Monday, March 31, 2008

Foot Gears

Aside from my underwear, my foot wears suffer the most during the Jordan Trip because I didn’t bring along the right gear. Instead of mountain shoes, I brought along my favourite pairs running shoes and sandals. NIKE MENS AIR VAPOR THRIVE RUNNING SHOES.
This is the best running shoes I have ever bought: Synthetic upper with breathable mesh. Tri-Vis Airbag for cushioning. Durable rubber outsole, Light, comfortable and the most important features is it good air flow in and out from the shoes that suit my sweating foot.

I over used it because I forced it on the rocky, sandy and uneven surface in Petra for 14hours from (8am to 6pm) and yet to include those time the night before it. Just hope it last till NIKE produce another great shoes like it. Because its not a popular shoes, its hard to find in shops.

"B.S.F.P.™ Motion Efficiency SystemDuring activity, your foot goes through four motions: braking, supporting, flexing and propelling and follows an "S" shaped center of pressure path. Timberland's engineers have designed B.S.F.P.™ lugs aligned along this "S" path to deliver improved traction and longer wearing performance." From Timberland website.

I should have use this for the Petra for its durability and harder base but I wouldnt want my foot full of sands.

Saturday, March 29, 2008

Jordan Day 1

The day started in chaotic mode, it took me an hour to find Iris's apartment, our meet up point to Sharjah airport. Her apartment is just a few streets away but I am not good in place finding. I spotted Priscilla's car as I stroll around SZ road and manage to find the "elusive" apartment by following her trail.

Then at the airport, there is a problem with Priscilla's air tickets because her passport and ticket are not of same name. That’s the problem I love to have but as Msian I can only hold one passport.
The plane of the budget airline we took is the worst I have ever ride in my entire life. My seat keeps leaning back even after numerous attempts to straighten it. No wonder the stewardess didn’t ask the passengers straighten their seats during take off and landing. Nothing to complain, because this is the cheapest airline in the whole gulf region! Three hours later we touch down at Queen Alia International Airport. After the immigration, this guy helps us to push our bags in trolley. He is like gentle giant and gave me a good first impression of the Jordanian people. He got huge body but a shy face and extremely happy when I took his photo with my hand phone camera.

Isn’t Jordan supposed to have 95% Muslim and officially a Muslim country?
The only kind of liquid that are sold within the airport custom vicinity is Alcohol!!!
That's weird and not traveller-friendly because I am dying for water after holding thirst for three hours to prevent going to the roller coaster like plane toilets
The moment we came out of the custom department, everyone was looking for water. We had no choice but to buy from this Shop inside the airport vicinity. A 0.5litre mineral water cost FOUR-JORDANIAN-DINAR (RM20), that's more expensive than petrol. There is no price tag and that give me the impression this is day light robbery. There are two explanations for this idiotic shop keeper action, either he thinks that we are stupid or he was having illusion that he is selling water inside a 7-stars-hotel.

Then, we took our 3 hours bus ride from Amman to Petra in order not to miss the Petra by Night Tour.

During the bus ride, we stopped at a petrol kiosk's restaurant where we used its restrooms and bought some food. I am alright with giving tips but not tips-demanding!!! I got no ideas that toilet users must give tips to the toilet cleaner aka guard. He was very mean and starts shouting at me like I owe him! I have heard similar story from my friends touring Egypt but experience it personally totally destroy the good image the trolley boy gave me about Jordanian. I am not angry with the Toilet's King because collecting "tips" is the only thing he knows and actually I pity him. If I know they enjoy collecting toilets tips in Jordan, I would have bring billions of Indonesia Rupiah (USD1 = Indonesia Rupiah 9000) to make them happy

All of us are tired and hungry so we bought 13 sets of sandwiches and to our shocking horror, 36 Dinar!!! That's about 3USD a piece from a roadside shop. Well... At least I was prepared to be ripped off as a TOURISTss!!We finally arrive at Petra Town around 7pm after listening to a good long lectures from Alfred about Petra proud history. I could remember little but I am still grateful and astounish by his knowledge. His powerful and sincere presentation definately instill my interest into Petra history. Before this, my intention is just to have a look at this great ancient structures but now I want to know more about its history, the Nabateans and other related stories.

This is our hotel! The 5-star Movenpick in Petra, fanstastic building but nothing compare to Petra itself.
This is the first hotel I enter that need to go throw metal detactor security. I guess it cant be help since there are lot of western tourist which my be the target of militia nearby!
The Petra by Night which come highly rated by ROY! It was Heaven for Roy and Terry because they have Powerful SLR camera to take beatiful night photo. In fact, my camera Lumix can take nothing, either it comes out like snowing scene or all blacks!!! So... all this night petra photos are cetak rompak from the two Pro's facebook album.Under a full moon, it was suppose to be half scary and half misterious experience but there are about a thousand strong toursit in the area, I felt like walking in a shopping mall without electricity. Beside trying not to step on others foot, I got to look out for animal's shits as well. The exhausted me was awaken by the "refreshing" animal shits and the cold night winds.
Finally... Phew!!!
After an hour of walking and dodging shits...

I am There, it was definately worth the sacrifive just to have a glimpse of this majestic Nabatean's strutures. Everyone keep their volume to the minimum to show respect to the Dead as told by the guide at the start of the tour because this was an acient tomb, I was even told to shut up by some old women for talking to much.

I felt bad for not respecting Petra but the next morning, I saw thousands of local traders, horse, donkey, grandma, grandpa, kids, teenagers and all sort of people turn this place into a Market like scenes!!! Then I realised that this SILENT thing is just a marketing gimmick to make the place feel more mysterious.

Monday, March 24, 2008

The Dead Sea

Dead Sea is one of the most spectacular natural and spiritual landscapes in the world. Its rich of natural salts accumulated throughout millions of years and surrounded by a landscape and arid hills descending 400 meters below sea level.

According to our tour guide Alfred, Dead Sea’s water contains more than 35 different types of minerals that are essential for the health and care of the body skin. They are well known for relieving pains and sufferings while nourishing and softening the skin.

Sounds like “The Fountain of Youth”, the perfect story to make women part with their money and clothes.

The salty airs is the natural filter for sunrays reducing chances of skin cancer and overcook skin. The mineral-rich black mud is the most popular among the women, the moment they saw those FREE black mud on the sea side. They start running towards the mud while taking of their clothes like some porn movies.

All the girls are extremely pleased, so happy that everyone spends a fortune for the renowned Jordanian Dead Sea bath salts and cosmetic products. But the biggest spender came out to be a MAN, Roy!!! He wanna exclude Dead Sea the trip but got strong opposition from the 7ladies. Now he buy the most pulak!
The Dead Sea is devoid of life due to an extremely high content of salts and minerals which give its waters the renowned curing powers and beautification qualities. The salt content is nine times that of the worlds’ oceans; you can float in the Dead Sea without even trying, which makes swimming here a truly unique.

Although Dead Sea is located within a Red Alert Zone but there are many luxury seaside facilities. I stayed at the 5stars JW Marriott which located just beside the water and you only need a hand held rocket launcher from Jerusalem to blow up the hotel.

Jerusalem and Bethlehem are visible from the Jordan side of the Dead Sea but it’s not advisable to swim across the Sea. You might be able to dodge the rockets, bullets or even nuclear bomb but natural saltiness of the water can turn you into “Salt Fish” (Ham Yue) by the time you reach the other side.