since I last wrote we’ve been to Jordan, Egypt, and Greece. we had two days in Jordan, the best port so far. the first day six of us went to Petra (where they did Indiana Jones). on the way to Petra we saw camels and goats grazing. when we arrived in Petra we started the walk, you have to walk quite a while before you get to the main site, a lot of the walk is through slot canyon- so beautiful. but i shouldn’t say any more, i don’t want to ruin it for you if go. but it was absolutely incredible!
but that wasn’t all, because there were six of us we had to take one of the jeep taxis that was waiting at the port and i am so glad that we did. when we first got in the driver kept going on and on trying to get us to extend our trip with him to include Wadi Rum and after negotiating the price we decide to go. Wadi Rum is a desert with huge sandstone rock formations, we didn’t see another person the whole time we were there. this was our driver’s specialty, he knew all the coolest spots to stop and even told us the best routes to climb up them. he knew where the best parts were to go super fast or to skid around corners. on the way to Wadi Rum he stopped to buy fruit. so when we stopped at the best place to watch the sunset he cut up the fruit for us. then as it got darker and the stars started coming out he built a fire and made tea for us. so many stars…
then the next day in Jordan- as part of the English program on board we have Challenge Programs in some of the ports. myself and six other teachers were leading the one in Jordan. it was a cultural exchange between 26 of our students and the students studying English at Aqaba Jordan College. our students taught them origami, wrote the Jordanian student’s names is Japanese kanji, dressed them in kimono and taught them to use chop sticks. the Jordanian students performed a mock wedding for us and to live music we danced and danced. after the program was over we were left with a bit of free time so we found a back ally outdoor shisha café (where men sit around drinking tea or coffee and smoking flavored tobacco out of meter tall water pipes while watching TV and playing backgammon). Jordan was great!
Egypt- after going through the Suez canal we arrived in Egypt at night. we only had a few hours to roam around Port Said so i really wasn’t expecting anything very exciting. three other girls and i got off the boat and just started walking. we came across a mosque, we went up the stairs to look inside and were waved in by someone and told to go around into the back room. there was an old woman who gave us something to wear that would cover our hair and entire bodies. then they lined us up with them and we went through the whole prayer with them, all the kneeing and bowing and everything. honestly, i didn’t think that they would allow just anyone to come in and actually do the prayer with them. i was very impressed.
then we left and just continued walking in a random direction and end up at our first Mediterranean beach of the voyage. we sat on the beach for just a little while and then started to head back. we saw an outdoor café and decide to stop and have some tea and shisha. my friend had to go to the toilet so as the manager was walking us through the closed restaurant part to get there we could hear loud music pounding through the ceiling so i asked him if there was a club upstairs. he said, “no, it’s a wedding party. do you want to go?”. of course we said yes. we were there for a bit and then the manager brought our other friends up. we got to dance with the bride and the band. unbelievable!
the next day all the teachers and interpreters got a free tour of the pyramids. of course it was spectacular. after the tour we had some free time in Cairo so we went to the market. it was fun but to touristy. on the way back to the bus our taxi got bumped on the side by another taxi and we got to witness a classic Arabic yelling match, a can’t miss in this part of the world!
then on to Greece- we got a healthy dose of culture shock when we arrived on Mykonos island. we went from being able to see women’s faces and hands at the most to being able to see it all, literally all. we rented four wheelers and went to two beaches, had an incredible lunch, and window shopped. the next day we arrived in Piraeus and saw all the main Greek ruins, some beautiful churches and ate a ton more good food.
next – Catania, Italy.