Christological Symbol on Mt. Nebo - Jordan
Menu - About Us
Menu - Maps
Menu - Our Vehicles
Menu - Preparation
Menu - Home
Menu - FAQ
Menu - Contact Us
Menu - Video
Menu - Photogallery

 

Jordan Trip Journal from April 26 to May 09, 2006

Follow this link to return to the Jordan Photos Pg. 1 and Jordan Photos Pg. 2.

Country: Jordan
Duration: April 26 to May 09, 2006
Distance Traveled in the Country:  ~ 1000 km
Memorable Impressions of the Country:
If you want a great holiday, make it Jordan.  The Country has something to offer for everyone's taste.  We planned a maximum of 10 days, but stayed for 14 days and could spend another week.  Its advantage is that all attractions are in one day driving distance.  If you want to snorkel in the Red Sea Coral Reef visit Aqaba, ride camels and sleep in the desert under the stars stay in Wadi Rum.  One of the most spectacular places in the world, Petra will leave you speechless.  If you like nature and hiking the Dana Reserve is for you.  Crusader Castles are lined along the King's Hwy and in the Desert.  Of course you can't miss floating in the Dead Sea. Madaba and the nearby Mt. Nebo, have important biblical sites.  One of the best preserved Roman Cities is being excavated and restored at Jerash.  Jordan will keep you in shape and there won't be a boring moment.  In addition to its amazing sites are the truly friendly people.  Not yet spoiled by tourism, always there to help.  The people love their King Abdullah II, who has made this country what it is today.  We hope they will keep up the great work.
Gasoline Cost: approx. $1.26CDN/litre for Super
Hotel Cost: On average about $50.00CDN/night
Food & Drink Cost: Slightly cheaper then Canada. i.e. $1.00 for a can of Diet Coke.

Special Thanks to: Addy (Yemen), Khaled (Jordan), Ahmad (Jordan), Iz (Jordan), Isaam (Jordan), Gisele (Jordan), Merissa (Jordan)

April 26, 2006.  We dock at the Aqaba port at approximately 7pm.  The first stop is checking our motorcycles and luggage by very friendly police officers.  From here we proceed to the passport office and get priority service.  The Jordan Visa is free when entering through this port.  The police show us the way to the customs department.  We have to buy one (1) month insurance for each motorcycles (the options are 3 days, 1 week and 1 month) for a 42 Dinars ($84CDN).  Once the insurance is in place the carnet de passage is getting signed and entered into the system.  There is one small problem.  The motorcycle is only allowed to stay in the country for 3 days, but we have a one (1) month visa and one (1) month motorcycle insurance.  An extension to the 3 days can only be approved by police department.  There was some confusion and after sitting in the police manager's office for a while we were granted a 14 day stay on the motorcycles.  The customs procedure took about 2 1/2 hrs, and they apologized for taking so long.  We liked Jordan already.  In the dark we make our way to the city of Aqaba.  A construction detour gets us lost, but after an hour we end up at the Jordan Flower Hotel downtown Aqaba.  The manager moves the motorcycles into the back room for security, since the only parking available is on the busy main road.  The room is 10 Dinars ($21CDN) c/w a very tiny bathroom.  It is 10pm and we are beat after going through the Egyptian Customs and Jordan Customs.  The hotel manager recommends a place to eat and we have mixed meat which consisted of Shish-Kabob, Lamb and Beef. Everyone is super friendly and we are not used to it after Egypt.  We realize it isn't fake friendly, but genuine.

April 27, 2006.  We sleep in, have breakfast in the adjacent park, check the internet and head out of town toward Wadi Rum.  Everything is very clean and the highway reminds us of home.  We wind our way through the mountains and are at Wadi Rum in no time.  The visitor center is very informative and we enter the park for 2 Dinar ($4CDN) each. To the left is the Seven Pillars of Wisdom mountain.  A famous landmark and named after the book by T.E. Lawrence and of course a great picture opportunity.  The road turns into deep sand after 14 kms and we decide to stay in the tent at the Resthouse. Wadi Rum looks very similar to Arizona and New Mexico Canyonlands.  The reddish mountain range towers over the vast desert sand.  It is a beautiful sight.  At the visitors center we make the acquaintance of Gisele (Jordan Tourism Board www.see-jordan.com) and Merissa (Jordan Embassy), who are on a one (1) week trip with several American Journalists through Jordan.  They are also very nice a friendly, and offer there help if we need anything.  As night falls we walk into the desert, away from the lights and lay there watching the stars.

April 28, 2006.  Our first stop in the morning was the Nabatean Temple – Aretas (IV), used by Nabatean to worship ALLAT (Godness), and in walking distance from our tent site.  To experience the highlights of Wadi Rum and its vast desert, we take a jeep tour with a friendly Bedouin guide and his son.  The Wadi Rum Brochure is very informative and we customize our 4-hour trip to suit what we wanted to see (cost 35 Dinars - $70CDN).  The Toyota Land cruiser truck, was fitted with a couple of benches in the back and allowed for full 360 Degree open air view.  The tour took us to the Lawrence's spring, which we climbed up and then cooled off in the spring.  The green alkyl in the blue water stands in contrast to the red mountains, and we can smell the peppermint leaves.  We are invited for fresh peppermint tea in the Bedouin tent at the base of the spring.  Then it was onwards to the sand dunes, which are piled up against the mountains.  Bending on the type of mountain formation, some sand dunes were beiges in color and others red.  We couldn't resist walking up a huge dune, which is not easy, our guides son was always keen to show us the way.  To be a kid again and have too much energy.  Back in the truck we cross through the desert with ease to the Khazali canyon, a deep, narrow fissure in the mountain side, containing many rock inscriptions.  Continuing our route we venture deeper into Wadi Rum and get a glimpse of the Um Frouth rock bridge (large bridge) and even walk across the small bridge.  This area reminds us of Utah and the Arches National Park.  En-route to the Anfashieh Inscriptions, we stop of at the Lawrence's House.  The Anfashieh Inscriptions is our last stop and the mountain walls show large inscriptions of animals, humans and camel caravans.  Not tired, our guide leaves us behind, but first explains the way back, ensuring we had enough water on us.  Here we were walking through the desert, past herds of goats and local Bedouins riding camels.  A step back in time, with no civilization in site.  What we thought was a 2km walk was actually more a 4km walk, but worth every step of it, as the colors of the mountains changed in the sunset.  

April 29, 2006.  Leaving Wadi Rum behind us, we return to the Desert Hwy. Only three (3) main highways pass through Jordan, the Dead Sea Hwy, King's Hwy and Desert Hwy.  Most of the major attractions of Jordan lay on the King's Hwy, which winds its way through the mountain range at a higher elevation.  Our destination is the world famous Petra and it is only approx. 120kms away from Wadi Rum.  Amazingly Jordan has very good road signs and Petra is well posted.  From the Desert Hwy we turn onto the King's Hwy and we climb to 1670m in no time.  The view is great from here over the Valley and we pass countless Bedouin tent settlements.  Without the signage, it would be hard to find Petra.  The roads are very windy and forge off ever so often.  We enter the small town of Wadi Mousa, check out the Petra Visitor Centre, pick up a brochure and confirm that the place actually opens at 6am.  As always we want to beat the tourists.  Our lonely planet guide book gives us three (3) choices for budget hotels in the village.  Secure parking of the motorcycles an issue as always.  The Al-Anbat Hotel & Camp is about 4kms from the Petra Entrance and meets our requirements.  The guide book is a bit out of date indicating 10 Dinars.  The actual price is 18 Dinars ($36CDN)/night, but to all fairness it is one of the best rooms we have stayed at on this trip and in Canada we would be paying a minimum of $150/night.  It is all relative. The Hotel even has a swimming pool and great views. 

April 30, 2006.  Sharp at 6am we stand at the ticket booth, the only ones, keen to get in and excited like two little kids.  The sun is just starting to peek over the mountain top.  The tickets are 26 Dinars ($52CDN) per person for two (2) days.  Other options are one (1) day at 21 Dinars ($42CDN) per person or three (3) days for 31 Dinars ($62CDN) per person.  We knew we needed at least two (2) days to explore.  From the ticket booth to the As-Siq, we get our first glimpse of what makes Petra, the remote dead city, so famous.  Only a few hundred meters into our walk we see the Djinn Blocks and then the Obelisk Tomb and Bab as-Siq Triclinium.  Monuments are carved out of solid rock, the obelisk an Egyptian influence and the niche between the obelisks is a Graeco-Roman influence.  We enter the narrow 1.2km long defile known as the Siq, the ancient main entrance to Petra.  Even though it looks like a gorge carved out of water, the mountain was actually split by tectonic force, giving it the appearance of a canyon.  In some places the Siq is only 3m wide, and some of the old ancient stone pavement is still visible.  All along the sides are the remains of man-made water ducts/channels.  Every corner makes us look up to catch a ray of the sun light peeking through the rock formation, 80m above.  And then suddenly our first partial view of the Al-Khazneh (Treasury).  It is truly amazing. The Siq opens up to a magnificent view of the 30m wide and 43m high façade.  The grandness is breath-taking.  Here we are, alone with this amazing monument.  No tourists, no staff, just us.  We continue our walk along the Street of Facades.  Rows of Nabataean tombs line the street on both sides.  Some in excellent shape, some others have seen better days.  Facades eroded away by thousand of years of water, sand and wind.  Further along we reach the Theatre, which looks Roman, but was built by the Nabataeans in the 1st century AD.  In its day it could seat 7000 people.  Then to the left of the street the Royal Tombs come into view.  We take a closer look at the Silk Tomb, Corinthian Tomb and Palace Tomb and walk down the marble paved street, lined with remains of columns.  In its day the Colonnaded Street, was the city centre and the street was flanked by temples, public buildings and shops.  Some has been excavated to show its glory, like the great temple and the Qasr al Bint.  The altar in front of the Qasr al Bint is fenced of, but the inside of the temple is free access.  From here we take the 800 stairs cut into the rock of Ad-Deir Mountain to the second most famed attraction of Petra the Ad-Deir (Monastery).  It is in excellent shape and well worth the walk-up.  On the way up we take a detour to the Lion Tomb.  Still with too much energy to spare we walk to the Pharaun Column and continue past the south wall to the Soldier's Tomb, the Lion Monument, Garden Tomb and Garden Triclinium. Steps carved out of rock lead us up to the High Place of Sacrifice (Al-Madbah) and two (2) Obelisks, which give you a stunning view of the Street of Facades and Royal Tombs. Important religious ceremonies, honoring Nabataean gods, were performed here.  We decend a flight of stairs, which leads us back to the Street of Facades and the 1000's of tourists.  Tired, feet aching after 7 hours of up and downs, but happy, we make our way back through the 1.2km Siq to our motorcycles.  The best exercise and most fun we have had in a while.  In the evening we went for Pizza and we each took care of a large Pizza.  We need some major refueling.  After the meal, we talked for a long time with the owner of the Pizza place, regarding life in Jordan, the positive and negative.  Jordan has a good education level.  English is widely spoken.  We actually haven't met a person who doesn't speak English.  12% of the Jordan income is from tourism.  Jordanians believe that all people should be treated the same way they would like to be treated.  Jordan is proud of their heritage and it shows in their people.  An interesting comment from the Pizza owner was that as Jordan has moved into modernization, some of the culture/heritage has been left behind.  Spending time with your family and visiting friends has become less important, and TV and other entertainments have taken its place.  It is sad to see, but we have experienced this change, in the western world as well. This is why we are traveling around the world, to experience the culture and people now.

May 01, 2006.  I phone my brother in Canada to wish him a happy birthday (Apr. 30), being up at 5am gives us enough time difference.  We enter the site of Petra at 6am, feeling every muscle in our bodies, we decide to take it a bit slower.  We still have 5hrs of walking planned.  We explore more tombs along the Façade of Tombs and Royal Tombs and take our time in the Urn Tomb, the largest of the Royal Tombs.  With no tourists around, we have a leisurely walk through the 17 x 18.9m main chamber.  It was carved around 70AD and altered around mid 5th century to serve as a Byzantine Church.  Past the Palace Tomb we come across some stairs which lead up Jebel Umm al'Amr and above the Royal Tombs.  Reaching the top we continue our exploration and end up with the magnificent view of the Al-Khazneh (Treasury) from the opposing side.  High above we sit and take it all in.  Re-tracing our steps to the base of the stairs, we decide to return to the entrance via the Wadi Mataha pathway.  More tombs line the valley.  The Sextius Florentinus Tomb is one of the more persevered ones.  From Wadi Mataha we turn to enter the Wadi Muthlim.  A narrow gorge, carved by water takes us a good 1hour of climbing.  We exit at the Nabataean Tunnel and are back at the main entrance to the Siq.  In total we took 300 pictures, but as always they don't do it justice.  Seeing Petra in person is a true experience of a life time.  If you have only one thing to see in Jordan, make it Petra, you won't be disappointed.

May 02, 2006.  From Petra we head north on the Kings Hwy.  Our first destination is the Shobak Castle, located in the rolling hills north of Ash Shawbak with no other civilization close by.  It currently does not charge any admission, since it is still in the process of excavation and preparation for tourism.  We pulled up the motorcycles to the entrance gate.  Signing the guestbook, we are off on our own to explore the castle remains.  We soon realize that we need our LED head lights.  Equipped with head lights we enter a tunnel, the steep steps descend into the darkness below.  The deeper we get into the tunnel, the more we get intrigued and are pushed on to explore further.  At this point the steps are almost totally eroded from years of use.  We are covered in white powdered dust.  Amazingly we suddenly see day light and an exit.  I climb up the vertical shaft, sticking out my head into the sun light and realize that I am surrounded by sheep and a girl, who looked like she saw a ghost.  I realize that it must have looked funny.  Here I was in full motorcycle gear, with a LED light on my head, suddenly popping out of the earth.  It was adventure at its best.  Of course we had to climb back up the 350 steps (250m).  There is no way that anywhere else in the western world you would have been able to access this tunnel, it would have been fenced off.  It was a great experience.  We continued to explore the remains of two Crusader churches, a market and the catacombs of Shawbak.  The northern exterior wall displays some Quranic inscriptions. Another 120kms north of the Shawbak Castle on the Kings Hwy lays another crusader Castle.  On way to the Karnak Castle we stop for breakfast in a small town outside the Dana Nature Reserve.  We (the motorcycles) are children magnets, even some older locals join us by sitting beside us on the side walk.  Halfway between Tafila and Karnak the Kings Hwy passes through a small beautiful canyon, called Wadi Hasa.  The Karnak Castle was built around 1145 AD and 30 years after the Shawbak Castle.  The fortified castle dominates the town 900m above sea level.  Getting there seemed easy, but proved a bit more difficult due to one-way narrow roads, but luckily two police officers on motorcycles came to rescue and showed us the way.  Better restored then the Shawbak Castle, but with less of an adventurous feel to it, it is still worth exploring.  The Crusader Gallery is very well restored/excavated.  The Museum was very impressive, well signed (in English) and informative (what a difference to Egypt).  The sun was starting to get lower in the sky as we made our way further north on the Kings Hwy.  The road winds its way through the beautiful Wadi Mujib, also called the Grand Canyon of Jordan.  The road drops into the Canyon and elevation changed by 1km.  In the center of the valley the road passes over a dam.  The blue of the dammed lake and the earth colors of the canyon made for a spectacular picture.  Arriving in Madaba, Mike's BMW rear drive fails completely.  We contact Khalid in Amman and he arranges to come out with a van to pick-up the motorcycle the next day.  At this point we were glad that it didn't happen in the desert.  We get a room at the Mariam Hotel for 24 Dinars ($48CDN) per night.  Accommodation around Amman is not cheap.  The Mariam Hotel, is worth the money, it has double beds with a real mattress (normally in the Middle East the rooms have two separate single beds with foam pads), clean rooms, swimming pool and a good breakfast.  The owner is also very helpful and friendly.

May 03, 2006.  Around noon Ahmad (Sales Director at Khaled Kour Auto Design) arrives with a van.  The BMW just fits without the windshield and mirrors.  Luckily we are only 45 minutes from Amman.  Our first stop is at Khaled Kour Auto Design (www.kkour.com) to meet Khaled.  We had gotten his name from Eddy in Yemen, just in case we would run into trouble in Jordan.  Khaled lends us Ahmad for the day and we head over to the BMW Motorcycle Dealer as indicated on the BMW Website.  Two weeks prior we had contacted them from Egypt regarding the rear drive problem, but were very discouraged since they did not know what a R1200GS is and never heard of a rear drive.  Arriving at the BMW Dealer it was immediately apparent that they only deal with cars.  Our plea for help from the BMW parts department fell on deaf ears, we were told that no rear drive was available in the gulf, sorry and good-bye.  They were not interested in the least to help two stranded Canadians.  We did not understand how BMW Motorcycle Website can advertise these guys as Jordan BMW Motorcycle representatives, when they clearly are not capable of handling motorcycles.  Very disappointed, Ahmad takes us to the Kawasaki Dealership close by and to meet a friend and mechanic named Isaam.  As it happens he was working on an old BMW in the shop.  We pull in and he instantly drops everything and within 20 minutes has the rear drive assembly completely apart.  The spline teeth were totally worn away.  The nearest capable BMW Motorcycle Dealership was maybe Beirut or Istanbul.  Isaam recommended a short term resolution, which was a bit radical but our only option at this point.  We got 5 holes machined into the spline of the rear drive and bolted up.  Our main concern was if the bolts would be able to with stand the torque and not shear.  Hanging out at the shop, we met Mazen (another name I had gotten from Marisa – Jordan Embassy in case of motorcycle trouble).  Mazen is a top motorcycle stunt rider and training for the championship.  We discussed the bike problem, but he also wasn't sure if the bolts would hold.  Then a French guy, living in Jordan and working for his majesty King Abdullah arrives on his Harley Davidson Fat Boy.  The motorcycle community in Jordan is not very large and everyone knows everyone.  We realize we had the best mechanic in Jordan trying to help us.  Jordan does not allow any motorcycles over 250cc to be on the road.  But with special connections, it is possible to get big cc motorcycles registered.  We also met Iz Khalaf, who manages the Kawasaki Shop.  Coincidently, he used to live in Canada for seven (7) years.  Even though we are in Jordan with an unusual motorcycle, we met some very great people, all giving their best to help us. It was 10pm by the time we checked into the Olympia hotel, which was the cheapest hotel we could find at 35 Dinars ($70CDN)/per night and also the most run down we had stayed at in Jordan.  Amman is not cheap for hotels.  The downtown area, has cheap hotels with shared bathrooms, but the area looks very scary and definitely not safe to leave your motorcycle on the road.

May 04, 2006. Since check-out time was not until 12pm, we decide to head to the restored 2nd Century Roman Theatre downtown via taxi (2.400 Dinars or $4.80CDN).  It can't be missed as it is cut into the northern side of a hill.  It once served as the necropolis and can hold up to 6000 people. A row of partial columns still remain at the entrance and at the end a 500 seat Odeon has been restored.  The Roman Theatre has a two museums (Museum of Popular Traditions and Museum of Folklore) attached to it, which display pre and post excavation pictures, as well as some great traditional costumes and accessories.  Then we walked up Jebel al-Qala'a.  On the hill-top, in the centre of Amman, lays the excavated ruins of an Umayyad Palace, dating from approx. 720AD.  The columns of the Temple of Hercules can be seen clearly from the Roman Theatre. Other interesting excavations on this site are the Byzantine Basilica Church from around the 6th Century, the Umayyad Cistern and an amazing domed audience hall.  The museum is again well done and has artifacts dating back as far as the stone age.  Back at the hotel we pack up the motorcycles and back-track to Madaba, were we had the unfortunate break down a couple of days earlier.  But it was not meant to be, just as we found our way out from the maze of roads in Amman, the rear drives fails again.  Two of the five bolts sheared off already.  We parked in front of a McDonald's, they let us use the phone and we contact Isaam, the mechanic. Within minutes he arrives on his scooter and checks out the problem.  We could tell he was disappointed, very slowly we made it back to the shop.  His guys went in search for bolts made out of stronger material.  But we all knew that this fix wasn't going to last.  Iz Khalaf, pretty much hands over his office to me for the afternoon and I get on the internet and phone, to try to find a new rear drive.  There was a rear drive available in the US, but they didn't ship outside the country.  Kuwait BMW dealership was closed for two days because of the Muslim weekend.  Lebanon BMW and Turkey dealership did not get back to us after we called.  Getting desperate I contact the BMW Dealership Bernhardt in Herborn-Sinn, Germany.  And finally we got some service.  Herr (Mr) Bastian, understood our dilemma and between him and the parts person, we located a rear drive assembly.  We had located the part number from the internet earlier and were able to speed up the process for next day delivery to the Germany BMW Shop.  Then a set back, they didn't take credit cards, only debit or cash.  The bill came to 1450 Euro after DHL shipment. I asked the parts person to throw in some rear brake pads and rear drive oil as well.  A friend of mine, Kalli, who originally had introduced me to the shop in Germany was my only hope to get the cash to them.  As time was an issue to us, with the motorcycle's Jordan visas running out in 5 days, we needed to get these parts asap.  Of course I didn't have his number on me, but since he is a valued customer with the Dealership they gave me his handy (cell) number.  Bingo, Kalli, also a long-time BMW rider comes to the rescue and immediately drives over to the dealership to pay them and in addition arranges for the DHL shipment.  Mentally exhausted we get off the phone, hoping that it all worked.  It is close to 6pm and the rear drive is back in place with some stronger bolts.  Isaam, gives us his cell number, and to call him anytime if we breakdown.  The new rear drive should be here in three (3) days and then one (1) day to clear customs.  Installation will be quick.  That will leave us just enough time to head to the border to leave Jordan, before the visa expires for the motorcycles. We leave Amman and return to Madaba.  Once the part comes in, we will hook up with Isaam again for installation.  We stay at the Mariam Hotel again. 

May 05, 2006.  We get confirmation that the new rear drive has left Germany via DHL.  The shipping bill was 400 Euro ($580CDN).  Ouch.  In the morning we explored the tourist attractions located in the town of Madaba, all in walking distance from the Hotel.  Our first stop is the Greek Orthodox St. George's Church, known for the 560AD constructed Mosaic Map showing the 157 captions of all major biblical sites from Lebanon to Egypt.  Only 1/3 of the mosaic survived.  Madaba's Archaeological Park contains the Hippolytus Hall and the 6th Century Church of the Virgin Mary.  The mosaic on the floor is incredible and dates back to 767AD.  But the most amazing experience was walking on the remains of the Roman Road.  At the south end of the town is the Church of the Apostles, which contains well preserved/restored mosaics dedicated to the 12 Apostles.  The afternoon we relax at the swimming pool and then a couple of hours before sunset we ride to Mt Nebo located 9kms from Madaba.  Mt Nebo is famous from the biblical story, where Moses is said to have seen the Promised Land.  The highlight of Mt Nebo is the mosaics in the Moses Memorial Church (built in 6th Century) and the spectacular sunset we witnessed over the Dead Sea, Jericho and Jerusalem.  Even though the site closed at 7pm, the security guys let us stay until the sun disappeared.  All other tourists had left by 6:30pm.

May 06, 2006.  We plan a day trip with the motorcycles along the length of the Dead Sea on the Jordan site.  Our scenic route takes us over Mt. Nebo and descends into the Dead Sea valley.  We are lucky to not have a lot of haze and visibility is excellent.  Israel's mountain range is clearly visible.  There are military check stops all along the Dead Sea.  We had to take the Helmet off and show our passports at each check point.  Mostly the military guys are just excited to see us and want to talk to us.  The drive along the Dead Sea is beautiful.  With the exception of the northern part of the sea, there are no hotels or even villages along the length of the Dead Sea.  The salt flats at the south end of the Dead Sea are mined for the salt content.  On the way back we stop off along the Dead Sea and climb over salt covered rocks.  The cliffs are covered with salt deposits and stalagmites, and the blue water of the Dead Sea, gives it a surreal look.  Further up the Sea, we stop at the Herodus Spring Canyon and go for a swim in the Dead Sea.  We all have seen the pictures of people floating on the Dead Sea, but it was incredible to be that buoyant the moment you enter the water.  It is very relaxing and we had a lot of fun goofing around. Afterwards we washed the salt off ourselves in the Herodus Spring stream.  Riding back to Madaba, we detoured to the Moses Springs and noticed that two (2) of the five (5) bolts on Mike's rear drive were shorn off again.  Other than the rear drive problems, it has been another great day in Jordan.

May 07, 2006.  We are up at 5am to head for Jerash, which is located about 80km north of Madaba.  With Mike's bike out of commission, we decide to double up.  The countryside north of Amman is very hilly/mountainous and green reminding us of the Okanogan Valley.  Yeah maybe we are just a little bit home sick.  The Guide book indicates that the site opens at 7am, but upon arrival we learn that it actually is 8am.  Sitting on the entrance steps, we have our breakfast and talk to a local vendor about life in Jordan and usual politics.  It is interesting to see that views are the same all over the world.  He was quite well educated and new his history.  As always the Americans didn't come out too well.  The most annoying aspect on this trip in regards to Americans has been that they pose as Canadians.  It annoys us since they act obnoxious, loud and seem to think that they are above all.  That is not a reputation I want to have as a Canadian.  We have been able to pick them out of crowds at every tourist site, due to their behavior.  It doesn't make them any friends over here that is for sure.  Stop posing as Canadians.  Back to wonderful Jerash.  It took us about 3 1/2 hrs to walk through the old Roman City.  Most of the buildings, monuments and structures date from 90AD to 165AD and it is said that 90% of the site has not been excavated.  That is unbelievable, because what has been excavated is spectacular.  There is no shortage of Roman columns and structures to see.  Even the Greek sites like Olympia seem small in comparison.  We enter through the Hadrian's Arch (129AD), also called the southern gate.  Restoration and excavation is on-going and actual progress can be seen everywhere.  To the left of the Hadrian's Arch is the Hippodrome, a massive arena of 245m long and 52m wide, which in its day could seat 15,000 spectators.  Chariot races and other sports were held here.  The road opens up then to a 90 x 80m Oval Plaza surrounded by some 56 still standing ionic columns. To the south-west of the Oval Plaza is the South Theatre, built around 90-92AD and seats up to 3000 spectators.  The acoustics from the centre of the orchestra floor are amazing.  The theatre is still used today.  Another staircase leads up from the Oval Plaza to the Temple of Zeus (162AD), built on a much older sacred site.  The sacred site in front of the Temple served as a high place and dates back to 100-80BC.  The Temple of Zeus is surrounded by 15m high Corinthian columns.  Reconstruction of the temple is currently in progress.  Pictures from 1920's show that not much of this temple had survived.   It is great to see that Jordan is reconstructing these ancient sites. From the Oval Plaza, we walk on the original stone paved Roman Road, still visible are the ruts worn by the chariot wheels.  The Cardo stretches 800m to the north gate and is lined on both sides with Corinthian columns.  Clearly visible is the underground sewage system, draining rainwater.  Ancient stone manholes are spaced strategically along the entire length of the Colonnaded Street.  Only the four corners of the South Tetrapylon remain.  The Decumanus street crosses here and leads to a 73m bridge.  Most of it is now buried under resident houses.  Here we see the main street of today passing directly over the old Roman Road, between two sets of columns.  Half way down the Colonnaded Street is the impressive entrance to the Cathedral.  Originally built in the 2nd Century the Roman Temple of Dinonysus was rebuilt in the 4th Century as a Byzantine Church.  Behind the Cathedral is the Church of Saint Theodore, followed by the Church of St John the Baptist. To the left of the Church of St. John the Baptist is the Church of St. George and to the right is the Church of St Cosmos & St Damianus.  Further up the hill is the Church of Bishop Genesius.  Here a mosaic covering the entire floor has been uncovered.  It is a little off the beaten path and probably missed by most tourists.  Back on the Colonnaded Street, beside the Cathedral entrance is the Nymphaeum.  Very well preserved and an excellent example of the grandness of this city.  The Nymphaeum is followed by the overpowering gateway (Propylaeum) to the Temple of Artemis.  Huge Columns line the entrance and a staircase leads up to a U-shaped terrace, where an open-air altar is still visible.  Continuing on, another staircase leads into the Temenos surrounded by 22 columns.  In addition, the entire 162x121m sacred precinct is surrounded on all four sides by columns.  This area is a good example of how much debris had to be excavated as some of the columns are still partially covered.  Opposite the Temple of Artemis on the Colonnaded Street is the Propylaeum Church.  The remains of the West Bath, which used to cover an area of 50x70m was destroyed in the 749AD earthquake.  The North Tetrapylon has been nicely restored and links the North Colonnaded Street with the Cardo and North Decumanus Street.  The North Theatre, located off the North Decumanus Street, not as grand as the South Theatre, but has been nicely restored.  The partially standing North Gate is the end of the Roman Road as it is now visible.  It has been an amazing journey through Roman History.  In 30 years we will be back to see the progress of rebuilding and excavation.

May 08, 2006.  With the motorcycle part being in Jordan, but being cleared by customs, we remain in Madaba for another night.  It gives us the opportunity to update our website with the Jordan pictures, journal and answer e-mail.  Uploading all the information took us over seven (7) hours.  We restocked our food supply and prepared for entry to Syria.  Mike takes off the rear wheel and replaces the bolts that have sheared off with spares to make it to Amman.

May 09, 2006.  We get to the Kawasaki Dealership at around 11am.  DHL was responsible for clearing the final drive through customs.  I don’t know where our luck has been on this trip, but DHL screwed up and told us that they will not be able to clear the motorcycle part until 4pm the next day.  They also could not guarantee that it would clear the next day.  That we were upset with DHL was an understatement.  We had paid 400 Euro for two (2) day delivery and five (5) days later we still didn’t have the part.  There was no cooperation on DHL's part.  This has been the second major incident with DHL, as they had lost an air compressor the previous year for us.  Iz, the owner of the Kawasaki Dealership in Amman, pulled some strings and got his custom broker involved.  Our motorcycle visa’s expired at 7pm and we needed to be at the Syrian border to avoid additional paperwork and headache.  At 5pm the motorcycle part arrived in the shop.  We had to pay 561 Dinars ($1122.00CDN) in Duty to Customs for a part that cost us $1400.00CDN. It was unbelievable.  We had no choice, it was the only negative aspect about Jordan.  By 6pm, Isaam had installed the final drive and new brake pads.  The Germany BMW Dealership that had supplied us with the part was excellent and had sent instructions, as well as a personal note that indicated that the drive was full of oil.  Iz and his crew at the Amman Kawasaki Dealership did an outstanding job and we can't thank them enough.  If you are ever in motorcycle trouble in the Jordan, Egypt or the Syrian area head for them.  The mechanic, Isaam, is well known and does excellent work.  If you are on a KLR650, you are at the right spot as well.  This is it, we say good-bye and head toward the Syrian Border.  The sun is setting has we head through northern Jordan, and in total darkness we arrive at the border.  Checking out of Jordan is easy and took us about 45 minutes.  Everyone is very friendly.  We had to pay 5 Dinars Departure Tax for each person and another 5 Dinars for each motorcycle.  The carnet de passages were stamped out and we said good-bye to Jordan and welcome to Syria at 8pm.

© www.2canadiansonbikes.com & www.unusvita.com
Slideshow