Out & about (and up) in Dubai

You can’t help but notice the Burj Khalifa when you are in Dubai. By the way Burj means tower in Arabic. At around 830 metres high it’s not far off being a kilometre into the air. It dominates the skyline and dwarfs all other buildings.

The Burj Khalifa is the tallest building on the right
The Burj Khalifa is the tallest building on the right

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Petra, Jordan

Petra is extraordinary.

The Treasury, Petra, Jordan
The Treasury, Petra, Jordan

A Swiss chap named Burckhardt rediscovered Petra in 1812 and we are so glad he did.  The first sighting of The Treasury as you reach the end of the Siq is just breathtaking.  The spectacle of the whole site is just wonderful.  When you stop to think of the engineering involved in building such a city built into rock faces and that this occurred around the 3rd century BC it is even more amazing. Continue reading “Petra, Jordan”

Jordan, November 2015

Floor tile at the Citadel, Amman, Jordan
Floor tile at the Citadel, Amman, Jordan

I was in Jordan during the 2nd week of November 2015. As I was travelling around it became apparent that tourist numbers were down. On enquiring about this I was told that this was their high season but this year it was like a low season in terms of tourist numbers. I asked what their next real low season would be like Continue reading “Jordan, November 2015”

Amman, Jordan

Amman was originally built on seven hills but has now extended to nineteen. It is hard work getting up and down those hills so, depending where you’re heading, you may want to take a taxi. Taxis in Jordan are expensive. There are no train networks in Jordan only taxis, buses and rental cars. From what I have heard rental cars are reasonably priced but you do take your life into your own hands. The driving is pretty crazy. Nobody sticks to lanes. It’s not unusual to see three cars astride in a two lane highway. I have been white knuckled a few times in the taxi with some of their antics. Having said that their system seems to work.

Today I decided to hang out in the downtown area of Amman. I started at the Citadel which sits on the highest jabal (hill) in Amman called Jabal al-Qal’a. Aside from some great sites such as the Temple of Hercules, the Byzantine Church, the Mosque and the Monumental Gateway/Entrance Hall, there were fabulous views of the city.

Temple of Hercules, the Citadel, Amman, Jordan
Temple of Hercules, the Citadel, Amman, Jordan

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Visiting a Bedouin house in Wadi Rum Village, Jordan

On the way to Salman’s house he became very quiet and then said ‘I want to ask you personal question’. I said that this was ok. ‘In Australia’, he began, ‘Is it tradition for woman to marry?’ I indicated that most women, yes, do marry, but not all. ‘You are not married’. This was pretty much a statement and because he seemed worried about this I was a little naughty and said that my husband had died. I feel very guilty about this now. At the time I felt that in Jordan it was hard for many people (especially in rural areas) to  understand the concept of not getting married. For me to say that I don’t want to get married seemed to worry them. I can understand this as it simply is not part of their culture.

Goats wandering around in Wadi Rum
Goats wandering around in Wadi Rum

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Wadi Rum Part 2

Early morning in Wadi Rum, Aqaba Province, Jordan
Early morning in Wadi Rum, Aqaba Province, Jordan

I was woken by the sound of farm animals (roosters and goats) making their morning sounds and got up at about 5.30am to go for a walk. It was still very cold but walking warmed me a little. I couldn’t actually see the sunrise as it was on the other side of the mountain and would have taken me hours to climb over or walk around the mountain. Everywhere there is soft sand that you sink into making walking for me a slow affair. It was wonderful though to watch the sun hit some of the surrounding mountains and then make its way down those mountains as the sun rose. Continue reading “Wadi Rum Part 2”

In the footsteps of Lawrence of Arabia – Wadi Rum, Jordan Part 1

I had contacted Wild Wadi Rum Desert Adventure website by email and ended up corresponding with a young Bedouin man called Salman. I remember saying at work

‘Guess what I just did at lunchtime?’

No answer.

‘Emailed a Bedouin!’

‘What’s a Bedouin?’, was the answer.

I caught a taxi from Wadi Musa (Petra) to the visitor’s centre at Wadi Rum (it cost JD40 = AUD80) and met Salman who turned out to be a 22 year old Bedouin whose family lived in the Wadi Rum Village. He informed me that the Bedouins don’t really live in Wadi Rum anymore as they have all moved into the village. He was very enthusiastic and told me he had studied at university to become a primary school teacher but had not found work yet.  As we drove out into the wadi (valley) my jaw started to drop. It was both immense and beautiful.

Welcome to Wadi Rum!
Welcome to Wadi Rum!

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On the road again…Amman to Petra, Jordan

The JETT bus from Amman to Petra
The JETT bus from Amman to Petra

I arrived in Amman, Jordan after having no sleep the night before. I’m coming back to Amman so I wasn’t too fussed about falling asleep shortly after checking in to my hotel. It was my birthday and I struggled to stay awake even for dinner which I ended up taking in my room. That night I slept like a baby… Continue reading “On the road again…Amman to Petra, Jordan”

Day trippin’ to Northern Ireland, U.K.

Heading north of Belfast, Northern Ireland
Heading north of Belfast, Northern Ireland

I decided to do a road trip from Dublin into Northern Ireland to check out a couple of Game of Thrones locations. My cousin, Liam in Dublin helped me by sending me directions and I was off on a nice little drive north. Continue reading “Day trippin’ to Northern Ireland, U.K.”

Clonmacnoise and Birr Castle, County Offaly, Ireland

Clonmacnoise
Clonmacnoise

Beginning in the dark ages, Clonmacnoise became a place where Christianity and scholarship prospered and grew. A vast monastic settlement thrived here, with a scriptorium of unequalled craftsmanship, where education, teaching and the arts were revered and where the classics were greatly prized and preserved. Knowledge and learning that went on to be taken to Europe as the Gospels were spread abroad by Celtic Christian monks. Continue reading “Clonmacnoise and Birr Castle, County Offaly, Ireland”