It’s liberating to land in a country with no expectations. And the differences between Egypt and Jordan were immediately apparent. The airport in Jordan seems contemporary. The motorway is modern and packed with new cars that KEEP THEIR HEADLIGHTS ON! The roads are paved and not littered with garbage. Egypt￼ is flat. Jordan is hilly. Everything in Egypt seemed to have a film of dust; Jordan seems sparkly with high rise buildings backlit with Vegas colors. But as a friend mentioned, it’s easier to manage 10 million people than 100 million.
Our first morning was spent visiting the most well-preserved Roman village outside of Italy, Jerash. What a surprise! The Roman ruins are highlighted by apartments on the neighboring hillsides. It must have been a beautiful place to live from about 50 AD to 350 AD.
Then we headed towards the Dead Sea. What glorious views from high vantage points of cultivated valleys. A large segment of the Jordanian population is supported by olive oil production. Our tour guide shared memories of his grandmother mashing the olives by hand with a stone and then wrapping them in fabric to extract the ambrosial oil.
Can I tell you how thrilling it is to view the Dead Sea? It’s surrounded by distant mountains that seem softened by a gauzy mist. But seeing it is nothing compared to experiencing it! The water is ten times saltier than any other seawater. I couldn’t float on my stomach because my legs would be ejected, forcing me to roll over (may have something to do with my natural ability to float). Nevertheless, the fun was never ending and made me giggle excessively.
We were soon ready for the mud. For three Jordanian dinars (each dinar is about $1.40) you can help yourself to the pure black mud harvested in certain parts of the sea. Scooping generous amounts, we slathered ourselves in the silky mud. We baked in the sun until my arms wrinkled like prehistoric flesh (didn’t seem to happen to my friends with less flesh). Then we resumed playing in the water. Honestly, my skin felt luxurious after the experience.
After we returned to Amman, we had some local food and strolled through the streets. I’ve appreciated Jordan’s welcome. Tomorrow, to Petra!