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23 April 2011

aqaba, jordan (nov 13th, 2009)

jordanian flag 06so my time was done in egypt. on the advice of some of my teacher friends working in egypt, i'd decided to fly to jordan on my indirect trip home. i'd heard that it would be a sin to miss seeing petra when i was that close. i'd also heard something about aqaba, so i booked a flight there to jump off from. i really didn't know what i was going to do there. i was pretty burnt out from being in egypt so long, so i just wanted to relax. not even do vacationy things, i just wanted to catch up on sleep, have a few drinks, and wander aimlessly. that's pretty much what i did.

housekeeping in aqabathe taxi driver from the airport assured me he knew where my hotel, the golden tulip, was. i had a very general idea where it was from the airport because i'd checked on google earth just before my flight. now, my sense of direction is just south of shitty, but i still knew that we were heading the wrong direction as soon as we left the airport. i'd gotten him turned around with my broken arabic, and soon had him pulling over to ask directions from a police officer. after rounding the block several times because he kept missing the turn off, i was finally at my hotel. i checked in and went to my room to drop off my bags where i found this. yup, those are my bath towels folded on my bed in the shape of a heart and some swans.

i seriously didn't do too much here. as i said, i just wanted to relax. i wandered around town a lot. i made friends with the filipina bar maid at the hotel. she had a boys name like TheMax or something. that saturday night, she invited me to go out with her and her friends to a filipina bar. it was halfway up one of the taller buildings in aqaba. we went in through a shady back door, through some partially dismantled room with lots of insulation and not a lot of lighting. i was starting to get concerned, but soon enough the broken down rooms opened onto a rooftop bar with other filipinos. there was one or two other ex-pats playing pool or throwing darts. we ate pretzel sticks, and i drank beer while they chatted away in their own language, occasionally flirting or making fun of me. i couldn't tell, but then again, i never can. i dawdled doing nothing of much import for 3 days, reveling in the fact that i had no responsibilities, schedules, or timelines to follow, though in fact i did. not on those days, but i DID need to see petra while i was there and i was told i needed to see wadi rum as well. i was off to petra on the 17th, and i did an overnight in the wadi rum desert with a bedouin tour guide and a lovely british couple... kinda, but those are for upcoming and more frequent posts. until then, some pix from aqaba.

gulf of aqaba from hotel 01
a tanker in the gulf of aqaba as seen from my hotel

aqaba mosque
one of the many mosques in aqaba

burger king - arabic
arabic burger king sign... and i can actually read it. there was a popeye's right next door too

aqaba domes 01
i wasn't able to determine exactly what these domes are for

the gateway 01
this is TheGateway. it's the westernized part of aqaba with a McDonald's, an irish bar, chinese restaurant, discos, shops, etc. i spent some time here.

church pano
this is possibly the first (oldest) purpose built christian church in the world, estimated to be built in 300 AD.

weather station
this weather station was pretty cool. i'd like to see more of these in bigger cities. i think it would motivate the people to take part in keeping the environment (and the government's part in it) cleaner. today was a good day, just a bit dusty.

sadly, social networking, work, life, etc., has dragged me away from this original form of getting the word out for me. i'm going to try harder. i should have posts about petra and wadi rum coming up soon. thanks for sticking with me. as per usual, you can click on the pics for bigger versions, and click here for the entire set.

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