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Paul & Tracey's Travels
14th Feb 2015 - Jordan
Arrival in Jordan

Well, after about 12 hours of travelling I arrived at my first stop in Jordan, on the shores of the Dead Sea......

Tracey kindly dropped me at Heathrow as she did not fancy a trip to the Middle East! My Royal Jordanian flight took off on time at 4pm to do the 2,300 mile 5 hour trip South West across Europe and the Mediterranean to the the International airport just south of the Capital Amman in the North of the country.

Jordan is officially called the Hashemite Kingdom of Jordan, and is an Arab kingdom in Western Asia, on the East Bank of the Jordan River. Jordan is bordered by Saudi Arabia to the south and east, Iraq to the north-east, Syria to the north, and Israel/Palestine to the west.

A history and Geography lesson

After the post-World War I division of West Asia by Britain and France, the Emirate of Transjordan was officially recognised by the Council of the League of Nations in 1922. In 1946, Jordan became an independent sovereign state. officially known as the Hashemite Kingdom of Transjordan. After capturing the West Bank during the 1948 Arab–Israeli War, Abdullah I took the title King of Jordan. The name of the state was changed to The Hashemite Kingdom of Jordan on 1 December 1948. Currently King Abdullah II is in power. Abdullah bin Al-Hussein.

The population of Jordan is about 6.6 million, and the land area is 35,600 square miles (Scotland is 30,000), however less than 1% of this is water. The Official language is Arabic, and in terms of ethnicity the country is 98% Arab. The dominant religion is Muslim. Jordan is part of a region considered to be "the cradle of civilisation".

The currency is the Jordanian Dinar and this is currently worth just under £1. Roughly 13% of the population lives on less than US$3 a day.

The Jordan Rift Valley of the Jordan River separates Jordan from Israel and the Palestinian Territories down the west side of the country. The highest point in the country is Jabal Umm al Dami, at 1,854 m (6,083 ft) above sea level.while the lowest is..........

The Dead Sea

......which is where I came in.
Jordan is two hours ahead of the UK so it was nearing midnight when I got off the plane to find a large and modern, but largely quiet Amman airport. A few US Dollars secured an entry Visa, then our local guide showed us to our small minibus. I am travelling with 6 other English folk, 2 of whom I met on the plane and the others I met as we waited for our luggage.

As I exited the airport into the night air I felt quite at home as the temperature was a cool 5C which is about average in this part of Jordan in winter time. Once on the bus, which was far from new, it was off on to deserted roads, trying to catch a glimpse of the surroundings out of the window as we bounced along the deserted night roads.

Our hotel was an hour away from the airport which is itself a few miles south of the capital. My first glimpses of Jordan were of dimly lit small shops, stalls and cafes at the side of the road (some still open after midnight but with no visible customers), and a lot of rocky fairly barren open space in between.

Amazingly, as we hurtled along the empty road, the majority of the hour long journey consisted of going quite steeply down hill. This is because my destination is the lowest place on Earth ! As we drove on I could feel my ears popping, and could sense a very steep drop just beyond the edge of the road. The Dead Sea forms part of the border between Jordan and Israel/Palestine and one point the guide told us that the cluster of lights we could see away down to our right was Jericho.

The road we were driving along would eventually take us to Jerusalem if we continued for an hour, but our destination was a hotel on the banks of the Dead Sea which we arrived at juts before 1am.  I can't wait for daylight to have a first glimpse of my surroundings.....

Tomorrow, more photos, how I got on in the Dead Sea, and a road trip south....

Next: Road trip - From the Dead Sea to the Red Sea
Previous: Visit to the gay village, and a return to old town, Montreal

Diary Photos
14th Feb 2015  Sun rising over the hills near the Dead Sea, Jordan
Photo taken from the hotel window of the sun rising over the hills on my first day in Jordan.

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