It has been a minute….or about 6 months worth of minutes. I hope you are well and having a great start to 2015. Hard to believe that it is in fact 2015 and that we are a few days shy of January being over. I have truly missed the blog and am overjoyed to be writing a post again. I am also very thankful for a few sweet friends who continually encourage me to keep writing and share my life with others through the blog.
I left things off last July with a travel series based on our trip to Italy. And today I kick off, what I am hopeful to be, another series of posts about our recent travels to the Middle East. For somebody who had never traveled internationally (beyond Mexico) until I was 26 years old, these trips have been incredibly special and memorable. Never did I think I would be traveling to two continents in 1 year. I realize that not everybody has the opportunity to travel as much as we do, so I do not take it for granted in the least bit. Traveling for us, especially before Lord-willing we start having children, is something we value and enjoy doing together. With that being said, let me dive in.
A few months ago, our friend Russell mentioned that he and his girlfriend were planning to get married in January but that he was not proposing yet because it was too hot in Abu Dhabi. My initial reaction to this was “We love you Russell, but are you really asking us to travel halfway across the world for a supposed wedding?” Jordan, on the other hand, was all in regardless of whether or not they were officially engaged or not. So per usual, he convinced me that we must go and after realizing that we had enough miles to get two round trip tickets, it was a no-brainer.
Although the UAE was our final destination, we managed to squeeze in a day trip to New York City before flying over to Jordan where we spent three days traveling up and down the country. Since we had an 8-hour layover in JFK airport and because I had never been to NYC before, we decided to take an Uber into the city and do some exploring with a couple of Jordan’s swimmer friends from Mizzou. Amazingly, we managed to hit most of the major spots in the city within the 4 hours we had. I remember it being VERY cold, crowded, loud, and buzzing with this energy that I definitely haven’t felt before. I would love to visit for longer sometime when it is nice and warm.
Before we knew it, we were back to JFK airport and excitedly ready to board our plane for the 11-hour flight to Amman. After learning that our first flight to the Middle East was going to be on the Royal Jordanian Dreamliner, Jordan (okay I did too a little) completely geeked out and started watching YouTube videos, reading blogs, and telling everyone all about this Dreamliner we were going to fly. So our expectations for this airplane were set pretty darn high. Expectations are a scary thing you know…
So we boarded the aircraft around 10:00 PM and the minute we walked onto the plane, Jordan says “This is not the Dreamliner” in a super sad tone. I saw hardwood floors and assumed it was because it is nicer than our floors at home. But he was correct and we concluded that at some point since we booked the ticket, the aircraft changed. Beyond that, I will say that the service of Royal Jordanian compared to Ethiad which we flew coming back home was a completely different experience. Let’s just say, if we travel back to the Middle East, I would choose Ethiad.
After 11-hours of watching movies, reading, and anything else to keep myself busy, we landed safely in Amman, Jordan around 4:00 PM. I intentionally chose not to sleep on the flight so that I would sleep well that evening. As soon as we got off the plane, we were faced with long lines of people waiting to get through Passport Security check and we also learned that we both must purchase a Jordanian Visa. That was an unexpected 40 JD per person (roughly $113 USD). This was also the first time on this trip that I felt completely out of place. Tall, pale, blonde girl among a sea of dark-haired and dark-featured individuals.
After we picked up our luggage, a driver picked us up and took as 40 minutes north to our hotel. Besides carrying a Jordan flag in the homecoming parade last fall at the University where I work, I knew absolutely nothing about the country. I now know that Jordan’s capital, Amman, is the most populous city is Jordan. The city is quite hilly with elevation ranging from 2300-3600 feet. The climate is typically pretty warm, I mean it is near the desert. However, when we were there the city was just recovering from a Winter Storm in which everything pretty much shut down at 5:00 pm. Therefore we had no other choice but to eat at the hotel and stay in.
We stayed up until barely 9:00 pm that evening and slept fairly well. The next morning we got up, had some breakfast, took a taxi back to the hotel where we rented a car, and drove down south three hours to Petra! But more on that in the next post, and until then, enjoy this humorous picture of a truck we drove by on the road. This shepherd chose the faster route.
See ya next time! Have a great day.