10 July 2012

Aqaba castle and museum
Break in hotel
Native dancing
Evening on the beach

Today we have an easy day planned.

Aqaba Castle

We started with going to Tourist Info, to find out about our visa. We have a few days left, and we thought it might be fun to spend them in Jerusalem. We are just not sure if we have a multi entry visa. We don’t want to get stuck in Israel.. As it turns out we don’t have a multi entry, but that is not a problem. Jordan will renew our visa for free. The problem is that Israel charges a $38 exit fee per person and Jordan has a 9JD exit fee. A bit too steep for us, as we can only spend about 4 days there. We decide to spend the last days in Jordan and maybe see a few things that we skipped on the way. This means that today is our last day with David and Sofia, as they are going back to Amman tomorrow.

Peeking over the walls of the castle

Andrew and Anna head for the Aqaba Castle south of downtown on the beach. It is only a small castle, but pretty. Unfortunately it is closed for renovation.  There is a lot of this going on in Jordan.  They are reconstructiong elements of all the major archeological sites. We spend some time walking through the museum next door, which is actually really well set up. Lots of info about the castle and Ayla, the old muslim town that was here before Aqaba.  Stories about the Byzantine town, and how they made a deal with Mohamoud to co-exist.  It also details some of the other archeological sites around the area.  This is good, as it is more interesting here, and the sites themselves are usualy just small escavations in the ground, with nothing to see anyway.

Freshly squeezed Fruit Juice!

When the day gets too hot, we stop for a juice at our now most favorite cafe in Aqaba. The coffee yesterday was good, but the fresh juices are amazing. We feel the vitamins hit us.

We sit out the heat of the day in our air conditioned hotel room. After this we meet up with Sofia and David to go online. David needs to book his ticket to Germany. This all takes longer then planned.  Mostly because the place we had planned to do it, with a big WiFi sign out the front does not do it, it is just for playing playstation games.  Anna and Sophia tried to do some shopping at the same time.  We ended up all going to another place.  A propper internet cafe.  Dingy, Hot and a bit dirty.  There were less than  a half dozen computers, and a slow connection, but we got the job done while the girls were sitting outside.  The guy from the shop next door was sweet.  Apparently the girls could not sit on the ground as it was dirty, and kept trying to bring them chairs, tea and the like!

At Tourist Info we had picked up a flyer for a show down on the shore with native american dancers. We all want to have a look, but we are now so late, that we have to skip dinner.  This is not the problem that it sounds, as Aqaba is up to the early hours of the morning each day, but still our tummies were grumbling.  Howevere we had time to pick up a bottle of vodka to celebrate our last night with the others.

Who thought we would be seeing Native American dancing in Jordan?

Wild dancing by the men

The dance show is part of the Jerash festival and organized by the american embassy. As the seats start to fill up we notice that the audience is being split. One side is for families (we are in there too) and the other side is only for the (single?) men.
Finally the dancing starts. Most of the dancers are from Oklahoma.

Picking out the audience members

The women mostly do very simple elegant dances, but the audience doesn’t really get into it until the men start dancing. Their styles are much more uptempo and wilder, and the single men audience is picking up the vibe and starting to clap and dance along. Overall the show is well done.

Sunset over Aqaba beach

The evening ends with the dancers inviting audience members to come down and try some native dancing. We watch for a while  as it is quite funny, but then decide to go before everybody wants to.

We find a quiet place on the town beach and toast a vodka to David and Sofia.As this is our last night together we thought we might as well have a little celebration.  It was good to be able to do this, and while we tried to be discreet, mixing vodka on the beach is never that subtle.  So a few drinks, looking over at Israel, and trying to work out the Egyption boarder and everyone’s plans.

We meet (again) some friendly locals, to hang out with and talk to. At the end of the night we go back to our hotel for one last round of cards.  Anna Crushed him.  Unfortunately, Sophia has the scores, otherwise we would have it framed and sent to Melbourne.  Honestly, we cannot even remember who won, but it wasn’t David! 😉



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