Thursday, March 10, 2011

Week Fifteen Daily Journal

Friday, January 7
Dubai, UAE

Ski Dubai!

 Despite Friday being the Middle East equivalent of a Sunday (ie lots of things were closed) we ran around Dubai all day and saw a ton - skiing, the souks, a traditional boat ride, the Burj al Arab, the fountain and light show at the Dubai Mall, and dinner with the Slomaks at the Park Hyatt.  Exhausting but a fun day! (See post, Desert Skiing)

Saturday, January 8
Petra, Jordan

Wadi Musa, Jordan
Yet another predawn wakeup to catch our flight to Amman.  Despite arriving 2 hours early, the airport was so big (and immigration so slow) we ended up sprinting to get to the gate in time.  Luckily the flight was pretty empty and J took a whole row to sleep.  On arrival in Amman we took a bus from the airport to the north bus station (we thought it was taking us to the south bus station), then a taxi to the south bus station, then a bus to Wadi Musa, the town just outside Petra.  It took all day and we didn't get in to our hotel, the Sa'ab Hotel (recommended, really nice staff), until dark.  We went to dinner with two people from the hotel at the Midtown Restaurant.  We let the waiter talk us into the 10 JD ($14) per person special and we enjoyed a variety of appetizers and a main of lamb and rice in the freezing cold restaurant - even the waiters were wearing hats and jackets!

Sunday, January 9
Petra, Jordan

Woo!  Petra tomb strip show.

We woke up early and were at the gates of Petra by 7:30am, where we purchased our exorbitant 50 JD ($75) entrance tickets.  We spent the day exploring Petra and having tea and sheesha with two Beduin teenagers.  (See post Indiana Jesse). We had dinner at a shwarma joint near the hotel where we met up with some people from the hotel and went to an Internet cafe where the power went out mid-internetting.

Monday, January 10
Wadi Rum, Jordan

Beduin breakfast

We shared a taxi to Wadi Rum with two guys from our hotel, and were picked up by Nial (the son of the owner of Bedouin Life Camp) at the Visitor Center.  He took us back to the camp where we spent the day with his uncle, Awar.  We had breakfast, did a little hiking/rock climbing, saw camel races, had lunch at Awar's house, and cruised around the desert in the back of his pickup truck.  Dinner was "beduuin chicken and rice" and we somehow managed to stay warm in the freezing cold tent, sleeping under a pile of blankets.  (See post A Four Hour (Desert Jeep Safari) Tour)

Tuesday, January 11
Dahab, Egypt

The view from our hotel room patio.

We woke up at 5:30 am and Nial dropped us off at an early morning locals bus to Aqaba.  It was a long, long day of travel - see Parting the Red Sea.  Luckily, when we finally arrived at the Le Meridian, the resort was nice, the staff wonderful, our room luxurious and the Thai curry (the cheapest thing we could have for dinner at the hotel) delicious.

Wednesday, January 12
Dahab, Egypt

After breakfast at the hotel (the buffet was expensive so we ordered these a la cart Jean George V dishes which were very over-ambitious), we went to the dive shop where we had to do a "refresher dive" and refresher test since we hadn't dove in a while.  Our dive master Abdel took us through putting our gear together and out on a shore dive right from the hotel beach.  Afterwards we shared a sandwich and some amazing mango juice at the beach restaurant and relaxed by the beach.  We went into town in the evening and had dinner at Shark - a bunch of mezze, lentil soup, a chicken tagen and fruit.  Its low season so all the restaurants are really empty and are desperately offering specials.

Thursday, January 13
Dahab, Egypt

Dave during his safety stop.
We did two deep dives today- first to 30m at Canyons, then to 27m at the Blue Hole.  The Blue Hole was especially cool - you descended through a chimney, swam under an arch and then along a coral wall until entering the blue hole, where we watched free divers going so deep.  In between we had lunch at a local place, hummus and kofta.  We spent what was left of the day at the beach and then went to the hotel cocktail reception and went into town.  We had dinner at the Carm Inn (delicious lentil nut roast), met the chileans for a drink and then tried to buy a sim card and internet plan (which obviously ended up not working).

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