Tuesday, September 29, 2009

The Battle that was the Border Crossing, Jordan to Syria in 12 Hours!


1042 (local time)

Far Out! Yesterday Was CRAZY!

Some of the main events that happened! Trying to enter the near impossible Syrian border!

· Having Breakfast and Greg getting 2 eggs that were rubbish! ‘this may have been a sign?’

· Realising our waters were stolen from the public fridge

· Arriving at the bus depot to be told we had to go to ANOTHER bus station to take us close to the border... Lies!

· Getting to the other bus depot getting ripped off by the cab, then Robo-cop sorting out the situation and we got 2 JD back. Happy Days!

· We were then told we had to go back to the first bus depot.

· Our taxi driver asking every company if they will take us to Syria...

· No one would take us for under $100JD when it should only be about $40JD... too lazy!

· Eventually we found a bus company that was going, but leaving at 10.30pm at night.

· But instead, we rang our hotel and organised a car to come and collect us for $40JD

· Arriving at the border and being totally harassed by all the taxi’s there.

· Speaking to the border policemen who we convinced that we could just hop in a random persons car aka HITCH-HIKE

· Arriving at the border which we thought was the Entry to Syria, in fact it was the Exit to Jordan.

· Hitch-hiking again to the ACTUAL Syrian border!

· Waiting in line, and finally being served by the Syrian Border Control

· Being told that the Visa costs $100AUD... Too much money!

· Attempting to pay for the Visa, but being told you can only pay in Australian Dollars or American Dollars... which we didn’t have!

· Finding an ATM machine to withdraw some money

· Realising that all the ATM machines are broken or out of order... GREAT!

· Going to Duty Free shop and exchanging Euros for American Dollars

· Flirting with all the girls there...

· Going back to pay for Visa, and only taking 10 minutes

· Looking for a way into Damascus (Capital of Syria)

· Finding a man that would take us for free in his (get this) VY SS Holden Commodore

· Getting told by a stranger listening to the man that would take us that ‘we should get another car, because he was saying something about the girl (Anna)

· Pissing off that idea, and going back to the Duty Free guys!

· Scoring a lift from one of the people that works there, that would take us to Damascus! What a legend!

· Anna getting car sick and throwing up, outside of the brand new car...

· Eventually finding a hotel, because all were booked out. Hotel cost 1500 Syrian Pound ($37AUD)

· Sleeping!

The End!

Obviously taking photos weren’t really on our to-do list! But this is what I got!

In the Cab ride on the way to the Syrian Exit border!

Good Bye AsSerhan... Not sure what that is!?

Loading the gear into the 2nd hitch-hiker's car!

Look at the Commodore in the background!

These are the boys that we hitch-hiked off... we think they are gay!

Looking At the Syrian Entry border!

The boys and Anna, just not the pants and T-Shirt that im wearing... #1 Shirt isnt mine! #2 bought the pants in Egypt! SMART EY!

After Anna got her make-up done... Pretty white ey!

The place where Anna threw up!

Monday, September 28, 2009

Hey Look, It's The Dead... Sea!


2000 (local time)

The Dead Sea! “Hey look its Dead, See!” We got driven to the Dead Sea by the hotel owner Wa’el, from first impressions he looked like a pretty funny cool dude! But after 40 minutes of his annoying chat and trying to force us to pay an extra $12JD and the rest ($18AUD) which we cheerfully declined the first time, but after constantly bugging us about it over and over again! It got bloody annoying.

Anyway, we got to the sign that said ‘DEAD SEA 18KM’ and our driver decided to pull over. We spent about 20 minutes taking photos of Road Signs... It would have been funny, but we were actually quite excited to be in the Dead Sea we really didn’t want to be taking photos of road signs!

We eventually made it to the Dead Sea, it cost us $12JD to get in... because its on this resort. Nevermind, so I got my kit off and locked it away! And we hit the beach! As soon as your knee deep in the water, you already feel a bit different! The water feels thick and almost sticky. The beach is quite shallow and then eventually falls away. So normally you would just fall in and sink! But at the Dead Sea you can stand bolt-upright and your head will still be above water. The water is 80% Salt, so just licking the water off your fingers makes you want to throw up! It’s so intense! It is one of the weirdest feelings ever just floating in the water without having to do anything! Greg and I thought we should test how buoyant the water was. So we found 2 big rocks, took them into the water, and rested them on our chest to see if we still floated! We Did!

Too be honest, I couldn’t stay here for longer than 2 hours! It just gets a bit too much! I'm so used to putting my head under and playing around in the water, but if you get the slightest bit of water in your eye! It’s one of the worst pains ever! Your eyes don't stop stinging! It sucks, you want to wipe the water out of your eyes using your hands, but it make it worse! So the only way you can fix it, is by finding your way back to shore and wiping your eyes with a dry towel!

After about 1.5 hours floating around in the water, I had to get out, and go swimming in the normal pools they have at the resort! It was one of the nicest feelings ever! To be able to open your eyes underwater! It was fantastic!

We had a quick bite to eat, and then headed back in the water for the last time! Again, super weird! Its quite hard to explain, but everything you learn about how to stay buoyant in normal water gets thrown out of the water (excuse the pun), its almost impossible to swim, because you can’t really kick! WEIRD!

After 3.5 hours of swimming and mucking around, it was time to leave! So Wa’el picked us up, he made us write in his book about how good of a tour guide he was. Because he wasn’t that great, instead I just ended up writing about what we did that day! I wasn’t a huge fan of him!

Anyway, that was the Dead Sea Experience! Amazing... but very weird!


The sign leading us toward the Dead Sea!

We all just really wanted to go for a Swim, but Wa'el made us make stupid poses!

A salt encrusted rock! Yep that's Israel in the background!

Having a leisurely read of Anna's book! Called Beloved!

Just trying to keep water out of the eyes was hard enough!

Standing BOLT UPRIGHT and not sinking! WEIRD!

Taking it Easy!

Our little experiment with rocks!... he floats!

Again, bolt upright WITH rocks and still floating!

Group shot!

Trying my best to swim to shore!

Anna thought it was good for our skins, if we cover ourselves in Mud!

The little picture Anna drew in Wa'El's book... "But why L, why not P"

Take care guys!

Sunday, September 27, 2009

The Trip from Petra to Amman!


1311 (local time)

We got up this morning at about 930. Our plan today, was to catch a bus from Petra to Amman. Amman is the capital of Jordan, and from Amman we are able to go to the Dead Sea and also Syria. So 930 was a good time for us, nice and easy start! So we got our stuff together and had a late breakfast of: Bread, Omelette, Marmalade and cheese. By 1200 we were on the bus paying our tourist price for the bus which was 5JD (about 7-8$AUD). Its so annoying, because we are tourists we have to pay the tourist price whilst everyone else on the bus, the locals only have to pay 3JD! Its stupid! Never mind though, that’s just the way it is.

The real reason I'm writing this is, the bus took about 30 minutes to get around the block, because we were stuck. Yep that’s right! STUCK! We went down a street that wasn’t big enough, and we were stuck between a truck and a ute! The cars behind us were building up, everyone was tooting their horns to get everyone moving. We were making tiny amounts of progress, people were getting out of their car to abuse the other drivers.

To make matters worse, I was taking photos of the whole event unfolding! Eventually the cops rocked up on their bikes and helmets that looked like baseball helmets, to try and sort out the situation!

The pictures tell the true story though.


Just to add to this 1427 (local time) the bus ride is going poorly, there are is a Jordanian family on the back seats, in which one of the babies has a REAKING nappy, so the bus stinks! And the bus driver has the radio up way too loud playing prayers that is giving me a headache even with headphones in. Its going to be a long trip!

Again to add to this epic journey! 2119 (local time) Checked in to this awesome 1 star hostel/hotel! An awesome couple are running it! Really really good! Anyway, at 6.30pm we ventured out and went to look at the oldest mosque in Jordan, ended up being pretty standard mosque, so we went on looking for some food! Ramadan was over! So there are people everywhere letting off fireworks and everything! It is awesome! Its a bit hard for Greg and Anna, because everyone is looking at Anna and giving her a bit of a hard time. But I was having a ball, there is a type of atmosphere in the air that everyone is excited and happy! But unfortunately there are always a few dickheads in the group that wreck it!

So we stopped off at this local restaurant that was recommended by the hotel receptionist, it was a chicken place that do falafels and salad with chicken etc! So we paid our 6JD (10$AUD) and got the biggest meal ever! We were so full after it all! I feel so fat!

We then were offered a bowl of fruit from the hotel people which we got stuck into. After that we went back out again to get some groceries for our trip to the Dead Sea tomorrow, and went back into the havoc that was Amman!

Anyway, I just thought I should write about the excitement that is the end of Ramadan!

RAMADAN R.I.P (I think)


Check out the Gap!


Look at the guy trying to pick the gap at the front of the car!

The queue of cars we held up!

So the cops rocked up to sort out the situation!

Cheers Steve

Saturday, September 26, 2009

Petra-Fied in Petra!


2000 (local time)

Petra-fied In Petra

‘Had a good sleep that night, because tomorrow we were going to smash out a full day in Petra, from 8 till whenever.’

We didn’t get up until 8. By the time we got to ‘The Ancient City’ it was 10. This time, we didn’t want to walk through ‘the Sic’ to get to the Monastery (which is the main thing to see in Petra). Instead we walked though the old dam and where the water would have flowed through the city. This walk involved a bit of trekking and climbing. Although it took longer, it was a lot more fun and adventurous.

We made it through the ‘Damn Walk’ (get it, joke... sorry) and then continued to make our way to the Monastery.

The walk to the Monastery was at least a 40minute walk if you pushed hard. Unfortunately when we started our walk it was about 1245 going 1, so in the peak heat of the Jordanian sun. To add to our troubles, we were running very short on water, and all of us were starting to feel the onset of dehydration.

We eventually made it up to the Monastery, had some of our packed lunch in a cave that we found, overlooking the Monastery.

Once lunch was finished we walked to a higher peak so you get a perspective of where we were, the view was stunning!

After we saw all that was needed to be seen, we then had to walk all the way down the steps back to where we started from. My highlight from the walk down, was seeing the first attractive girl in Jordan.

We made it too the bottom and then with no water, walked all the way through ‘the Sic’ back to the exit.

By the time we made it back to our Hostel it was pushing 5.30pm. So we had been there for over 7 hours! Massive day really!

There were a few events that were worth mentioning.

1. Getting in a fight with one of the guys that rents the donkey. Ill explain the situation before you judge me. This bloke rocks up on his donkey, gets off it and then whips the donkey across its face. Myself and Greg both reacted to this unnecessary act by saying “Eyy”. The bloke then starts going on about, how their are people dying in Iraq, and that if your worried about a donkey being whipped, there must be something wrong with us. Greg and I had no clue what he was going on about. Anyway, so situation was over. When then saw this guy again, near some more donkeys on our was to the stairs leading up to the Monastery. He saw us, then preceded to whip another donkey for no reason. We just blatantly looked at him and uttered under our breath “What a Wanker” Then... on our way back down the steps from the Monastery we saw him again, he mumbled something and then said quite loudly “(blah blah) TERRORIST” we can only assume that he said it loud so that other people thought we called him a Terrorist... this was one of the few blokes who we thought was a generally shit person.

2. Another event that was quite amusing was finding out how much the Donkey, Mules, Horses and Camels cost to buy.

3. And the final event that was funny, was that night, when we left our hostel to look for some food, we were attacked by young kids with play cap guns! It was funny, as we pretended to die. The kids loved it!

So in the end, Petra was a beautiful city, but of course it was a typical tourist town which means that everything was way more expensive that it should be.

That’s it really, 2 full days in Petra! Now to Amman!

PS: ** BECAUSE IM IN SYRIA, I AM UNABLE TO PUT UP PICTURES, CHECK FACEBOOK ETC! So when i get the opportunity ill put the photos up!


I feel quite small!

Just looking out into Distance...

The Treasurey where Indiana Jones was Filmed!

Yeh we went there! It was quite... dangerous!

But i could handle the danger!

Is anybody out there...

The Monastery... amazing ey!

The Monastery! We Endured a Massive Trek to get there!

This is FIGJAM'S Energy Food!

How amazing is that...

The Jordanian Flag! overlooking the Monastery!

Looking up at the Monastery!

Peace out!