What’s going on in the Mideast…the Morrisons visit Aqaba, Jordan

Last December Chet and I took a cruise on Seabourn from Dubai to Singapore. We were on the Seabourn Spirit for over two weeks and made many new friends. Two of those were Owen and Lesley Morrison who live near Brisbane, Australia. They loved their Seabourn cruise so much that they signed on for a couple of more cruises this spring. Owen has been sending “Postcards” to friends and family and they are so well-written that I thought I would share them with you. Plus, right now they are traveling in a part of the world — the Mideast — that many cruisers are wondering about. Here is his first-hand report.

By Owen Morrison

Special to AllThingsCruise

Yesterday (April 29) we were in Aqaba, Jordan, and we could have gone to Israel a few miles from where we were at no cost at the border going in, but there was a $75 fee to return to Jordan.  So we choose not to go for a number of reasons, one was that we needed a visa that they put on a separate page in your passport, so you can take it out when you go to an Arab country. We have been told some Arab countries will not let you in if your passport shows you have been to Israel. Also, safety is a concern in Israel at the moment.

Owen and Lesley Morrison

So we just stayed in Jordan. We took the shuttle bus in to town, but as it is Friday most of the gold shops and large shops were closed as Friday and Saturday is the Arab weekend. Sunday to Thursday is their working week. The small shops and souvenir shops were open and there were shops selling water wings and rubber tubes so all the children to go to the beach. We walked around town and at the crossings here you take your life in your hands as they do not stop for anyone. There was even a McDonalds in town.

Lesley was going to buy a cloth bag for Tayla our eldest grandchild, but they wanted too much even when we haggled, so we did not buy it. We sat in the park and some local Jordanian children came up and talked to us in broken English and before we left I asked their mother if I could take their photos and first she said okay, but then the father said no. So after about 45 minutes dodging the traffic we went back on the shuttle bus  to the ship.

We did not go on the tour to Petra because we were told that there was three hours of walking over very uneven ground with loose rocks underfoot. I could have taken a donkey ride or a donkey ans cart ride, but I talked to someone who did the cart ride and his back and bottom were very sore afterwards as there is no padding. Good decision on our part not to go. We got one of our friends to try and get a DVD for us about it, we have got some books about it and one of our friends will send us some photos.

Petra is an ancient Nabatean city north of here. It is one of the Seven Wonders of the World and is situated in the remote Shara Mountains. It was a vital part of a major trading route connecting ancient Mesopotamia, Africa, China and India. The locals built the city of rock in the mountains and to this day it is a place of magic with its ornate carved facades and ever changing colors. The city was occupied by the Romans and the Byzantines and they have left their mark as well.

The Dead Sea is north of here as well but with the trouble in Syria it is not the place to go without security

Wadi Rum is 45 minutes north of Aqaba and offers a combination of desert landscape, desert wildlife, archaeological ruins and is the land where T. H. Lawrence and the Arab revolt took place. The Bedouin culture still exists  here.. We were going on a 4-wheel drive to this region but the tour was cancelled due to lack of numbers.

We are now on our way back to Egypt to the port near Cairo named Sokhna and we arrive there tomorrow morning. Lesley is going on a tour to The Giza Pyramids and the Egyptian Museum. After that we move on to the Suez Canal.

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About Cynthia Boal Janssens

Cynthia Boal Janssens is the editor and chief blogger for AllThingsCruise.com. She is a former national president of the Society of American Travel Writers (SATW). She has sailed on over 40 cruises all over the world.

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