we’d planned to stake out at the Israeli embassy for a chance to get a visa for Ravi (why he still holds on to a Malaysian passport is something i cannot understand since he’s more of a Singaporean than anything else) but the lady on the Israeli embassy line told us that we should come the next day instead, cos they didn’t accept visa applications that day.
it was a very strange conversation. she answered my questions very vaguely and only said “i cannot say this now, you should come down tomorrow so we can talk face-to-face.”
we were so hopeful after that!
so we celebrated by heading to Mt Nebo, Bethany-beyond-the-Jordan and an evening at the Dead Sea.
Mt Nebo’s where Moses spotted the Promised Land and is said to have died, at 120 years of age. not sure if that was metaphorical though, perhaps he felt 120 years old, what with all that suffering and walking. but what do i know?
there’s now a Moses Memorial Church at the top of Mt Nebo. the view from up there was stupendous. Pope John Paul II had visited this memorial and i felt the place was more him than Moses, what with the plastic wrapped prayer clothes and pictures of him everywhere. what i found particularly fascinating was the Roman milestone (ya know, that all roads lead to Rome?), it had names i could actually read!
but of course, pictures will come this way only next month.
thereafter, we went off to Bethany-beyond-the-Jordan. passed by the hill where prophet Elijah is said to have ascended to heaven from. Bethany was so hot, my already sunburnt face turned beetroot red like i had put a grater to my face. my hair felt like hay. we were near the lowest point on Earth, at the Dead Sea, temperatures were soaring well close to 40 and above.
i wanted to ascend to heaven.
we got to the spot where Jesus is believed to have been baptised by John the Baptist. they are still excavating the area and are almost convinced that this was the exact spot Jesus was baptised at. the Jordan river 2000 years ago was very different from what it is today. where he was baptised is now dry, and the river runs a different course.
i felt one with history.
in the searing heat and walking to the buzz of the locusts, we walked to the Jordan River, where on the other side of the bank, we saw both the Israeli and Jordanian flags side by side.
like everything’s OK.
we all took turns baptising our feet and stealing Jordanian River water in 1.5L water bottles. one i emptied in 5 minutes because we had not had the foresight to bring an empty bottle.
Ravi went Jesus and dipped his head into the river, much to the amusement of the others amongst us.
the guide said a whole loada things, and lemme tell ya this, information overload. from Jerash to Ajloun, to Mt Nebo and Bethany – i think i switched off in between in waves.
after getting positively fried in the Jordanian Valley sun, we headed to the Dead Sea. being the el cheapo people that we are (Jordan is not a cheap place for tourists), we headed to Amman Beach.
Ravi, who cannot swim, was absolutely excited to bob around the Dead Sea.
“i’m floating! i’m floating!”
“oh my gawd, i so don’t know who you are.”
the sand on the beach was compact, hard, darkish and extremely hot in the summer sun. stepping into the sea itself was freaky for me, because i was so worried i’d cut myself on the stones and salt rocks – then die from pain in the water.
but i was just being very rubbish.
once inside, i didn’t want to come out although i could feel the 40 degree sun burning into everything on my body. i was also hoping nobody would come near us cos i hadn’t shaved both my pits or my legs (cos it’s a bad idea to do so before jumping into the Dead Sea). not many people were around because it was a week day.
we watched two local Jordanians spread mud all over each other and wanted to follow suit. because ya know, when in Jordan, do as the Jordanians do. and for free without a spa!
Ravi asked them where they got their mud from and he came back with enough to heal skin diseases of the world. i didn’t think i’d be as excited as i was, spreading mud all over myself. but then again, pigs seem to be very happy creatures.
the water got into my left eye and i was trying very, very hard not to scream. i stumbled to the beach and fumbled for the water bottle. the lifeguard (who’s quite hot and exotic) came and save the day.
he poured the water over my eyes, and voila! the pain was gone! just like that!
and then, i proceeded to get salt water in my eyes again and again and again. then to top it off, in my mouth. i cannot describe the taste. it was bizarre.
we packed the mud into a plastic bag, washed off the mud in the sea, then washed the salt off at the shower stands and proceeded to go back to the hotel.
and then there was an accident! first we heard a loud BOOM! then wheels screeched, then the car overturned and smashed into a lamp post so hard, the two lamps swung from side to side (the sturdy metal ones!) before dropping.
thankfully none of the passengers were hurt.
the Jordanian police were on site within 30 seconds. not exaggerating, i was extremely impressed.
we had dinner at Blue Fig Cafe, an upmarket cafe/bar/restaurant near hip and expensive Abdoun Circle. the food was alright but the hot chocolate was excellent.
i had the Pakistani Catch and Ravi had some kinda hybrid fusion food that tasted as strange as the combination – tahineh + oriental chicken.
our skin were smooth like a baby’s bottom that night. i couldn’t stop touching my arms. mental masturbation, ha ha.
we passed out that night. we’ve had some pretty busy days.