Am I in me?

Madaba Travel Blog

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Jordan in the Jordan River

After missing our flight from Bahrain yesterday we needed to make the most of our time in Jordan.  So it's all about cramming tons of events into one day now...time is not on our side.

The plane landed at 930, we stepped out onto the walkway and it was cold!  I swear that the earth is ending or something (we later found out that Jordan had had floods and rains the likes of which had not been seen for 40 years- it even snowed on New Years).  My favorite part about the airport were the visa officials lighting up cigarettes right in front of a huge no smoking sign.  No smoking, no way...

Because the guidebook we were using was 4 years old Ryan went into the tourist office at the airport to get some more up-to-date information.  It was most helpful.  For those of you planning a trip to Jordan check out the country's web site: www.

visitjordan.com.

Then we jumped in a (overpriced) cab for the city of mosaics- Madaba.  It is the Christian center of Jordan.  The city has a lot of churches with mosics dating from Byzantium.  It's on the pilgrimage route from Jerusalem.  Pope John Paul II visited here in 2000 on his tour of the Holy Lands.  Madaba was only 25km from the airport, almost the same distance at Amman.  We figure we'll hit Amman on the way back.  The aiport taxi was 18 JD but, again, we lost the luxury of time when we missed our flight yesterday.

We stayed at the Black Iris Hotel- 25 JD a night, private shower, with a really good breakfast.

Jordanian countryside
  The staff was extremely helpful and kind.  And I think God was finally starting to be on our side because he handed us a some good fate: another couple was leaving for a day tour of Biblical sites in 30 minutes.  If we hurried to get ready we could join them and the cost per person would go down.  So great!

We did hurry and join them.  2 things I really wanted to see (Bthany-upon-the-Jordan and the Dead Sea) and one that I didn't plan on seeing (Mt. Nebo) but was great.  Her smartness- read me- forgot to bring batteries and I missed out on pictures of Mt. Nebo but I bought some postcards to fill the void. 

Mt. Nebo is where Moses died.  God told him to climb the mountain and his people would inherit all the land that Moses could see.  The promised land of the Isrealites.

It's wierdly easy
..lucky thing that Moses climbed that mountain after the rainy season because the air was full of dirt/sand and we couldn't see more than 50 meters down the mountain.  At the top of the mountain (it's really just a jebel, a large hill) there is a monestary.  It's still active- the day we went a father was performing service in Greek for a tour group.  Pretty cool...

When archaeologists arrived in the 1930s there was nothing but piles of rubble.  Today there is a reconstructed church and a lovely little museum.  The archaeologists also found Byzantium mosaics here- they are beautiful.

Then it was off to my favorite part of the day- the Jordan River.  I have always wanted to go here...it's strange to have a life's dream fulfilled.

Madaba
  The river wasn't clear but it was refreshingly cold.  I put my feet and arms into it and then rinsd my face.  I wish that we'd had the time to allow me to swim (totally allowed) but we were on a tour and that wasn't my decision.  Overall feeling: amazingly satisfying.

The day ended with our trip to the Dead Sea.  Jordan is a country of hills and valleys and my ears popped all day long in the car.  The Dead Sea is the lowest place on Earth, fed by the Jordan River but with no outlet.  The amount of water going into the Sea is declining every year so the salinity percentage is increasing which also increases it's rate-of-evaportation...in short: it's shrinking and might be all gone in 50 years.  I wanted to go before it dried up.

There's no real way to explain how the floating works- you literally just sit down and the salty water does all the work.

Overlooking Madaba
  It's like sitting in a lounge chair- a really filthy lounge chair.  The mud has a clay-ey consistency and is smelly.  DON'T get the water in your mouth or eyes!  Burn (and grossness) city.  That afternoon there was some kind of party and a huge family was forming drum circles and dancing...very fun.

Our car took us back to Madaba at 5pm and we walked around the city a bit to see local life.  I can't remember the last time I got such genuinely friendly hellos and welcomes.

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Jordan in the Jordan River
Jordan in the Jordan River
floating in the Dead Sea
floating in the Dead Sea
Jordanian countryside
Jordanian countryside
Its wierdly easy
It's wierdly easy
Madaba
Madaba
Overlooking Madaba
Overlooking Madaba
Madaba
photo by: lealealou