Tuesday, July 9, 2013

Seven Jordanian Buses: Part 1

Last week we spent 4 days in Jordan. It was my tenth country! I’m in double digits now. The Jordanian border was only about half an hour away, but then the process of crossing the border took about an hour. We had to get our passports checked at the Israeli border and then again as we crossed into Jordan.

We also had to switch buses when we got to Jordan (take note of that- that was bus #1 and bus #2).

The first stop we made was Mount Nebo, which in the Bible is where Moses goes to get a view of the Promised Land.

There’s the view!

Our next stop was Machaerus, which was a fortress/palace owned by Herod the Great and later his son, Herod Antipas. It was the location of John the Baptist’s death (you know...that story where Salome dances, Herod Antipas likes it and says she can have anything, and she asks for John’s head).  

To give some more background, Salome was Herod Antipas’ stepdaughter and niece (that adds a little something gross to the story, right?). Herod Antipas married Salome’s mother Herodias, who was his brother’s wife. This was against the Law of Moses, and John the Baptist spoke out against the king breaking a law. Herodias held a grudge, so when Herod liked Salome’s dance she encouraged her to ask for John’s execution.

The palace of Machaerus was built on a hill to make it more defensible. You can see the hill in the picture on the left.

The picture of me in the middle shows the view from on top of the hill. On the right are remains of the palace. The palace was destroyed by the Romans when it was used as a base by Jewish rebels during a rebellion against Rome.

And one of my favorite pictures from Jordan...

We saw this camel family hanging out on a nearby hill! It was exciting to see camels in the wild. We were completely in the middle of nowhere in the desert.

After Machaerus was when the real fun began. I fell asleep, and then when I woke up 20 minutes later, our bus was sliding backwards down a hill. Oops. The bus tried a few more times to get up the hill, and then it just completely broke down. We pulled over on the side of the road and waited for a new bus to come pick us up. 

The saddest part was watching the other classes' bus pull away and start driving toward the hotel while we were stuck in the middle of the Jordanian desert :(

I waited on the bus with no air-conditioning for an hour and a half. It was over 90 degrees. Then the new bus came (bus #3!). The exciting thing about bus #3 was that it had just come from driving people to the pilgrimage in Mecca in Saudi Arabia. We re-loaded all of our luggage on the new bus, and then were happy to finally be on our way to the hotel, which was still 3 hours away. 

Sadly, our happiness didn’t last for long. Just FIFTEEN minutes later, bus #3 died. The excuse was that it hadn’t had time to cool down and rest after making the hajj. Apparently it was going to take a few hours for another bus to come, so we all got off the bus and stood around in the middle of the desert. By this time things were just funny. The situation was just so ridiculous that we were all laughing.

Me and my friend Kendall took a picture to commemorate this experience. Check out the lovely landscape. We even found some animal skulls right where we took this picture!

Our Jordanian tour guide felt bad, so he was trying to entertain us. First he made us a bonfire. Then he made some calls, and got someone to let us in to an archeological site that happened to be within walking distance.

We walked around these ruins a little, and then finally...more than two hours later...a new bus came (bus #4!). 

We once again re-loaded our luggage and were finally ready for the three hour drive to the hotel. We got there just a little before midnight (the other class got there at 8...), which means we didn’t get any food until then either. Such a Jordanian adventure! It was kind of fun when we were hanging out with the bonfire and the ruins, but it wasn’t fun getting to the hotel that late.

1 comment:

  1. great photos! thank you, camels, for posing on the hill for Riss : )