Tuesday, April 7, 2009

A Landscape of Merry and Desperate Drought

So, as I implied in my last post, I went to Wadi Rum. Again, gorgeous, indescribable landscapes. I took lots of pictures, but I don't think they did it any justice. We'll see when I get them onto a bigger screen. Also: It rained. In the desert! Not very much, but it did lead to some impressive views (that probably didn't photograph well).

Then, there was some excitement getting to Amman, where I am now. So the tour was 45 JD through my hotel, which I had been led to understand was all-inclusive. Not wanting to haul my main backpack along on the minibus, I left it in my hotel, taking just my day bag and sleeping bag. So on the bus, the guy tells me and the other person from my hotel on the same tour that we're only covered for one direction of transport. It turns out that what our hotel had said was that after the night camping, we get taken back to Rum Village, from which we can catch the bus. Okay, fine. You should've been more clear. But it's 5 J.D. each way, which isn't so bad. Also there's a 2 J.D. entrance fee to the park, which we hadn't been informed of.

So we get into our tour operator, and someone else from the same minibus, but not having booked through the hotel, walks in, and the (British) girl working there explains that it's 35 J.D. for the tour. So our hotel, with the 1 way transport, took a 5 J.D. markup, which is fair.

Anyways, we get back from the tour of the desert and camping in the bedouin camp, and we're led to expect that the bus will swing by the in-town office to pick us up. Except it doesn't. Apparently it was already full, so decided to skip us, and this is a regular occurence on Tuesdays. So, me and the other guy from the same hotel, who also left his bag there, have a couple options: a) hire a taxi (35 JD total, 1.5-2 hours), or b) hitchhike (maybe 5JD, God-only-knows how long). I figure that it's better to make it there faster, from which we're more likely to be able to catch a microbus to Amman. Except, on the way, somehow we bargain with the taxi driver to take us on to Amman for 60JD total, or a bit less if we can find more people in Petra. Except when we get there, apparently all the busses to Amman have left already. So it's just the 2 of us, and the trip that I was expecting to be maybe 5 JD from Petra just 36 hours earlier ended up costing me 30 JD. Hooray for 600% markups due to situation!

Having wandered just a little bit through what I thought was downtown Amman, I'm not sure there is a downtown. It seems like mostly light commercial mixed with light-to-moderate residential areas. I'll wander a bit more and see what I can find. In terms of City-feel, I think if Cairo is New York, Amman feels a bit like Seattle, although I can't yet put my finger on why (it certainly isn't the weather... that's actually quite like home).

Also: for the list of coordinates for the map thingy on the right: right here!

1 comment:

  1. Queen Noor just knighted Stephen Colbet...for making Colbert nation nuk free!