When I say I woke up around 6am Friday morning, I mean I opened my eyelids. I had spent most of Friday morning awake, thanks to the rampaging Jordanian doctors. Apparently our tour leader had asked them to quieten down shortly after midnight, with very little success.
So my first bit of advice is if you are going to spend a night ( or two) in one of these camps; try to find out who you will be sharing it with.
Anyhow, I rolled out of bed needing the loo. This was a problem because the toilets were some distance away, and I knew they weren’t going to be pleasant. There were dry toilets in the camp, which means you did what you had to in a plastic bag fitted beneath a toilet seat, then you threw a couple of handfuls of chopped straw on top of your leavings. The loos had been fresh enough when we arrived, but were not going to be so clean after being used frequently by a group of health professionals who had had no interest in going to bed.
After I’d finished in there *shudder*, I was heading back to the tent when I noticed a bunch of people leaving the camp and heading towards a big sand dune to the West. I checked the kids were still asleep, then followed the walkers and was greeted by this sight.
The sun was rising and setting the rock tops alight as it did so.
It was amazing and just about worth the crappy night’s sleep.
I don’t know who the person on the rock was, he wasn’t with our group so must have been one of those pesky doctors. I was absolutely shattered so trudged back to bed for an hour before getting up for breakfast an hour later.
At 8:30 our next adventure turned up at our camp, in the form of camels.
We went off on a short trek to see some more ancient etchings.
These ones look more authentic, I think.
Sitting on a camel while it stands up is weird; you get tipped forward, then backwards and have to hang on for dear life. I wasn’t incredibly comfortable sitting on a camel, to be honest. My sacroiliac joint had been niggling me since Jerash and by the time we were approaching the camp, I was in serious pain.
Luckily we didn’t have to walk far to get to the bus.
Our next stop was Aqaba, which was an hour’s drive away.
Aqaba is Jordan’s only sea port, so is a bustling city, especially on a Friday which is a weekend for the Jordanians. Our hotel very kindly found us rooms we could use the shower in, even though we were 2 hours early for check in. None of us had washed since the previous morning and most of us smelt vaguely like camel, so were all desperate for a shower.
Once we had all washed and changed clothes and were fit to be out in public again, we went for lunch, to a place that served some western dishes. My kids fell on the fries with cries of joy and DD2 scoffed a whole plate of spaghetti bolognese.
Then it was back in the coach to go down to Aqaba harbour for a glass-bottomed boat ride in the Red Sea. The wind was up and the water was quite choppy, so I wasn’t sure we’d see much but we did. There was lots of coral and plenty of fish life; the reefs seemed much healthier than the ones in the Maldives had been.
We even passed over a ship wreck and a sunken tank, which fascinated the kids no end.
There were some divers exploring the ship, so we got the occasional blast of bubbles up against the glass.
Then we anchored up for a bit and some of the kids went in for a swim. I didn’t let ours go in as they are not used to swimming in the sea, and it wasn’t that warm but they were entertained by the older kids and one of the dads swimming under the boat for our amusement.
While we were bobbing around in the middle of the Red Sea, we looked around and realised we could see 4 countries around us. Jordan closest to us, then Saudi Arabia further down, with Israel and Egypt on the other side. So the kids had a bit of a geography lesson while they waited for their friends to dry off and get changed.
Once we got off the boat it was back to the hotel for dinner at a very nice fish restaurant, followed by an early night in an attempt to make up for the lack of sleep the night before.
The next day was going to be our last full day in Jordan and we wanted to stay awake for it.