A little over a month ago I had an opportunity to visit one of my best friends Kelly in Amman, Jordan. She's working right now on the Syrian border in the UN camps along with UN Women, to help women who have been victims of the war. We were hoping that I could join her to film some of the incredible inititives that the UN Women have established for the Syrian women, but unfortunately clearance didn't arrive in time. Grateful to have spent a week exploring all the wonders of Jordan with my friend Kelly, I can't shake from my mind the stories and horrors that she encounters daily with a nation trapped with nowhere to go- with no plans for their futures.
My friend Kelly is a real hero trying to make a difference, leaving the comfort of her New York apartment and family to be there first hand. Selfless and in grave danger at any moment, yet, she risks it all. So to Kelly and all of those who are risking their lives to protect, comfort, feed, rehabilitate and offer hope to the momentarily hopeless Syrian people who just wants to go back home without the war. You are my hero.
Getting ready to leave for Jordan, I can't lie I was a little nervous as tensions in surrounding countries, Syria, Iran, Egypt, and Isreal kept on escalating. This is why I decided this wasn't the trip to bring Luna on. A trip for a seasoned traveler and being reassured by others who've made this journey, I started
this adventure arriving in the capital city of Amman.
All of our plans were last minute, that included the last rental car in the city, as we took off on trip 2 hours south of the capital to Six Senses Hotel, Eva'son Hot Springs. This was actually the most beautiful hotel we stayed in on our entire trip- but the Hot Springs were so hot it felt like I could have actually cooked inside.
Next we stayed at the Ishtar Kempinski at the Dead Sea, and while it was possibly "the place to be in Jordan" you need a map to get around this metropolis of a hotel. The temperatures were blazing on an average of 44 celcius (110 F ) surviving the blazing heat only by the grace of iced margaritas, pools and shade. We decided the only possible way to enter the already very warm dead sea was at sunrise- and that's how we managed.
The dead sea, the weirdest and coolest feeling- you just bobble around- and yes you can swim. We swam to the opposite bank to snag some of that famous mud to give ourselves the real "dead sea mud treatment". However after you let the mud dry- do not attempt to wipe of the mud from your face in the sea's salty waters. WIthout warning, I took a tragic tumble forward with mass amounts of water through my sinuses, and will never forget how painful that physically was. Hearing loss, salt for days, lungs hurting, and well please don't make the same mistake.
Our next stop was a 4 hour ride through lots of desert to Wadi Rum, where we tried our "GLAMPING" experience in the desert (glamourous + camping). We stayed here at Wadi Rum Nights.
Wadi Rum, home of the Arab revolution and the famous Lawrence of Arabia, pretty much what you'd imagine Mars looks like. Totally lost in the desert in our "glamorous" tents, it was quite sirene. The famous 7 pillars of wisdom and prehistoric carvings cover the sandstone. We took a desert tour we shortened from 4 hours to 2 - because well there is only so much of a bumpy ride we can all handle. A delicious dinner, hookah under a full moon lost in the midst of chaos, you start to understand the love affair T.E. Lawrence had with the arabian desert.
Finally, one night in the Wadi Rum desert was enough for us that we made our way to Petra. I swear I saw a mirage and took a left turn which put us off track for quite a bit- but we finally made it. It's not the best indicated place on the planet- but be sure to ride a horse (tips in cash expected) on the way and out -and bring lots of water.
Once, you have paid your 70 USD entry fee- you have around one kilometer as you enter the Siq- then you arrive to the most famous treasury. No words decribe as you are walking through the sea of walls and get your first glimpse of the treasury. I swear you are reliving Indiana Jones all over again.
The second best surprise is that famous Treasury is only the beginning of an entire ancient city that awaits. I think if I'd need to come back several times before I'd ever see it all. As of today, only 15 percent of this city has been uncovered- and I confirm with my own eyes it truely must be the greatest city that ever existed.
THINGS TO KNOW WHEN VISITING JORDAN
Overall Jordan was a beautiful and welcoming country.
I am not sure I would recommend others to visit now as Isis has recently made its way across the borders.
Bonus however, we practically had the entire country to ourselves.
Dress appropiately - women should cover legs, chest and shoulders
Bikinis are fine in larger resorts where there are other tourists
If driving around the country, have passport and license ready "lots of check points"
Military presence everywhere but they are welcoming
As of July 2015- not a lot of foreign presence
Jordan actually has some great wine
Whatever you do don't leave Amman without trying Hashem's
A good rule of thumb is to stay low key
Stay within the borders aka no day trips into Saudi, Syria or Isreal
Respect their traditions, it's an Islamic Country, so there are things you should understand before you go