Chasing the sun

Dec. 1, 2011 (day 197) Jordan

From Petra I consequently followed the King's Way, a scenic road which goes along main Jordanian mountain ridges. That meant another climb to about 1650m, which proved to be easier than I expected and resulted in great views of the rock city and it's surroundings. The sun was giving nice warmth, but not too much of it, making the uphills not so unpleasant.

The last sight of Petra

The last sight of Petra

This, however, changed in the evening. The closing of Petra complex was announced by a stream of speeding buses, carrying package tourists away, perhaps to Aqaba or Wadi Rum. With the sun setting, the temperature plunged and soon I was forced to dress up in winter clothes. Fortunately, as soon as I reached the highest point of the route, I saw the Desert Highway in the distance. From there it was all the way down. I descended as much as possible before it got completely dark. This resulted in acceptable temperatures overnight and good sleep. Just before that, I was stopped by curious policemen, where one of them spoke some Polish words learned during a peacekeeping mission in Kosovo. After short talk I was given fresh tomatoes and wished a good ride. In Jordan I had a few of similar meetings, and the police always seemed to be friendly and helpful.

Cold and empty

Cold and empty

The next day was pure relax. The remaining 85km to Aqaba were almost constant downhill, taking me away from cold heights and bringing to the warm coast of the Red Sea. This was eighth sea on my way, and I had been looking forward to that moment. Warm nights finally!

The city of Aqaba, being the only port of Jordan, is a huge transport hub. Fortunately, it is well organized, and the trucks are redirected away from the city, which looks modern and clean. It seems that each of the most expensive hotel companies has a resort there, and people on the streets and in the shops speak a variety of languages. The downside is that, except for a small bazaar district, everything is quite expensive there.

I skipped the city, heading to a beach close to the Saudi border. This place had been recommended to me as a free camping. Indeed, beside hotels and commercial, closed camps, there is a part of the beach where one can pick up a tent for free or rent one for few dinars. I managed to have the long awaited bath just before the sunset.

Aqaba on the right, Israeli Eilat in the background

Aqaba on the right, Israeli Eilat in the background

On the next day, however, the northern wind grew stronger and I was shaking just of the thought of swimming. Instead, I caught a ride to the city in order to look for a ferry. My tent was being watched by a boy working in the beach bar, in exchange for riding my bicycle.

Although the end of Aqaba bay is a point where four countries meet and tens of ships come and go every day, the ferry connection between Jordan and Egypt is a monopoly of AB Maritime company. The result is obvious: 65USD for the ticket and a "flexible" timetable, which means that the ship usually leaves few hours late. In addition, due to some "technical difficulties" recently, only the slow boat remained in service. With overland crossing of Israel being impossible, I had no other option.

After coming back to the beach I realized that my bike got new dents and scratches like it had ridden another few thousands kilometers in rough conditions. Good that I was planning major repairs in Cairo. My relations with the kid became much colder, but still quite positive. We tried to kill the time playing cards, while the wind still kept the beach completely deserted and empty. This continued over the next day, and I just packed up in the afternoon and left to the harbour.

As it was in Syria, in Jordan there is also a significant mess on the border. The new departure tax is 8JOD, instead of 5JOD, as the instructions on the ticket had misinformed me. Of course there is no ATM in the port and the closest may be found in the city, some 7km away. The first step of Egyptian immigration takes place on board and the ship does not leave until it is finished. With the boarding scheduled at 10:30PM, we finally left about 3AM. The airplane seats in a crowded hall resulted in almost sleepless night.

Before coming to Jordan I had been expecting it to be much more expensive and less hospitable from Syria. In fact, I was hugely surprised. People in this country were wonderful, perhaps the most friendly so far. And beside the main tourist attractions and their surroundings, the prices were quite low.

Having skipped Wadi Rum and other desert attractions, I have reasons to come there again. And, of course, I have brothers in Jarash.

Comments:

Michał
Michał
9 years, 10 months ago
Coś z widokiem trasy nie tak: "Ta trasa jest prywatna, jest jeszcze nie oddana z emes do użytku."

Szerokiej drogi!
mama
mama
9 years, 10 months ago
A my narzekamy na naszą komunikację! Poproszę więcej optymistycznie słonecznych widoków!!!U nas słońce od dzisiaj już nie wschodzi :). Trasy dalej nie widać :)
JbbiAzrAOl
JbbiAzrAOl
9 years ago
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