Friday, January 13, 2006

Jordan Jollies - Day Seven

Jordan Jollies Aqaba was totally cloudy when we woke up. We didn't fancy breakfast at the hotel, and weren't even sure it was provided, so we wandered around the town and found a little restaurant. For such a well-known place (thank you Lawrence), Aqaba is tiny. We took a drive to the South Coast where the beaches are - but they were all windy and deserted. We had a spot of rain on the way. The day is looking like a bit of a washout - it's too cold and windy for the beach or Wadi Rum, lots of sand in the air, and we don't really know what to do.

One thing on our list was to buy Offspring a new shisha - his old one is allegedly held together with sticky tape and silver foil. BetterArf and I had looked at some the previous evening and noticed some very small cute ones in armoured travelling cases, but really we don't know anything about what makes a good shisha, so fortunately we didn't buy one. Offspring know exactly what to look for - the bigger the better seems to be the mantra. He chose a monster - at least a metre high, and of course the most expensive. But even at 19 JDs it was a fraction of what he'd have to pay in London.

We had been thinking about a trip in a glass-bottomed boat, but the operators try to rip us off. The official government price list has been doctored, so the one-hour trip that was supposed to cost 15 JD now reads 25. One guy offered us 20, but I was pissed off with being robbed and we left. As we did so a guy was calling 'one-hour, 15', but it was too late, they'd blown it with this particular tourist.

A new plan was hatched. Go to Wadi Mousa (the town next to Petra) and splurge on a hotel with stars to its name, a full-sized bath and stupidly hot water. We got to Wadi Mousa about 3pm and checked into the Petra Palace Hotel. We got a huge room with a fabulous bathroom and lots and lots of fluffy white towels. It was 60JD for the night, but we reckoned we'd earned a bit of luxury.

BetterArf went off for a good old pummelling at a nearby Turkish Bath while Offspring and I headed for the bar downstairs. It advertised Kilkenny and Guinness, but of course they didn't have any. I settled for Petra Beer (8% alc), 'The Taste of the Rosy City'. We had a little chat with the barman who told us he had lived in Sharjah for a year but found it 'too fake'. While we were in the bar, the heavens opened and we witnessed a terrific downpour.

In the evening the restaurant offered a buffet dinner. I was starting to panic because there was no mansaf to be seen. I asked the maitre d' about it and he raised an eyebrow as if to say 'you won't like it', but did offer to send out to a local restaurant for some. I didn't bother, but in retrospect I probably should have taken up the offer.

Tension builds - will Keefieboy get to try mansaf before leaving Jordan?

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