Thursday, May 31, 2012

Aqaba, Salt, Amman and saying Goodbye

 I have never been emotional when leaving a vacation, but I was when we arrived at the airport in Amman to head back to London. I will never forget the warm welcome we felt by the people of Jordan.
 Lily sneaking a kiss from my son...
 Otis holding his snake to watch the iPad with him--I love this.
 Little Petra
Swimming and snorkeling in the Red Sea in Aqaba
 We celebrated Ty's birthday in Jordan. Hasan surprised him and arranged for a delicious cake at a cool outdoor coffee shop. We were overwhelmed by his thoughtfulness.
 SALT. Salt was an awesome, authentic town-seemingly untouched by tourism.
 Amman was a very cool (and crowded!) city.
 Amman Citadel
 I will never forget the fresh lemon-mint drinks and the amazing food.
 Our last afternoon in Jordan we spent at Hasan's house. We just hung out on his patio, ate and the kids played together. I feel like I have family in Jordan. I was close to tears when we said goodbye to Hasan.
Ty bought this hat in Petra because the sun was so intense. He gave it to Hasan's son Ali.

 Milly and Bana
 Our souvenir rug makes me happy every time I open then door. What cherished memories I will always have of Jordan.

Tuesday, May 29, 2012

The Dead Sea and the Jordan River

The Dead Sea was incredibly beautiful and you can seriously FLOAT in it! I loved it so much. It was so salty, it burned. It was a crazy feeling being able to float without any effort, I couldn't get over it. 
It is tradition to rub the mud from the beach all over you then float in the water while it washes off. I LOVED the mud.
Thanks to our good friends, the Howell's, and a friens and family discount, we stayed at the nicest hotel I'e ever been to one night (which was welcome after sleeping in a tent the night before!). It was right on the Dead Sea and such a blast.
Nanny and I woke up early the next morning for one last mud bath and float.
 Double nappy hair over looking the Jordan River
 The site that is thought to be where Christ was baptized
 The above picture pretty much sums up what Otis thought of the Jordan River. The trail to the river was long and hot and Otis was not having it. So needless to say, it wasn't the most spiritual experience for me there. But soon after our trip, we attended a baptism, and while singing the primary song, "Baptism", I got really emotional singing about Jesus coming to John the Baptist in the River Jordan...I feel really blessed for having been to the area where that sacred event happend.
 He didn't hesitate to play in the Holy Water (which was allowed)
 stepping in the Jordan River
 Because the Jordan River is the border between Jordan and Israel, we couldn't drive to the baptism site. We had to take a bus the walk a trail. In the last picture, Jericho can be seen in the distance. The kids were all hot and starving. 

Wadi Rum

Camping in the middle of the Wadi Rum desert was a major highlight of the trip. We took a truck ride through the desert and just hung out in a place where we watched the sun set on one side of us and the moon rise on the other. It was a really cool moment. 
We all were in desperate need of a shower.

MiLily bonding in the sand

I love these two pictures because they show the sun setting in one view, and the moon in the other view.

 We stopped for some Bedouin tea and to take in the scenery (that looked so similar to Southern Utah, it was crazy). 
 Touring the desert 
The sun was so strong in the desert.  
Milly's lips are so kiss-able, I really want to eat them sometimes. 
Otie peeking out of our tent after a good night's rest sharing a tiny twin with me.

The night at the camp was a night I will never forget. We ate, sat around the fire while the Bedouins smoked the water pipe and we danced the night away to blaring music. 

I really had a poignant moment while watching Otis and Milly play with these kids. It was so special to watch them play and dance together. They didn't ever realize they didn't speak the same language. These kids were so kind and only spoke Arabic. They didn't have any pre-conceived notions or fears of each other, they were just happy to play. 

Morning camel ride after a night in the tent.
Happy Birthday camel ride for Ty.