21 - 22 February -
Iím sure that one
can take a ferry from Taba to Aqaba, which should be much
cheaper, but we were unable to find out if we could do that. So
instead of cycling all the way to Taba we took the ferry from
Nuweiba to Aqaba, which was really expensive at 70 US per
person. The ferry only left at after 17h00 (supposed to be
15h00) so it was dark by the time we arrived in Aqaba and cycled
for about an hour into town. Two surprises awaited us in Jordan,
firstly things are very, very expensive and secondly it is very,
very hilly. Welcome to Jordan!!!
We spent the 22nd
exploring Aqaba and strolled along the beach where locals swim
fully clothed, bought 1JDís worth of falafel and got two bags
full!!! Forgot that 1JD is worth about R10.00. (One just sounds
23 - 26 February -
Aqaba to Ras an-Naqb - 88km
As we cycled out
of Aqaba, we knew for sure that Jordan is a mountainous country.
So up and down we went (mostly up) until we reached Ras An-Naqb.
We camped next to the road at more than 1600m above sea level,
so it was not just my imagination that we went up hill all day.
The next morning we cycled the last 44km to Petra and booked
into the Valentine Hotel with its pink walls, red curtains and
mirror above the bed!!
The next morning
we explored the ancient city of Petra and although this was my 2nd
visit to Petra in a short time, it was no less impressive. We
walked up to the high place of sacrifice and on the way down it
started raining so we took shelter in a tomb and waited it out,
it even started hailing!! It rained all night and was freezing
cold so we stayed put in our hotel for another day.
27 - 28 February -
Petra Ė At Tafila - 135km
The road out of
Petra climbed steeply from Wadi Musa and continued uphill for
most of the day. We cycled along the Kings Highway and
encountered, once again, children throwing stones at us. (Itís
like being back in Ethiopia) It was still very cold and there
was even some snow along the road! So in true South African
fashion Ernest had to stop and throw a few snowballs!! When we
reached At-Tafila we had to make a decision, either to carry on
with the Kings Highway or to turn down to the Dead Sea. The Dead
Sea with its milder climate won so we camped just outside the
town of At-Tafila at a view point, and what a view we had of the
surrounding mountains and the Dead Sea in the distance.
The next morning
we raced downhill all the way to the Dead Sea at 400m below sea
level, where we had a swim or rather a float in the salty
waters. Once again we camped next to the road, but now at least
it was nice and warm.
29 February - 7
March - Dead
Sea Ė Amman - 174km
had to climb out of the Dead Sea valley to Amman, which is up on
the plateau. What a slow day it was, up, up, up at 5km per hour.
Along the way we met Peter and Jill who recognized the ZA
sticker on the back of Ernestís bags and stopped to enquire
about our trip. They promptly invited us for a braai at their
home. So the next night we went to their house and had a great
meal and plenty of red wine before they dropped us back at our
hotel. Thanks guys!!
The next day we
spent searching for a new rim for my bike, but to no avail, so
we decided to order one from South Africa. Between Leon and Jaco
at Cycle Maintenance Centre in Cape Town, and my sister Amanda
we had the parts (including a kg of droŽwors) packed and sent to
us. Be warned, couriers do not come cheaply!!!
We played the waiting game, but at least we were in a room and
the greatest thing about being in a room is (grotty as it may
be) that one can shower and wash your hair!! It has been
freezing cold up in the mountains and so I cycled and slept in
the same clothes, so needless to say, I stank to high heaven!!
I should have used the time to do something about my appearance,
I'm shrivelled up like an old prune, don't think even botox will
help anymore!! Got Ernest to put some colouring on my hair,
that helped a bit, but I think it's too late for the face thing.
We spent the 6th at Madaba and Mt Nebo, where Moses apparently
saw the promised land and then died at the age of 120!!! The
place is a bit disappointing, nowhere to place your feet and
say: "Beam me up Scotty".
8 March - 9
March - Amman
The day of the parcel!! At last the parcel arrived,
and receiving a parcel is always so exciting!! We eagerly
opened it, and not only did it contain bike spares, but also droŽwors,
cup-o-soup, pasta sauce, jelly babies and a head buff for Ernest
in SA colours. So off to the local bike shop, and although
their technology was limited they were extremely helpful and
friendly. The next day the bike was as new, all shiny and
10 March -
Amman - Syrian border - 88km
It was great to be on the road again, the bike was running well
and the weather was good, so we made it to the border in good
time. Not knowing what to expect and if we could get a visa at
the border we were rather anxious, but we got a visa without any
problems. I did some very necessary shopping (face cream and
face mask) at the duty free shop and could not wait to use it,
so due to my nagging we took a room just on the Syrian side of