Sunday, August 13, 2006

Day 2 - Jerash and Dead Sea

Breakfast at the Lara (Palm) Hotel and off north to Jerash past a huge Palestinian refugee camp (100,000) through lush valleys, pine forests and masses of cube houses in Amman and surrounding villages. The architecture is largely free from the excesses of an unplanned environment.

Jerash was well worth it - huge southern gate, stadium for chariot racing, superb theatre with great acoustics, aided by hollow drum shapes in the wall supporting the first tier of seats. We had a great time shouting, clapping and reciting Shakespeare. Then the oval space surrounded by columns, similar to Bellini's in front of St Peter's in Rome. The main street is in a fine state with a huge Temple of Artemis, Nymphaneum and collonaded side streets. Lots of Byzantine reuse and reconstruction but still solidly a Roman City with about 25,000 inhabitants. Reminded me of Dougga in Tunisia or Epheseus in Turkey. Everyone had a great time here with Callum asking some good questions. Callum had some lovely mint tea and I had cardamon flavoured coffee - delicious.

Lunch here in the site restaurant was surprisingly good - buffet with lamb in yoghurt, chicken, meatballs, humous, and lots of other salads and dishes, beer (Philadelphia) was palatable.

Then off to the Dead Sea, well below sea level and impossible, we are told, to get a suntan, due to the haze, where we swam, or rather floated around. Callum got water in his eyes, then cut his foot and had some problems, but came back in once he recovered. Stung on my face as I had shaved that morning and it must leave small abrasions on the skin. Water is strangely slimey but very warm. The salt was precipitating out on the bottom and the buoys in the bay. Mud was similar to that at Napflion. Very hot at around 40 degrees! Water level falling at 1 metre per year as there's only one source (River Jordan) and no outlets. A plan's afoot to dig a canal from the Red Sea (175 Km) but this involves cooperation between Israel, Jordan and others.

Been overcharged a coupe of times, but my eye for costs has come in handy - we're all counting up our bills now.

The landscape is difficult to describe - it's stark, stoney desert one minute then lush the next or forest. Planty of wealth about in Amman and within minutes bedouin tents, goats and camels. The creamy, yellow limestone dominates both the landscape and colour of buildings, old and new.

To next hotel in Madaba for a swim in the pool and dinner. Food a bit disappointing here but had a bottle of red wine (Mount Nabeo) and some fun - yes the con tricks have started. Callum is having a great time with Benedict (6) and Laura (14). Others in the party include a builder, banker, management consultant and lawyer. Off to bed now - please comment on posts.

13 Comments:

At 5:29 PM, Anonymous Carl Clark said...

HI
it took us eight hours to get from brighton to scotland everything is still the same niki and pete are back together and everything is going good. been with emma and kirsty today played tennis.after your report mum wishes she was there and may have made the wrong choice.

 
At 7:21 PM, Blogger jordan2006 said...

HAHAHA fools choosing to go to Scotland. This is soooo much fun beats Scotland any day...Sorry!

From callum

P.S. Missing you both.

 
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