I spent the night of Petra trying to find a comfortable position whilst keeping my foot elevated and trying not to kick off the kilo of ice that was on top of it. Actually in the end it really helped! The following morning my dear friend Annie took on a different role – it is really hard to classify it but I will try. Hmmm she was no longer just a friend, she was my bandage fixer, ice getter, wheel chair pusher, drug supplier, cocktail maker and general slave! Seriously, not only did she manage to get me all the drugs, bandages and a foot support that I needed, but she also managed to me crutches from a near by pharmacy (short explanation below) and even purchase a bottle of Russian Standard (for compresses of course J) in a non-drinking country.
[ Side note – the story of the lovely pharmacist – as told by Annie! Apparently she managed to locate a pharmacy nearby our hotel and spoke to the lovely man asking him for the best meds plus creams for the injury that I had. He supplied her with a variety of substances. She also asked about crutches, which unfortunately he did not have. But…..he knew where to get them and said that he would pick them up after he got his kid from school and could even bring it by our hotel. So sweet! Because the hotel was so close Annie said that she would just stop by later on in the day to get the crutches. The poor man was so worried that he even told her that if I was suffering from too much pain then I should stop by the pharmacy and he would do a painkiller shot..(that was sooo not happening but nonetheless what a sweet suggestion). Then the guys wife even told her where to go for food and what to order. When she showed up to get some juice at their recommended juice bar the Owner was also super lovely and told her she also had a broken foot recently and advised what is best to do in that situation. She returned to the hotel feeling totally loved and supported by the local people – and I have to say that this feeling stayed with us for the rest of the trip!]
So Tuesday was spent popping pills, changing ice packs and generally relaxing by the pool!
Despite the injury I was determined to do everything that we originally planned to my best ability so on Wednesday we ventured out on a tour of Wadi Rum.
It is a UNESCO World Heritage Site that is also known as The Valley of the Moon. It was also the setting for the filming of many movies including of Lawrence of Arabia, Red Planed and even Transformers. Our tour took us to the dessert by a usual coach filled with happy Dutchies. They were all a bit concerned seeing me on crutches hopping on the bus (you will not believe how hard it is to try to get up on a coach with one foot!). The whole day they were helping me on and off and supported me throughout! After the hour trip out we got on three Jeeps. Once again I had to hop on the back but after a third attempt I mastered it. All the locals were totally shocked by my strength – but I always say where there is a will there is a way. We had a lovely lunch at the nearby Bedouin camp and took a drive out further into the dessert.
Unfortunately due to my injury I couldn’t quite get off the Jeep all the time so at certain moments I just had to stay in the Jeep.
But to be honest that was absolutely fine with me and Annie did indeed confirm that I didn’t miss much.
Determined not to miss out on anything else I did take up the opportunity to get on a camel.
The smelly creature was gentle and the experience was rather pleasant although nothing can beat Shakira the Donkey.
The day was concluded with a cup of the local brew (the super sweet tea) and a picturesque view of the sunset, which was absolutely stunning!
The temperatures really dropped so we were happy to get on that warm coach again to take us back to the hotel.
Thursday was another fun filled adventure. We went diving!!!! That was my first time. Probably not the wisest thing to do with an injury but hey I never back away from a challenge. Of course the fact that I don’t really swim well was also a consideration.
However the experienced team of Dive Aqaba (http://www.diveaqaba.com/) put some confidence in me that I could do it!!!
We went out on a beautiful boat about 45 minutes to our dive site. It was not far from the coast and we were going to see a tank, yes I did say a TANK!!!
It was left under water after some war – I am not going to pretend I am a historian here – but the site was beautiful. It was essentially a tandem dive, I had a lovely chap called Huw that was going with me. He told me that he had been diving longer than I have been alive – so I took it that he was a man of experience and tried to follow his instructions to a T. Annie had another chap called Rami. She has been diving about 5 times so she didn’t need the hawk eyes of experience to follow her. Huw was just brilliant – he described everything in detail and then helped me get my equipment on in the water. Because of my injury I could not carry that amount of weight on ground so had to get kitted up in the water. We dove slowly down to about 12 metres. The sight in front of us was just amazing! And a bit creepy to be honest. I tried to use my GoPro to record every bit of the experience and in the end even managed to catch the bit where I panicked and had to pull an emergency surfacing procedure as I started chocking! Seriously that was the scariest experience in my life. I really thought I was going to die. I panicked and took on some water, but instead of keeping my mask on and trying to cough it up I took the oxygen mask off and tried to cough UNDER water! Stupid no??!!! But it was my instinct at the time and in the end I ended up taking on more water. With lungs burning and trying to convince my body not to cough (so not to take more water) I signed to Huw to get me the hell out of there. As some of you might know though, you cannot simply surface, you have to do it slowly to ensure the pressure is ok (I have no idea how to speak the techy language but you know what I mean). I just remember when we were going up I knew that despite the panic I would be ok. Huw made me feel safe and I tried to get my body under control. When I surfaced I managed to cough the water up and all was grand and dandy again. But the experience did prevent me from going much further down so ended up floating not too far from the surface and taking shots of Annie exploring all the nooks and crannies of the tank as well as the nearby reef.
All in all I think the experience was a success – although I might just try the diving in the pool next time before I venture out into the (not so) deep waters.
The team of Dive Aqaba were super lovely and friendly! We ended up going out for a drink with Rami that night who showed us one of the best bars in Aqaba. It is called Sea View Bar and it is basically a roof top bar of a hotel (some random hotel – nothing too posh). The bar has a really good vibe. We ended up making friends with the owner who used to live in Texas and just had the greatest accent. He also used to serve in the military as a helicopter pilot and filled our night with awesome (and sometimes sad) war stories. Apart from him we also met another bunch of ex pats – from Germany. And then the gem! We found out that Wesley Snipes was filming a new movie in Aqaba and as the evening progressed the whole bar was filled with extras, staff and actors from the movie. I was desperately waiting to see if I would get a glimpse of Chocolate Thunder aka Blade, but unfortunately I was not lucky enough. Nonetheless the whole evening was a lot of fun and I couldn’t recommend this place more to anyone visiting Aqaba.
Waking up at some ungodly hour on Friday was difficult. The rum/cokes definitely made an impact on our bodies and we dragged ourselves downstairs to get on the tour bus to take us to the Dead Sea. I cannot find the right words to describe this experience! Seriously! I am going to have to do it in bullet points for you guys to get the picture:
- Sh* t bus
- Tour guide who couldn’t give less of a f*ck
- FOUR AND A HALF HOURS THERE INSTEAD OF TWO
- Stops at places where they charge 6 EURO for a can of Sprite
- Stopping to see a random sh*t manmade canyon
- Instead of “Dead Sea Spa and Resort” arriving at a Travelodge
- 5m x 10m cordoned off bit of the Dead Sea only available for use
- A bowl of smelly mud
- Stingy salt water that made you want to cry when it got in the sensitive parts
- Flies, flies, flies, flies f*cking EVERYWHERE!
- 2 hours 45 minutes later….we got back on the BUS to go back for another FOUR AND A HALF HOURS
I had already told you guys that Annie and I are not tour people. This was just another reminder of why we do not do tours!!! Seriously! If you go to the Dead Sea just hire a car or even get a taxi. It will probably be cheaper and you will not have to bear all of this “excitement”!
Saturday was spent chilling by the pool and waiting for our flight which was at night. Not the best time, considering we had to check out at three o’clock!
Overall the trip was amazing despite the hiccup of the injury! Would highly recommend visiting the beautiful country of Jordan for all the adventurers out there!
“Life is an adventure – not a package tour”