Trip to Petra – Jordan: the visually stunning archeological site of the ancient world

So recently I travelled on business to Amman, in Jordan. While the city itself is primitive, full of lovely people, good quality arabic food and hookah joints at every corner, there are very limited avenues for one day trips.

With the limited time available at my disposal for sight-seeing, I chose the option to visit the archeological site of Petra (one of seven wonders of the world). I was told the journey would be a one day drive, and I shall be back early evening. The other option available was a visit to the dead sea, but this I moved to my “must visit with wifey” list.

Petra as many know is one of the most visually stunning archeological sites of the ancient world. It is a 1.5 Km long walk in the stony and beautiful mountains, which are visually stunning.

meMy office helped arrange a cab ride for me and the journey with a young Palestinian driver commenced sharply at 9 Am. The driver, I was told, was studying in Amman and was a part-time tour driver. He was very fluent in English and polite in his demeanor. He dropped me at the entrance and guided me to the ticketing booth. He also advised me to buy at least two bottles of water and a Kufiya (Arab headdress – scarf). While the bottles of water made sense to me, I thought it was a marketing gimmick for asking me to buy the kufiya (I soon realized how wrong I was.)

The 1.5 km walk which takes about 4 hours, with halts and stops, was really overwhelming. It was a visual treat but also very exhaustive because of the heat. I finished the two bottles of water within 2 hours and was searching hard for more water and a Kufiya.

There were small camel rides which were offered by locals, but I refused for want of better pictures. I would walk for ten minutes and then click pictures for the next ten minutes, and suddenly the 1.5 Km stretch seemed like a mammoth distance to cover.

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With beautifully cut mountains on one side and sparse desserts on the other, walking in jeans and a T-shirt made me realize i had made a mistake while dressing up in the morning as well.

Finally I reached the destination, El Dier. Happy to find a lovely luncheon place and a local singer singing arabic songs on his “Buzuq”, I had a sumptuous rogan ghosht with Roti. It was already 2 in the afternoon when I started my return.

My Palestinian driver was waiting for me promptly at 4:30 and he welcomed me with a perfume bottle. 🙂

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New Years Eve: Singapore fireworks 2013

Welcome to our first travel post. But before we start, here’s wishing you a very very happy new year…May you have a prosperous and fruitful 2013.

We were in Singapore during New Year’s eve for the first time (in spite of living here for 3 years), so we decided to see the Singapore fireworks at Marina Bay. We celebrated our last New Year in Hong kong watching the fireworks and it was a wonderful experience as more than 15,000 visitors gathered around the tower which was lit up to invite 2012. The fireworks were part of the building and everyone seemed to have loved it. Here are a couple of pictures…
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People always draw comparisons between Singapore and Hong kong, both are emerging economies of South Asia, both are similar in size and foreigner intake. Both have a chinese orientation and both want to make a mark on the world with infrastructure and tourism. So our expectations from Singapore fireworks were set by the experience we had in Hong kong.

Plan was to leave from home at 9:00 PM and try to reach Marina Boulevard by 10:00 pm. But the Mrs was not ready even by 9:35, so we ended up taking a cab. On the way we saw signs which said that private vehicles were not allowed around the marina bay area and hence we were dropped off at marina bay sands itself. The instructions we found on the internet were very confusing and when the cab couldn’t drop us at a specific point, all we could do was follow the herd. As a result of which we were not aware of any concert arranged.  With us being dropped off right at MBS, we missed the entire concert and were directly at the fireworks viewing deck. So in other words we were waiting for the fireworks 2 hours in advance with nothing else to do.

Crowd was sitting at premium locations and we had no choice but to stand behind, with the crowds building behind us. Expected crowd was 25,000 and with our HKG experience, we had really high hopes, but the actual fireworks did not commence until 12:00.. so basically we were left bored with no entertainment but to look at others. The government in HKG had made sure people had things to do when they waited during the countdown, like intermittent light shows or other things like small fireworks. But here, there was nothing, the count down was basically a painful wait.

The actual fireworks lasted for only 8 mins, and it was over before we were even started enjoying it. It was good but Mrs thought it was nothing spectacular. I guess we count the whole experience rather than just the fireworks. Here are a few pics.

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We didn’t manage to take many descent shots as it was very crowded. Nonetheless, we had fun. Strolled around Boat Quay for some time and took the last train home.

Introduction….

We are a young couple and feel extremely privileged to have travelled to the places that we have. We currently live in Singapore which gives us easy access to travel to neighbouring countries like Malaysia, Thailand, Cambodia, China and Indonesia among many others. We love to travel even if it’s within Singapore.

We hope to pen down our travel experience in this blog and we hope you enjoy reading it.