24 hours--that's exactly how long it took to get from the door of my hotel at the Dead Sea to the door of my house in the U.S. It was a good trip--good to go to Jordan, and good to come home again.
Here are a few final thoughts:
1. Jordan is a great place to visit, and I highly recommend it. There's enough to see to warrant a trip of its own, but if you want to combine it with a visit to Israel or Egypt, you can just see the highlights (Petra and Wadi Rum)--though you'll miss a lot.
2. The Dead Sea is amazing. You can't help but float. It is the funniest feeling in the world as the water literally pushes you up. I was floating next to 2 women from Germany (lots of Europeans vacation here), and we were all laughing hysterically. We couldn't say a word in each other's language, but the laughter said it all. Our group spent an entire day there, slapping on mud, washing it off, breathing the air, trying not to get salt in our eyes, and trying not to think about the long flight home the next day.
3. Before I left for Jordan, a friend who's a photojournalist told me, "Jordan is a photographer's dream." She was right. I completely filled my new 1-gig memory card--about 1,000 photos in all. (I'll post some in a separate blog entry.)
4. The good news is that Jordan's tourism infrastructure is still a work-in-progress. The bad news is that Jordan's tourism infrastructure is still a work-in-progress.
It's good news because you won't see Starbucks and McDonald's on every corner (and why would you want to drink a double mocha latte when you can get Arabic coffee with cardamom, or eat a hamburger when you can enjoy plate after plate of hummus, tabbouleh, and babaganoush?). It means when you climb all 850 steps at Petra, you won't find shops selling t-shirts that blare, "I climbed Petra."
But the lack of a well-oiled tourism infrastructure means you sometimes have to put up with spotty service, there won't be nearly as many opportunities to shop as you'd like, and it's easier to take an organized tour than it is to venture off on your own. It's a trade-off, and personally I'd rather endure spotty service than more McDonald's.
5. The security leaving Jordan's Queen Alia International Airport was the tightest I've ever seen--much tighter than leaving Israel. I lost count of how many security checks we went through. Carry-on luggage went through at least 3 x-ray machines plus hand searches. I was patted down twice and shall we say very thoroughly (by veiled women in curtained booths). There's no international standard for what you can and cannot take on board; we were allowed to take water bottles, but almost lost all our gels and liquids that we carefully placed in zip-lock bags. Thankfully we were allowed to take them with us.
6. More and more of my luggage these days is devoted to cords, rechargers, and other electronic equipment. There are phone rechargers, battery rechargers, camera downloaders, laptop cables, wireless mouses, etc. etc. A lot of that has to be in carry-on luggage.
7. I'm a new fan of thyme and sage, which are used in abundance in Jordanian food. Who knew you could put them in your tea?
8. "No Jag-Lag" tablets work. I dutifully took mine upon each take-off and landing, and about every 2 hours in between. I didn't have any jet-lag when I arrived in Jordan, nor when I got home. You can find them at www.nojetlag.com or your local health-food store.
9. I'm going to rent Indiana Jones and the Last Crusade (filmed at Petra) and Lawrence of Arabia (filmed at Wadi Rum).
10. I couldn't find a Jordanian national costume for my collection of national costumes (see #4 above re lack of tourism infrastructure), but did find a beautiful shawl made of camel's hair. (I think I rode his brother through Petra.)
Thanks for making the Jordan adventure with PawPaw and me. (Yes, maybe someday we'll add a Jordan book in the Adventures With PawPaw series.)
I'll post the promised photos in a separate blog entry. Meanwhile, stay tuned for more adventures with PawPaw and Diana.