Wadi Mujib

Today my friends and I went to Wadi Mujib, which is listed as one of the best things to do in Jordan as it is known for its natural beauty. Wadi Mujib is a wadi near the Dead Sea, so we took a bus from Amman to the Dead Sea and then got a taxi to take us from a spot at the Dead Sea to Wadi Mujib (there are not buses that go to Wadi Mujib). We opted to not do the longer guided route because the entrance fee with a guide is very expensive, so we haggled a lower student entrance fee, put on the mandatory live vests and were on our way!

Wadi Mujib was gorgeous. My photos cannot capture its true beauty (and the last 2 photos are of the Dead Sea) and I could only take limited photos because I wrapped my phone in about ten ziplock bags so that it would not get water damaged. A lot of the wadi involved swimming and full immersion in water, so everything we were carrying got completely soaked– thank goodness for my plentiful ziplock bag protection!

A lot of the route was quite challenging and involved climbing up small waterfalls using ropes, shimming up slippery rocks, and sliding down steep tall rocks in waterfalls. Luckily there were some ropes provided to help with the process, but many parts were quite challenging and daunting. I was glad for the challenge though, because it showed me that I can handle this type of physical and mental challenge!

At the end of the wadi is a huge waterfall (if one has a guide, one can actually go up the waterfall) so we hung out there for a bit and ate lunch before heading back. Heading back was a little more difficult because its easier to climb up a rapid than to slide down the rocks to descend, but we made it in one piece!

I probably enjoyed Wadi Hessa more, even though it was far longer and more challenging because it had similar landscapes to Wadi Mujib as well as more landscapes that were all in all, more breathtaking. I also liked how natural Wadi Hessa is– though Mujib is also natural, there are clear manmade constructions, like the ropes attached to rocks, some stairs at some parts, and nails attached to some rocks to keep them in. Wadi Hessa seemed almost unexplored and untouched, which added to its awe.

Overall, though, I had a wonderful time at the gorgeous Wadi Mujib and a great last day of my long weekend. Time for school tomorrow though; can’t believe I only have two weeks left in Jordan!

Swimming was not exactly as expected…

After school, my host sisters and I went to a gym nearby our house to try to exercise (and work off some of the bread and rice that makes up a large part of the Jordanian diet!). They told me that the gym also has a pool, so I was really excited to be able to swim some laps. I got a membership (about the same price as a membership in the US, although, the benefit of a gym membership is that you can take showers outside of the house!!!– there is a water shortage in Jordan, so the amount of water allotted per household is limited, so I am super excited to be able to take more frequent/a bit longer showers without worrying about using up my host family’s water).

The gym is for women only (to allow women to uncover their hair/dress a little less conservatively), though I have to say that this gym was not exactly what I expected. It is very pretty inside and well decorated, though it is very different in this sense from the simple and modernly-decorated gyms in the US that are very focused on fitness training or weight loss. Well, it’s a new experience, and they have lots of treadmills so that’s good! The pool turned out to not really be a lap pool, but a pool with little waterfalls and little lagoons for people to relax in… well, I just swam laps around people, so I made the obstacle course work. I did, however, feel a little scandalous in my one-piece, as most of the women there were wearing long shirts and pants. All a new experience! The gym schedule, however, changes during Ramadan, so I’ll have to make sure to fit the new times into my schedule.

After swimming, one of our friends who lives in the same building came and made some henna designs for us! It was a fun evening, we sat around and talked as the henna dried. She made such a pretty design for me!

IMG_2728 IMG_2733

Sawadi

December 20, 2013

Another great day! My host parents and I met up with my parents at Sawadi Beach and from the beach, we took a small motor boat to an island close-by.

The island that we went to had tall rocky hills, but was small enough to know it was an island (if one climbed to the top of the rocks, one could easily see the whole island). It was one of the most beautiful places that I have ever been too: the water was very blue and clear with coral showing in some of the areas and the island gave a great view of the surrounding small islands and the vast expanse of water. It was breathtaking.

I went swimming with my host brothers and climbed some of the rocks. We then barbecued chicken and beef and ate a picnic on the beach. Next was some more swimming, and like the dweeb I am, I brought my goggles so I could look underwater. And I’m glad I did, because there were lots of small rainbow-colored fish to look at!

After spending some more time swimming, we took the boat back. At this point, the tide had receded quite a bit, so we walked the boat some ways to the shore. Many cars were driving around the beach and a lot of men were hanging out in different areas on the beach.

I said goodbye to my host parents since I was going to stay with my parents for a few days. We drove to the house they were staying at, showered, and ate at a delicious Lebanese restaurant.