9:11 pm
Dead Sea, Jordan

We have arrived at our last hotel of this journey together.  We are back on the shores of the Dead Sea, gazing across the water to Israel – and the lights of Jerusalem after sunset.  For us, it was a bit of a quiet day.  It nearly as much walking – but just as much eating.

After a delicious breakfast, we were on the bus by 8 am.  Margaret was still not feeling well but seemed to get better and the day wore on.  I had Ruby start the day with a final overlook of Petra.  The day was cool and the skies as clear as we have seen on this journey,  We stopped at a place from which we could see the entrance to the site, the path to the siq, the entrance to the siq, and we could trace the siq from above by watching the canyon wind through the hills.  It was pretty spectacular.  We could see Mt. Hor (burial place of Aaron) and the high place near The Monastery.

While there we ready most of the book of Obadiah, the book describing the sin of Edom (Petra is in Edom) and the future of the kingdom of Israel.  We were too soon back on the bus and headed out of the Petra area.  There was a brief stop at one of the Springs of Moses there in Petra.  Not all got out of the bus to see the spring (I stayed on the bus).

We spent most of the rest of the morning meandering through small Jordanian villages – though we finally did make it to the main highway, which shortened our trip.  It was most interesting to stop for gas.  It was a small town, but the gas station was huge (the property was bigger than any gas station I’ve ever seen).  It was new and lovely (and had cheap snacks for a change).  Bart bought me a Snickers.  Twice the size and less than half the cost on the tourist stopping place/shop.  What was striking was how comfortable it was.  Cool. Breezy.  Just lovely to be off the bus and enjoy some fresh air.  But, it didn’t last long.

We stopped again in an hour.  Restrooms.  Plus the shopping adventure which comes along with it. For me, the most interesting time on the bus was when Ruby described what it was like to be a Christian in a Muslim country.  Jordan is not a radical Muslim country, but there are issues she lives with as a minority.  She had some great stories.

We got off the main road (near the airport, actually) and turned westward.  We skirted around Madeba and stopped at a Mosaic shop near Mt. Nebo.  The items for sale are not cheap – but it is very interesting to watch mosaics being made.
Lunch was a five-minute ride away.  And, at $15, was voted worst lunch of the trip. 

Back on the bus for the 45-minute drive to our hotel.  We passed right by the church on the top of Mt. Nebo, where we’d been day before yesterday.  We came down the winding mountain to drop into the deepest valley on earth.  It was a bit clearer today than two days ago.  You could see the Dead Sea from the top of the mountain today.

We were down at our hotel before too long – and it was about 2:30.  We are at the Hilton.  It’s a newer hotel – and lovely.  The lobby opens up with a great view of the Dead Sea.  Now, it is a little confusing to find your room, with all the separate buildings and elevators and stairs.  But we managed. My room smelled of stale smoke, but they couldn’t change it, but came and cleaned it.  Not sure it helped.  But it is better.  Some of us went down to the Dead Sea for a mud bath and swim.  I think just about all of us ended up there.  It was nice, tho lots of stairs to get down there.  I mudded up.  Let it dry.  Then soaked for a while in the Dead Sea.  Showered.  Then swam in an actual pool for just a couple of minutes.

Back to the room to shower before dinner.  Enjoy the sunset.  Begin the ordeal of packing for the long trip home.  Went down to dinner at 7:30.  Some ate outside on the patio – hot and breezy.  I opted for inside.  And I think this place had the best buffet of the trop so far.  But this isn’t a food blog.  But the grilled shrimp with coconut sauce was delicious.  And the desserts delicious.  Best of trip.

Back to the room to blog and get ready for bed.  Tomorrow we leave at 8 for a trip up through the Jordan Valley and a look at three of the Decapolis cities.  Should be a good day.  But it’ll be a long one.  We end tomorrow with a trip to the airport to begin the journey home.  It was nice to relax a little today.  It’s been a busy time in Jordan.

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