Day 133…Aqaba- Getting to grips with the middle east!

Salaam,

My route over the last few days.
Jerusalem to Aqaba

I stayed in a youth hostel in Jerusalem. It was a 2 man dormitory but by 11pm I was still the only guest on the room so it normally meant that I would be alone for the night. I guessed wrong. At 2:30am a weird old man strolled into the room. He was my roommate. Anyways I quickly removed my stuff from his bed and tried to go back to sleep, but my old man friend wanted to start a conversion while boiling the kettle and preparing his soup. Its 2:30am my man!

So after about 2min he saw that I was in no mood for a chat. He then advised me that he is not tired so he will be reading in the lobby. I was like “do whatever you want man, just boil your kettle over there aswell then”. He did that and I never saw him again!

So the next morning I left early for the border of Jordan. But first I took a ride through Jerusalem.

Old city Wall
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It is quite surreal standing next to history that shapes our life’s and believes. But there wasn’t time to waste I needed to hit the road and cross to Jordan.

The West Bank
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I rolled up at the something Shaik border post, the one closest to Jerusalem. After basically crossing the border the Israelis turn me back and said that the Jordanian’s wont issue me a visa at this border. I had to backtrack 150km to the one further north. So I did and eventually arrived at the correct Israeli border post. They first made me unpack everything on the bike, seat aswell to check it on the x-ray machine. After they were satisfied that I was no threat to them the last 1km in Israel they waved me through and asked me to pay a $30 border tax. All legit as I paid with a credit card and also the only country to date that charges you for leaving!

Crossing into Jordan was a less difficult affair. I went up to emigration and they said “O, South African. You don’t need a visa. Welcome to Jordan!” 150km backtrack for nothing!

They then also proceeded to check my cough medicine and couldn’t understand what a Vitamin C supplement was. Nonetheless a 20JD ($30) customs tax was paid, which I am sure went to the official. Its hard to try and put up a fight when they smile at you and say “read here it’s saying you must pay here” when everything is in Arabic. You just smile and wave!

Jordan’s palm tree farms
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Getting close to the lowest point on earth. Here it is 300 meters below sea level.
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The Dead Sea
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The mountain road across to Petra
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Dana Valley
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I stopped for some bread in a small town and was happily greeted by a few Jordanians. They offered me a chair and asked where I was from etc etc etc. The locals were really friendly, but the drivers are a bit insane and I had 2 close calls where the oncoming driver just continued in my lane forcing me to take to the sidewalk.

I pulled in late afternoon in Petra. My first day was great. Long but glad to be moving again. I found a small hotel as camping was out of the question after the day I had. The manager and I negotiated a price and they invited me to break the fast with them. Its Muslim world and the month of Ramadan.

“Upside down” That’s what they call it in Arabic.
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This morning I was up early and ready for my trip down to the Red Sea and the town of Aqaba. But first I had to pop in to Petra. I thought that it would be a quick 1 hour sightsee but I was dreadfully wrong. I must have walked 12km and spent 6 hours walking around in the dessert heat! It was worth it though.

The entrance to Petra and my new head gear.
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Walking through these passage ways was the only shelter from the sun.
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Checking to see if my head gear was allright.
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The old Treasury
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These 2 kept almost falling of the donkeys. I wanted to suggest a camel but thought the better of it.
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The Tombs
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The 800 steps towards the Monastery
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The Monastery at last.
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This kid kept singing for water so I gave him some as his singing was terrible.
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Some of the sights
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I left Petra and headed towards Aqaba.
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After a leisurely 120km I reached Aqaba and the Red Sea.
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Tomorrow I’ll try to catch the ferry to Egypt, if it’s too expensive I will cross into Israel again and then start the journey south through Egypt to hopefully the last ferry of my trip. The Aswan-Wadi Halfa ferry.

Cheers
Riaan
Aqaba, Jordan

Info:
Fuel: $1.1 per liter. Only found 90 octane. Petrol stations are scares.
Visa: SA citizens don’t need a visa
Border: Cant cross at the Jerusalem border without Visa. North and Southern Borders ok for issuing of Visas.
Roads: Little bit dodgy.

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4 responses to “Day 133…Aqaba- Getting to grips with the middle east!

  1. Petra is mooi he! As ek reg kan onthou was die Ferry van Aquaba na Nuweiba in Egipte omtrent so 50US dollar, dit is nou 3 jaar terug, dit vat omtrent so uur tot uur en ‘n half. Hoop jyt jou Egiptiese visa, dis gratis maar jy kort een. Sterkte en welkom terug in Afrika!

  2. You certainly look the part with the head gear! I’ve had the same issue at the border, they explained that its exit tax that is always applied, but is included in the airport taxes, so you don’t normally see it. It will cost you that amount again if you go through Israel into Egypt. Hope you read this in time to take it into account when making your calculations.

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