coffee in his perfume shop and is very helpful, sending his young assistant off around the city to try and find me a map!! He can’t find one though so I head to an internet cafe and print the best one I can find off, it is limited to say the least, but I have some idea at least.
I ride the desert castle loop out towards Saudi Arabia, go to the wildlife reserve, to find it closed!! Short of fuel I pooter back towards Amman (too busy for me) out to the dead sea to float around – in the rain (I was the only one there) – into the mountains to explore as best as my map would allow, get cold, down to the Ancient city of Petra (too expensive at 21 UK pounds to enter, so back to Dana Wildlife reserve (big, very beautiful canyon) for a short hike in the afternoon. Out to the desert of Wadi Rum where I stayed with a Bedouin family for the night – though he took all my money when I offered it in the morning to ruin the experience, took a hike in the desert (boring, just a lot of sand!!), short exploration of a desert trail using the sun as my guide ending up in an army barracks for more questions, down to sea level finally where the nights are not so cold and I can remove my motorcycle clothes for the first night in weeks!! (I literally haven’t got changed in weeks, I reak) in Aqabar (where there is a McDonalds of all things and Burger King, bit of a shock) where I will catch the ferry to Egypt and where I have snorkelled a coral reef just off the beach, which was beautiful even if I couldn’t see so well without my glasses on!!
I have found Jordan to be difficult to explore, the roads are too good, giving a sense of passing by, and my map not good enough to allow me to venture off too far, though I have tried. Venturing in to the villages I found there to be no centre, no community, no cafes or hangouts where I could try and get a feel for the place. That said, Jordan has been a nice experience, camping easy to find and shops pretty well stocked and petrol of a decent grade and the people generally nice, still the same staring as in Syria, but the differnece here has been that it is generally accompanied with a smile, children run out to wave, to say hello, or on one occassion to throw a rock at me!
Egypt next, and I am dreading Cairo, too busy, much begging and the Sudan visa headache….I’ve been dreading it for ages…first though I need to get in…
Photos are from Syria and Jordan, so a lot to look at I am afraid…I’ve tried to cut them down a bit, but still a lot.