My fight left New Delhi at 3:55am, which meant I needed to be at the airport in New Delhi by about 1am. The night before, we’d gotten in from dinner at about 10:30pm, so I went to my hotel room, and set an alarm for about midnight. I was heading to the airport with Maria who was also on my tour. I woke up suddenly to a phone call in my room.
My phone alarm had gone off but alas it had gone off almost silently! So I slept right through it. I went as fast as I could to pack my stuff up and get it all together and then get down to the cab. I prayed that I hadn’t forgotten anything, and I ran down to get the cab.
We got checked in without incident (she was flying Turkish while I was flying Gulf Air), and then I introduced her to the airport lounge life. 🙂 I love the benefit on Amex where you can take a guest into the lounges without paying for it… it wasn’t a well-publicized change this year, but a good one! She’d gone to the airport about 45 minutes earlier than needed so we could share a cab, so I think it was a fair trade that then she got a much better place to wait.
I got on my flight to Bahrain, where I was having a layover on my way to Amman. I counted, and I was one of five women on the flight. I have no clue why there were NO women, but it was an odd experience. And of course, I was the only one who was clearly western.
For a number of flights overseas, the flight attendants have been looking at my ticket and telling me exactly where to sit (this isn’t specific to me – this is something they do for everyone), and it’s confused me. It seems quite simple to find a row and seat number? But alas, there was someone in my seat who was clearly confused about how to find his seat, and just motioned to the flight attendant to see if I could sit on one of the rows further back. She was fine (as it was not a full flight).
I had the whole row to myself, so that was also nice given how much men here seem to start at me. So I went to sleep on the plane, and then moved my arm.
Mistake. The guy behind me had his feet ON MY FOOTREST. And y’all, these were some of the most disgusting feet I have ever seen, of course with no shoes or socks. I nearly screamed/vomited, but then collected myself. And moved to the aisle seat. I cannot believe he thought that was acceptable, but it’s another item I’m adding to the collection of things I notice that are completely unacceptable in the States that seem to work overseas.
I had a layover in Bahrain, and again found a lounge to hang out in. It was nice, so I didn’t leave to find my gate until the ticket had the boarding time. After all, the first boarding time is always so early.
Except when it’s not. I made it to my gate about five minutes later, and it was flashing the “LAST CALL” for boarding signs. So between the printed “boarding” time and “last call” apparently Gulf Air has about five minutes. I think it had to do with the fact that we had to take a bus to the plane on the airfield. But I made the flight!
Landing in Amman was completely, 100% different than landing in New Delhi. I’d organized to have a private tour in Jordan, starting with the tour guide picking me up at the airport. The tour guide’s name was Alaa, and he was super organized. And the airport had Wifi. We’d arranged to meet at the airport Starbucks, and guess what? He was there! I considered this an auspicious start to the trip.
We left the airport and went straight to the Dead Sea. I’m always so surprised by how close things are here. It was about a 45 minute drive from Amman, and I spent the whole time transfixed by looking out the window.
I still had my horrible cold from India (sorry you have to keep hearing about it – spoiler: you’re going to hear about it for like another week). The elevation change between flying and then landing and then the Dead Sea really did a number on my sinuses. This was the day I finally succumbed to start the Cipro.
But the Dead Sea was gorgeous! I can’t believe how hot it was. It was about 45 Celsius, which is basically “never leave the AC” in Fahrenheit.
We went to a resort where you can get a day pass, had lunch, and then headed to the Dead Sea!
You really float just as much as they say you do. It’s really quite incredible, and I was surprised that there are waves on the Dead Sea. They’re small, and as dumb as it sounds, I always thought it was very glassy. I was surprised by how warm the water was! I think the water had to be up over 100 Fahrenheit.
After floating for a few minutes to open my pores, I went to the mud place where you can slather Dead Sea mud all over you. It was so slimy and fun! I don’t think that swimsuit will ever be the same after that mud.
Alaa came to help with the mud on my face, and when he finished and I opened my eyes, somehow salt water had gotten in. It was so incredibly painful! So I washed it off and decided that mud could just not be on my face.
You then sit outside (in the heat!) while you wait for the mud to dry. It was crazy hot and a really funny sensation. And then you go in the Sea to wash it off!
It was a fun experience, but it was sticky. I honestly don’t know how that happened, but it felt quite sticky from the salt and the mud and even when you got out of the Dead Sea. I’m so glad I did it, but it does seem to me that you really only need a few hours to see the Dead Sea and float in it.
We went back up to the resort and spent about an hour in the pool (which felt so good and cool after the Dead Sea).
Then we got in the car to drive to Petra. The drive was just incredible! The scenery was amazing, and there were a few times we stopped to take pictures.
It was also crazy that so many times you’d pass a sign and you’re like “woah wait I recognize that” from Bible stories and other history. We even stopped to take pictures next to Lot’s wife – she’s the one that turned into a pillar of salt when she looked back at Sodom and Gomorrah.
We were driving to Petra even as the sun was going down, and it was just incredible. I also was getting the worst sinus headache ever, so I’m sad I didn’t get to enjoy it more. That night, I got to the hotel and turned in early so that I could be ready for Petra in the morning.