|Greetings friends and family,
We are in Dahab on the Sinai Peninsula. We have a lot of catching up to do since we last wrote. We stayed at Wadi Musa just outside the ancient city of Petra a few days back and took a minibus into Petra for the day. It was incredible! We spent the day with our mouths hanging open at the wonder of it all. We hired a guide and that was very helpful in learning so much about what we were seeing as well as lots of good information on Jordan. We chose to walk into the city rather than take the donkeys which we were told are often mistreated, so we chose to walk along the pavement where you can still see the ruts from chariots. Plus we were able to stop and see various things along the way which we might have missed. When we got to the end of the narrow siq or gorge, our guide asked us to close out eyes and walk forward a bit and then when we opened them, there through the narrow opening was our first glimpse of the Treasury, one of Petra's best preserved and most impressive temple facades. The change from the dark gorge to the bright light and the scale of the momument which is over 40 m high and has two tiers was amazing. We spent the day wandering and as the sun got hotter, we called it a day. We walked back among more donkeys and owners yelling "Taxi, Taxi" trying to get us to ride them out but we continued to walk. We found things in Jordan a lot more expensive than anywhere on the trip.
The next day we went to Wadi Rum which at first appeared to be a barren desert. But as we got further into it, it too was amazing in its rock formations, colors and vast openess. This is where Lawrence of Arabia lived among the Bedouins for 20 years. We were scheduled to take a jeep safari and then camp with the Bedouins that night. Well, the first sign we see of the "jeeps" is a battered up Toyota truck on the road and it is on fire! We stopped and asked if he needed help but he waved us on as if the smoke pouring out was the usual thing. "Surely those can't be the jeep safari vehicles?" I comment. But when we arrive at the starting point there they are, a bunch of green battered Toyota trucks open in the back with a strung together seat and cushion, so we pile in, 5 to a truck and off we go on a "jar your teeth loose" trip over hill and dale in the midday sun! With the breeze, it was tolerable and again the scenery against the blue sky was magical. The Bedouin camp turned out to be a bust as that particular Bedouin was discovered to be of shady character, so another bush camp which you know Kandie and I love. (Although we were better off food wise as we heard Bedouins like to make soup with the goat head in the middle of it!" We we take off for a desert bush camp in the heat, go off the paved road and do some more wandering and before you know it we are stuck in the sand! Too tired to do anything about it we pitch our tents and cook a meal and head for bed. The next morning we spend an hour or so digging out the truck which is where the fine print comes in, that part of the itinerary from Dragoman which said, "Would you be willing to help dig out the truck if it became stuck?" It was quite the thing with all of us dragging these iron grates, digging out sand, putting them under the truck (named Josh) and then repeating this many times while cheering Josh every time to get up the next sandy hill before getting stuck again. We must have looked like a strange tribe carrying these iron things and running after the truck to each successive hill to do it again. Eventualy we got out and then were late for our ferry to take us across the Gulf of Aquaba but we did make the 11 am ferry just barely. It took 3 hours to cross and then another 2 hours at the border for checking this and that and paperwork while we sat in the bus in the sweltering sun. Finally left at 5 pm for another 2 hour drive to Dahab where we arrived at Mohammed Ali camp which is actually a series of campstyle rooms right on the water. We all headed for the showers and then had a meal outdoors in the lovely evening breeze. We are like kids in a cany shop, excited over everything, toilets that flush, real hot water, balmy breezes, shops with all kinds of treasures and two whole days to just chill out and go anywhere. Some of our group is going diving today and tomorrow as that is a big thing. we are content to lay on the beach and take it easy. Yesterday Kandie said she didn't know if she could face another day with pretend oatmeal would give anything for a piece of toast and a "normal" cup of coffee and low and behold today we got it, a real breakfast by the sea with yogurt, fruit, toast, hard boiled egg and a decent cup of coffee. we are thankful every day for our time together and all that we are seeing, and we laugh at all our predicaments. It's the only way to get through! Let us hear from you; it's great to hear from home. We are learning to appreciate everything as evidenced by my comments this morning, "Yippy, we have towels, or the water isn't that cold, or maybe we could eat that and not get sick!"
Love, Gail and Kandie
PS we will be here another day and then to to St. Katherines monastary and then on to Cairo.