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Hello everyone, hope you're doing well!
We are back with a quick update - we took advantage of an Aramco long weekend (March 30-April 1) to fly out to Jordan with our friends Jeff & Sara. Ever since we've been in Saudi, we have heard that Jordan is one of the most amazing places to visit, as you can see a couple incredible sites - Petra and the Dead Sea. All the stories were correct! We were blown away by the landscape, the culture, and the friendly people!
This map shows where Jordan is in relation to us in Saudi. We are on the east coast of Saudi near Bahrain, where all the yellow markers are. Jordan is just northwest of us and surrounded by Egypt, Israel, Lebanon, Iraq, and Syria.
Here is a zoomed-in map of Jordan. We flew into Amman and stayed at a resort on the Dead Sea, the large water mass bordering Jordan and Israel. Petra is labelled further south in red.
Enough of the maps! Here are some stories and pics...
Petra is a famous archaeological site in Jordan's southwestern desert. Dating to around 300 B.C., it was the capital of the Nabataean Kingdom. Accessed via a narrow canyon called Al Siq, it contains tombs and temples carved into pink sandstone cliffs, earning its nickname, the "Rose City." Perhaps its most famous structure is 45m-high Al Khazneh, a temple with a Greek-style facade, and known as The Treasury.
Petra has been a UNESCO World Heritage Site since 1985. UNESCO has described it as "one of the most precious cultural properties of man's cultural heritage".
In 2001 an initiative was started by the Swiss corporation New7Wonders Foundation to choose the New 7 Wonders of the World from a selection of 200 existing monuments. The results were announced on July 7, 2007.
Petra was an amazing place to visit - a 16 km walk filled with many stops to simply admire the detailed carvings in the mountains. Unbelievable! We'll let the pictures do the talking...
We stopped at the Cave Bar, which is at the entrance/exit of Petra. This bar is the oldest bar in the world, occupying a 2000 year old Nabataean rock tomb. Pretty cool!
Here are a few videos...
1. Video discussing Petra and it's history
2. The famous walk through the tunnel (Al Siq) to The Treasury
3. An artist making a camel out of sand inside a jar
The Dead Sea is along the Israel/Jordan border. It is a salt lake whose banks are more than 400m below sea level, the lowest point on dry land. Its famously hypersaline water makes floating easy, and its mineral-rich black mud is used for therapeutic and cosmetic treatments at area resorts. The Dead Sea is 10x more salty than the ocean and gets it's name from the fact that plans and animals can't live in it.
We stayed at the Holiday Inn Dead Sea Resort. You'll see some pics below. It definitely was not a typical Holiday Inn!
Baptism Site of Jesus
We visited the Baptism Site of Jesus, as it was only 10km from our hotel. The location is called Bethany Beyond the Jordan and is where Jesus was baptized by John the Baptist. This location was visited by Pope John Paul in 2000 and then they did a lot of work to turn it into a tourist site. It became a UNESCO World Heritage Site in 2015.
The actual baptism site is almost dry now since the Jordan River doesn't run there anymore but you can get actual baptism robes and go into the Jordan River - one half is Jordan and the other half is Israel. Don't cross the border in the river though or you will be shot by a border guard. Yes, Jeff was threatened with that! It was quite surreal to see so many religious people baptizing themselves and getting quite emotional over the whole experience.
Other Pics from Jordan, and a few from Saudi
We are sharing these with hopes that some of you may join us on some of these adventures!
June 14-19 - Maldives
Staying at the Constance Moofushi resort in a villa over the sea. Should be beautiful!
July 9-17 - Canada
Still haven't booked flights, but we're planning on being in Calgary for these dates. Lisa will go visit her mom in Ontario for a week before.
August 13-29 - Spain, France, Italy
Should be quite a trip - flying into Barcelona for 3 days, then traveling the French Riviera coast - Montpellier, Arles, Marseille, St.Tropez, Cannes, Nice, Monaco, Monte Carlo, Cinque Terre, and finally flying out of Milan.
November 19-29 - Thailand
Can't wait for this one - heard so many great things. Bangkok, Phuket, Phi Phi Islands, Ko Samui.
T&A2019 - 10 Year Anniversary
We will be joining friends in Cancun for T&A's 10th anniversary in February 2019. Official dates are February 9-16 and we're staying at the Riu Palace Peninsula Cancun. Should be a wicked time, as the hotel is minutes away from many bars and restaurants. Looking forward to another T&A pub crawl and also a night at the famous Coco Bongo! We continue to add more members and are hoping for the biggest T&A party yet!
Hope you enjoyed the pics from Jordan. We'll close off with a couple random pics... a pic from a recent gig with our friend's band (yes, the mullet made an appearance!), our updated travel magnet collection, and a great life motto.
Lastly, lots of change on Saudi Arabia recently - movie theatres will be opening in 2018, ladies don't have to wear abayas in public, and yes...ladies will be allowed to drive in June. Can't believe I'm actually saying those 3 things but changes are happening here. We will end with a recent Coca-Cola ad showing a Saudi dad teaching his daughter to drive. Gotta love this crazy life we have!
Hope to see everyone soon!
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All posts are updated by Jeff & Lisa