We flew into Amman after a long night's layover in Dubai. Holy cow, the money in that airport! We had to split a little $8US egg sandwich for breakfast so we didn’t starve, only because we couldn’t afford anything else. We arrived at Mansour Hotel, our accommodation in Amman, to the biggest & most bodacious Jordanian man greeting us at the door yelling "WELLLL-COOME TO JORDAAAN!" This, we will soon learn, is the very first thing to come out of Jordanian's mouths as you walk past them on the streets or into their shops. All with the biggest smiles on their faces, so welcoming!
Our room at Mansour wasn’t ready yet, so we went out to get some lunch and we were immediately met with Carter's dream... huge spits of meat. We were FINALLY in the land of shawarma, Carter's heaven on earth. After months of curry, fried rice and noodles he was welcoming Middle Eastern Cuisine with open arms, and mouth! We started lunch off with a small shawarma each...
After a quick fix, we stumbled upon a super busy restaurant, Hashem. Without really knowing what to do or how to order, an unbelievable spread of middle eastern food was brought to our table by another huge Jordanian man: hummus, babaganoush, fresh tomatoes and raw onion with mint, bean dip, falafels, and hot out of the oven pita bread. OMG. I was beside myself (and immediately regretted eating a shawarma, giving me less room in my stomach for this masterpiece of a meal.) We dug in until we were in a literal food coma. What a WELCOME TO JORDAN, am I right?! *I'm drooling writing this*
This restaurant also ended up being one of the most "famous"/ must-try restaurants in Amman, as the King of Jordan has ate there and ever since it has been a hummus/ falafel hot spot. We rolled back to the hotel, got into our room, and fell asleep for the next five hours...food coma + overnight layover = sleepy time. Of course, only to wake up and go get another shawarma for dinner!
We were excited to explore Amman. The city was an endless sea of typical middle eastern buildings and amongst the old downtown, where we were staying, there were ancient Roman ruins.
The downtown streets were lined with costume stores with beautiful traditional Jordanian womens' dresses and capes. Arabic coffee shops and cafes that were packed with men and women smoking deliciously flavored shisha. Mazes of bazaars and fresh food markets intertwined through side streets that seemed to never end.
We had read a lot of great reviews about Rainbow Street which was supposed to be the heart of downtown; a pedestrian friendly street lined with cafes, shops and restaurants that you could spend an entire day at, enjoying a Turkish coffee, people watching, and milling about.
Well... this was a bit underwhelming as a tourist hot spot. This street was a regular wide street with cars whipping up and down, most of the store fronts were closed, there was one famous falafel shop that we stopped at and had a sandwich, and one cafe that had a few people at... annnd that was it. And as we were finding out to be the norm in Jordan, the meal was incredible.
We thought we'd give another "must see" attraction a try and headed to the Roman Theatre for sunset, which was only a 5 minute walk from our hotel. We got there... and it had just closed. Thankfully, one of the guards let us in, saying "only 5 minutes" which gave us enough time to get the gist of it. The amphitheatre was quite impressive. It just sits in the middle of old downtown and so it makes for quite a crazy contrast to see!
It was built in the 2nd century and could seat 6000 people in it's prime. They’ve created a community social scene around it nowadays, where plays and award ceremonies take place. It also has a great view of the hilltop citadel which was beautiful in the sunset.
The next day, we climbed up to the Citadel. We were taken back by the sheer size of the pillars that were still intact. We started to realize the incredibly rich history in Jordan - and we aren't even talking about Petra yet, one of the historical mysteries in the world!
Here are more views of downtown Amman that we stumbled across during our stay:
The Citadel sits on top of the largest hill in the middle of the city, which allows you to see a 360 view of the surrounding Amman area. It was up here overlooking the city when we were stunned by a beautiful moment we were most definitely not expecting. All of a sudden a synchronized prayer bellowed throughout the entire city below, evening Muslim prayer began and echoed in every direction like nothing we've ever heard before. It was a very wild experience we can say we will never forget. After visiting the Citadel, we were inspired to go an hour outside of the city to visit Jerash. This town is known for the Roman city of Gerasa, which is insanely intact (with some reconstruction) for being built in the Neolithic Age (ya... I don't really know what that means either... it's REAL OLD lol) The ruins site itself is said to have been founded by Alexander the Great.
We opted to not pay for a tour guide (one of the downsides of Jordan tourism being so expensive) so the following facts are straight from Wikipedia, please take them with a grain of salt!
The Arch of Hadrian, is the first structure you see and must walk through, to enter the ruins. It was built to honour the visit of Emperor Hadrian in 129AD.
This is the Hippodrome, where the epic battles and games would be held. I couldn't stop thinking about Russell Crowe in the movie Gladiator!
Below is the Forum, where all activity of the historic-community would have taken place.
Here we are walking down the cardo, which is lined with these huge pillars the entire mile-length street. It was amazing because you could see long divots and marks cut into the road stone... and we overheard a guide saying it's from the repeated hundreds of chariots passing over them!!! This was thee coolest aspect of Jerash for me personally.
The next day, we had been discussing travel plans for the next leg of Jordan, and it all seemed much more expensive to do than we initially expected. Carter was fired up because he had a free car rental with Enterprise Rent-A-Car because he used to rent vehicles often at his previous job. Well he gets on the phone and dials Enterprise "Jordan Edition" and the conversation goes something like this:
Carter: "Hello my friend, I am from Canada and I would like to rent car"
Jordanian Enterprise Employee: "Ok my friend, this no problem, where do you go and when"
Carter: "I want to drive to Dana Reserve and back, we will have the car for 2 days"
Jordanian Enterprise Employee: "Ok no problem, this is most beautiful, tomorrow you come and pay in the morning"
Carter: "Great, the thing is though I have a free car rental with my Emerald points!" (Carter with a happy, smiling, stupid white person face)
Jordanian Enterprise Employee: "You say car for free?"
Carter: "Yes, I have a free 1 day rental with my points. I would like to use them to rent the car for 1 day for free?"
Jordanian Enterprise Employee: "...ahhhhahah my friend, you are in Jordan, nothing for free! Whatever happen in your country, not work here"
After exhausting all options over breakfast with an awesome Aussie couple, we decided...why don't we band together to rent (and actually pay for) a car! We worked out the details that evening (over a couple of beers, thanks Helena) and set out to the car rental that morning.
Since you are always hearing from us, we've asked Helena & Gabe to write about our road trip to the Dead Sea and Dana Biosphere Reserve!
We first met Brittany and Carter in Jordan in what can only be described as the Ritz Carlton of Amman - Mansour Hostel. We were sitting on the vintage couches intrigued with our plates of grey boiled eggs, a wedge of laughing cow, maybe a container or two of aeroplane jam and amazingly fresh pita.
Carter sitting with his hat backwards continuously rattling off about their ‘free car for the day’, we thought maybe these guys can be our friends. Who doesn’t like a road trip when someone else pays for the car!? It wasn’t long before the pair realised that Western rules don’t apply in Jordan (not totally surprising) and it was gonna cost them the big bucks. As a group of 4 backpackers on a tight budget, we thought "let's spread the cost!" And with that we were on the hunt for a new rental company.
We came to find Fox Car Rental. Us (Gabe and Helena) being Aussies, we thought it best we not try to drive or we’d end up on the wrong side of the road. However, Carter has no chance of hiring a car as he traded his license for a sleeping bag in Nepal (I think it was a tad nippy up on the Annapurna trail). So we turned to Britters to supply the license, she pulls it out in the rental office to discover it was expired! So finally, they all turn to me (Helena), I whip out my license and before you know it we are jumping in the car!
I wacked on my seeing eye goggles and off we went 60km on the freeway in the middle of two lines (keeping it safe) as much as Gabe begs to differ. Carter directed us down a sleek back road with no traffic and we were cruising. Our first stop was Madaba, a small town just south of Amman. We’d been there the day before and sussed out the lay of the land. So naturally we took Brittany and Carter to our favourite place... The Church of Nativity where on the ground there was a vintage mosaic map of Jordan. Unfortunately, it was Saturday and a service was on so they just got to see the photo we took the previous day and a priest talking in Arabic.
Next we hit up the local markets to get some groceries for lunch. Oh my god was it cheap; for four of us, we spent $4 CA and we got a few local mates as well!
Next was figuring out how we get to the Dead Sea. We’d heard about some of Brittany and Carter's experiences with information stations that had not been too successful but we were sure this time would be different.
Our first attempt was with a lady who could barely string an English sentence together, no dice. We stroll across the road to a new white building, labelled ‘Tourist Information Centre’, up several flights of stairs to find a guy who told us the Dead Sea was 30km away and pointed to a wall and said “head that way” in an ambiguous tone.
By this stage of driving, we decide it's best that Carter takes the wheel and if we get pulled over, play the confused tourist card. Before we knew it, we were approaching a police check point, a man in military uniform starts waving his arms out. Carter slows the car as his heart rate rises, the man walks right up to the window and at the top of his lungs booms out ‘HELLLOOO! WELCOME TO JORDAN!’ and waves us through. This soon becomes the norm at every police check of the road trip, and our favourite saying.
As we start to head along the coastline of the Dead Sea, we start to see the resorts, all charging at least $30 to access the water from their private beaches. Being the frugal backpackers we are, we decide to look for some free access, which we soon discover means pulling over on the side of the highway and heading across the rocky shoreline to find a spot to have a dip.
Entering the Dead Sea was everything we could of imagined and more, the buoyancy, the view, the sting in your eyes, it was amazing! On our trip back to the car we were all laughing at the suckers who paid to enter through resorts.. soon we discover who the real suckers were.
We headed to what we had read to be some of the most beautiful hot springs in Jordan. Only 20 minutes up the road and the salt had begun to crystallise all over us and sting in places that really hurt! But it was ok, we had arrived at the hot springs! We pulled up to the hot springs to realise that it is going to cost us $50 each for half an hour! This brilliant idea was quickly ruled out to save our back pockets, so instead, out the front of the hot springs we get our bottled water out and start showering, much to the amusement of a giant busload of rich tourists (who could afford the hot springs).
Although the bottle shower helped it was by no means a shower, so we were soon on the way to our accomodation in Dana. Three hours later we arrived at our lush resort in Dana Reserve, where we were sharing a 4-single bed room. The owner in broken English strongly encouraged us to have the buffet dinner with everyone else, only a small $20 each, but us again being tight backpackers, we decided we could make it on our own.
After 4 long showers to de-saltify ourselves we headed into the small town of Al-Qadisiya on the top of the hill. There we found 2 full chickens roasting. We got one chicken, 2 souvlaki’s, 2 containers of chips and that was just for Carter. We were soon on the edge of a cliff over looking the little village we were staying in having a massive feast, keeping a close eye on our wild dog friends, slowly closing in...
The next morning we were looking at what walk suited us best through the Dana Reserve, as we were on a time limit. The people in the accomodation weren’t too inclined to help as they were all guides wanting us to pay them a pretty penny for a stroll in the park.
We decided it was best to walk out on a trail that leads to the next town, but turn around about 3 hours in so we would be back in time to drop the car off that night in Amman. So we set off down a very steep hill, thinking not much of it, occasionally laughing about how steep it was going to be on the way back up as we slid down. We walk into this beautiful valley, dry as a bone but somehow flowers popping up all over the place, we walk along the trail for about an hour before we decide to go trail blazing along the river bed, thinking we might be able to make it a circuit trip.
It wasn’t long till Carter had us scrambling up a cliff to get a photo at the highest point... it wasn’t long till we realised every high point we reached there was another just above it. We’d started to hit peak sunburn point and the sweat to sun screen ration was not helping anyone.
We’d soon find a nice big shady tree to stop and have a snack at; the traditional hummus and bread. Satisfied, we moved on through the winding path to continue our journey. Getting excited as the the canyons around us were getting higher. Decided that the cliff was too steep to go up (despite Carter's protests) we headed back to a bit we could climb.
What then proceeded was a 100% sun and a hectic 2 hour up hill climb (for Gabe and I; Brittany and Carter didn’t break a sweat. Nepal had trained them well) back into town.
Back at Dana Inn we all jumped into the car and started to head off up the Kings Highway towards Amman. Naturally stopping first for an ice cream; ooh and the fresh pita guys before we left town.
Now we expected a winding drive as we had opted for the scenic route but what we didn’t anticipate was the random, surprise, unmarked speed humps along the highway. They would pop up out of no where and we’d all go flying into the roof and then cross our fingers hopping we hadn’t bottomed out the car.
It was a beautiful drive the terrain changed constantly from green lush fields to arid desert. The first town we passed after two hours of driving was At-Tafilah. The highlight for me was all the dead hanging animals with their head still on and covered in fur (just the heads) the bodies were naked (or so to speak). There were camels, lambs, cows and even chooks!
After cruising through Tafila we were in a hurry to Karak as there were some ruins we wanted to see, and the evening was fast approaching. Now lets all remember that by this point we’d all just had that earlier snacked and ice cream but nothing else. Someones head was going to be eaten if we didn’t find some food soon.
As soon as we got into town we stopped at the first falafel shack and then on to find shawarmas so that everyone was happy again.
In our haste to get food no one had checked the open times of Karak's Castle and next thing we knew, it had closed 5 minutes ago. With full bellies we got back in the car and heading off towards Amman.
On this leg of the trip Carter began to bring the drone out, so we would stop at every mountain on the side of the road, run to the top, Carter sets up the drone, we are all posing for our great photos only to find out that the camera had started to play up! none the less these hills provided us with some of the most amazing views of the terrain in Jordan, an absolute delight for us to see.
Eventually we made it back to Amman, driving through the darkness. we dropped the car off and back to the Ritz Carlton we headed.
The end of our fantastic road trip was upon us with two new friends. The first travel buddies of our trip, they had set the standard high and it was going to be hard to beat.
See you guys in Toronto soon!
The next day the Aussies went to Aqaba, a southern city on the Red Sea, and we had a free day in Amman once again. We finally did what I had wanted to do for the three or four days we were in Amman previously... we went to the mall on the rich-side of town and got me a Starbucks and Carter a Big Mac. So Carter could scratch yet another country off his list of "Big Mac's around the world!"
The next morning we caught the public bus to Wadi Musa, the village essentially created and set up for mass tourism to one of the seven Wonders of the World, Petra.
We arrived to Wadi Musa in the afternoon and booked ourselves into our first dorm we’ve stayed in a while. As we walked into our room, we saw this big friendly beard that we recognized. Gabe and Helena were not only at the same hostel, they were the same room as us! They showed us around town and how to do Wadi Musa on the cheap because the entire city was a tourist trap if you didn't work hard to find the authentic local restaurants and grocery stores at low prices.
April 5th: Carter's birthday!
We woke up early today because it was Carter's 29th birthday and we had reservations at the 5-star Marriott in Wadi Musa, WOOO!!! We wanted to check in as early as they would humanly possibly allow us, so we could absolutely bask in the luxury we were 100 percent not accustomed to. Please note: we booked this on points - that once again Carter had accumulated at his previous job - as there is absolutely no way this was in the budget (even for a birthday!)
We paid an insane 5JD ($10CAD) to get to the Marriott, that was only 5km away, crazy expensive! Of course, the Marriott was perched on the highest hill in Wadi Musa looking over all the lesser-hotels in town. This unfortunately gave the local taxi drivers a pitiful reason to charge so much for a quick 5 minute lift "my friend, this place is on top of big big hill, I use much gas for this drive to go up hill"
We arrived and were welcomed into the Marriott's beautiful lobby at 9:00am (yes - we were desperate to soak up every single second in this hotel that we were legally allowed to as paying customers). We were treated to a Turkish coffee and were told our room was not ready yet (duh, has anyone ever checked in that early to a hotel?!) but that we could enjoy ourselves in the lobby lounge until it was ready. Not only did we enjoy the Turkish coffee but we also moved onto the three different teas that we complimentary in the lobby as well! We made sure we stuck with our motto "if its free, it's for me"
After an hour or so, we were escorted to our room. The room was a REAL treat for us... it even came equipped with a robe and pair of slippers for the birthday boy which he did NOT take off the entire duration of our stay.
That night, we were treated to a deliciously filling meal and celebratory birthday drinks courtesy of our amazing, thoughtful and very loving friends, James and Clare, as a birthday gift to Carter. We enjoyed the dinner so much, we forgot to take a photo BEFORE devouring it! Oops!
It was one of the fanciest dinners we have had on our trip to date... and Carter wore his birthday slippers to the occasion.
The next morning, we woke up at 5:00am to be at Petra by 6:00am, the time the gates opened. Our entrance was "free" because we had purchased a Jordan Pass which we recommend everyone doing if they plan on ever visiting Jordan for more than three days.
PSA: a Jordan Pass is available to anyone planning on staying in Jordan for more than three days (to encourage tourists to not just do day trips in to Petra from surrounding countries.) It has to be purchased before entering the country and costs $99USD BUT it includes your visa ($75) and major attractions entrance fees. The visa and Petra entry fee ($50) alone make this purchase well worth it.
When we entered, we were one of a handful of other visitors and we again cannot recommend this enough!! To walk along the canyons of Petra in complete silence is unheard of, and even more so, to be completely alone, looking up at the Treasury or Monastery in awe, is well worth the early wake up.
The city itself is accessed through a 1.5km stretch of gorge called The Siq. It's like walking back through time, as you can easily imagine having a powerful river flowing through these crevasses long ago... and then to have it transformed into an ancient entrance to a hidden mountain city. Craziness.
After 15 minutes of walking through the narrow, curvy sliver in the rock, it opens up to the jaw-dropping Al-Khazneh (also known as The Treasury) that stands at a staggering 128feet high and 82feet wide. This masterfully-crafted, head scratching, work of art was carved out of a sandstone wall.
It was beautiful!!! But we didn't spend too much time admiring it as we knew we wanted to get up to the Monastery before more tourists came in. Right in front of the Treasury is where the local Bedouins set up their shops, and hang out with their camels for tourists to take photos with in front of the Treasury. This space was filling up quicker than we anticipated, so we took off for the hike up to the Monastery.
Petra is an ancient civilization that is still a mystery of who inhabited it and how it was built. Here are some of the sights throughout the Rose City:
It took another 20-30 minutes for us to reach the Monastery. The Ad Deir (Arabic term for monastery) is the second most popular structure within Petra and for good reason. It stands at a whooping 50 meters high and 45 meters across. We were glad we started out so early in the morning because one, it was only us and the Monastery for at least 30 minutes and two, it was getting freaking hot out! At least we did the climb in the fresh morning air.
By 10:00am, the camera's battery was dead and we were both sweaty, thirsty and ready to head back. As we hiked down and out of Petra, we were SO incredibly proud that we woke up early enough to avoid the hoards and hoards of people that now inhabited Petra. There were hundreds of people milling about at the Treasury; sitting on it's front steps so you could not get a picture of the famous building without 75 randoms in your frame. There were girls in flowing dresses and floppy brimmed hats, with their PHOTOGRAPHERS and lighting boards, taking photo after photo for Instagram; Chinese tourist with selfie sticks paying outrageous amounts of money to sit on a camel (and not even move); and Bedouin hustlers trying to sell you overpriced souvenirs. Good riddance Petra, we out. If you need us, WE POOL SIDE CHILLEN AT DA MARRIOTT BABY!
We escaped to the quiet and serene landscape of the pool LOL. We didn’t leave until 5:00pm that night! Unfortunately, after the highest of highs, we had to return to the lowest of lows and checked ourselves back in to the Valentine Inn hostel where we spent the night in a 14 person dorm room...*sigh*
The next day we shared a cab with two nice travellers from Croatia and Germany to the land of Wadi Rum. The great desert that Lawerence of Arabia and the Martian were filmed. We got dropped off at the visitors center, met back up with the mates Helena & Gabe, and shortly after, our tour guide Majed came to pick us up. We enjoyed tea at his home before his cousin picked us up in the open air jeep for the day tour of Wadi Rum.
We visited the Lawerence Springs:
We climbed a great big red sand dune which was a first experience for us! Carter and Gabe tried to sand board down it with a broken board but in the end, it didn't work but the views were amazing:
So we all ended up running down the massive dune, and spent the rest of the day getting red sand out of...everywhere:
The next attraction was a massive canyon, that you had to scale along a narrow walkway through but it was a dead end. Carter climbed up to see if there was anything beyond where we were stuck... but there wasn't. We're still perplexed of why this is an attraction that guides would take a tourist to?!
We realized it was because during our brief walk, our guide could fit in a quick nap. We legit woke him up and he took us for a lunch break. Our guide was hilarious; he did a great impression of all the nationalities he’s hosted for the last 25 years. He didn’t know how to “speak” Canadian so we taught him to say "eh" after his sentences and to refer to Canada as the Great White North. The rest of the day he would say stuff like "This sun is so god damn hot...EH!" Yelling EH, and laughing hysterically afterward. We hope he drops it on some Canadians in the future.
After lunch we saw a mushroom rock...
We then went to another canyon where you could climb to the top of a massive natural bridge:
And then ended the day at our very own sunset point. This was the best experience, to watch the red hot day's sun turn into a glowing hue over Wadi Rum's super unique landscape. After the sun went down, the American with us yelled "Wow! What a show!" and started a solo slow clap. His genuine sincerity is what made Carter and I decide to adopt this hilarious reaction to sunsets and continue to say if after any "show" to date.
After sunset, we drove in the dark desert (which was an awesome experience in itself) to the Bedouin camp we had booked with Majed. The camp was tucked away between two huge rock formations and had only a few traditional Bedouin tents to sleep in. It was beautiful.
A traditional Bedouin dinner was prepared for us; cooked by the sun's heat in a barrel buried in the sand. Majed dug up the barrel top, brushed the remaining sand off the lid and pulled out the entire dinner! Fall off the bone chicken, roasted tomatoes, onion and potatoes. Accompanied by kitchen prepared green salad, rice and of course, pita bread. After dinner we had tea and enjoyed conversation with other people staying at the camp. Bedouin tents are very “family” oriented and cozy, the atmosphere encourages conversations over traditional sage tea.
Finally, a sleep with dead silence! No coughing or horking, no hostel banter, no horns, no dogs, no roosters. Silence. That night, we both slept like the rocks that surrounded us. So deep that we actually all woke up kind of groggy! But as we left the serene comfort of our tents, fresh breakfast was being served. Hummus, cheese spread, yoghurt and fig jam, the overdone boiled eggs and yep, you guessed it, pita bread.
After that, Majed personally drove us back into the village to a cab that was waiting to take us to Aqaba.
The thing with Jordan is that the tourism is catered and geared towards those without budget; hiring a driver, renting a car for the entire duration of their trip, taxi'ing down the entire country, and staying at Hilton resorts. Jordan hasn’t quite figured out how to cater to budget travellers and budget travelers haven’t quite figured out how to travel Jordan on a shoestring. It’s really quite difficult, you have to team up for power is numbers, like we did a few instances with the Australians, German and Croatian. However, the beauty is you're meeting new friends around the globe.
Exhibit A of Jordan being too expensive (the most expensive country we've been to thus far) is having to give Couchsurfing a try for our first time. Couchsurfing is a method of free accommodation for travellers; they use a website to pick a host who is willing to let travellers quite literally sleep on their couch (or extra bed, if they have one). In exchange may be cooking your host a meal, hanging out with them, having good conversation, or just simply, they are travellers themselves so they are paying it forward.
Once again, our saviours, Helena and Gabe arrived in Aqaba a day or two ahead of us and were nice enough to ask their Couchsurfing host, Andrew, if we could come crash as well. Andrew was nice enough to say yes and we arrived in Aqaba that day. Andrew was an nice English bloke who was teaching at an international school.
We spent two days in Aqaba milling about and decided it was time to make our way to our next destination of Egypt. We did some research of how to get there: through Israel or via the Red Sea. To avoid any conflicts of having an Israeli stamp in our passports, we decided to ferry across the Red Sea to Egypt.
Our ferry took off at 11pm that night. As we waited for our ferry, we decided to go to South Beach and snorkel the Red Sea and we were blown away!! The state of the coral and array of sea life was absolutely incredible.
Exhibit B of Jordan being too expensive; we hitchhiked to the ferry terminal because we were saving our last remaining JD for a drink on the ferry. The ferry was scheduled to arrive in Egypt at 2:00am - scheduling that we found very, very odd (and maybe slightly illegal or else why would they choose these times??) The ferry was ALL Arabic men... and Carter and I. Oh, and after spending some time on the ferry we found out that there was one other tourist, an old, very very lost soul.
When the ferry docked, Carter and I lined up to receive our Egyptian entry stamps and the guard asked us where the other white person was..?? What!? just because we were caucasian, and he was caucasian, we were assumed to know him?? Carter and I joked to each other. Coincidentally, we did know where he was sitting, so I went to retrieve him and brought him to the guard. We were then all escorted together off the boat and to border security. They scanned our bags, looked at our passports and sent us into an office to buy our visas. Thankfully, I read up on the visa process (byproduct of being deported = major border crossing anxiety) and knew that because we were landing in Sinai, Egypt - we had to pay for a different visa that allowed us to exit Sinai to Cairo and the rest of the country. Carter and I were armed with the right amount of USD to pay for said visas, knew where we were staying that night, and where else we would travel in Egypt. Which altogether, made this boarding crossing process quite simple and easy.
Our lost soul friend from the UK who we will guess was 70, however, was having a rough go at this particular time in this life. The man has long grey hair, with a few dreads intertwined, a Thailand t-shirt, at fishnet vest with various pins attached to it, ripped pants, weathered leather flip flops with even more weathered feet. In our very brief convo he told us the following...
- He was British, but hadn't been back in 15 years
- He was coming from Cambodia, where he's lived for the last 8 years
- "Someone" booked him a flight to 'Amman'... He wanted to fly to 'Oman'
- He got to Amman, realized he wasn't in Oman and still wanted to fly to Oman
- He found out flights to Oman were expensive from Amman, so he took a bus to Aqaba, to go to Egypt on this ferry, to get to Egypt, to fly from Cairo!
- Now that he was going to be in Egypt, maybe he would stay, maybe he would go to Cairo to fly, maybe not.
- He doesn't know where he's staying once he arrives in Egypt that night
- He has no money on him, or know the currency
...The Egyptian officers are just shaking their heads, informing us we need to wait for him at each station, and finally just brush him through customs into their country! But... only on the condition that we (yes - CARTER AND I) take him with us to the hostel we're staying at and pay for his cab to ensure he gets there safely! What the ! Haha we could only laugh at what a strange series of events had taken place.
We held up our end of the deal and got him there safely at 3:00 in the morning. The next day we ran into our British buddy, he informed us he would likely stay there for a week..."it's nice here, and it's cheap...thanks". We wished him all the best and left the hostel with our confidence restored, I mean, if that dude can do this travelling thing...literally anyone can :)
Carter Bender & Brittany Wilson left Toronto, Canada to travel the world. Where will they be next? Follow their #cbwtravels blog to find out!