Jordan and Israel 2013-2014
The Colorado Expedition to The Holy Lands and The Levant

Jordan and Israel

Since our youngest daughter, Olivia, is taking her junior year abroad in Jordan, we decided to pay her a visit. She studied at The University of Jordan last semester and is beginning at the Jordan Institute of Diplomacy this semester. Her Arabic is getting pretty good, at least when dealing with cab drivers and waiters. Our good friends and traveling companions Will and Shawn joined us. We passed them off as Olivia's aunt and uncle. We crossed the border to the west for a four-day stay in Israel (passports checked seven times going in).
The team in Amman, blending in as ordinary tourists. 

Our first overnight away from Amman was to Wadi Rum and Petra. Here we are in a Bedouin tent in Wadi Rum on our 29th Anniversary with a Middle Eastern feast fit for a king - and this was just lunch! Next we traversed vast expanses of desert by camel train in our quest to unravel the mysteries of the Middle East. We found a few clues.
From left to right: our faithful guide Ashraf of The Hashemite Kingdom of Jordan, Francis of Arabia, Shawn of Aragon, Martelle of SomeofArabia, and William The Conqueror.
Martelle of SomeofArabia prepared for battle.
 It grew very cold in our tent that night. Bone-chilling cold. Ask Martelle.
Jordan is the fifth driest country of all. They filmed Lawrence of Arabia in this desert.

Looking down toward Petra -- a Nabataean city from more than 2200 years ago hides in the rocky folds ahead.

The approach follows a natural canyon carved into sandstone (about a mile).

Then comes the wider canyon and this imposing monument known as The Treasury, although it was constructed as a tomb in the first century B. C. It's as tall as a four story building.
This one was anticlimactic after climbing 800 steps to get to it. The Ad-Deir Monastery.
Urn Tomb (about 70 A.D.)- the largest of the royal tombs. Try to imagine what life was like in a place like this two thousand years ago when it was a busy trading center. The mile-long sandstone narrows that leads to the main building area is lined with niches for candles and statues. Each side had a hewed-in water culvert. Engraved, often intaglio, monuments and images for gods and loved ones guard the passageways. Visitors now have to dodge myriad donkeys and camels, even chariots that come blazing by willy nilly. Note the colors in the rocks. 
End Petra. Now on to Tel Aviv after one night back in Amman where we picked up Olivia. Passports checked seven times getting into Israel. Interesting and very tense border crossing.

I noticed this place on the map and went to see what I could tell about it and Ruth Daniel because my grandfather was surname Daniel. All I know about him is that he was born in Austria in 1870. Great Aunt Ruth?
View from our hotel room, hanging out the window. The Mediterranean Sea.
My portrait of Tel Aviv
Olivia getting her hair cut and not wanting a paparazzo. Martelle appears to be instructing the stylist on the finer details.
We chanced upon this fabulous kosher sidewalk cafe in Jaffa where everything was fresh and delicious. I asked the lady in charge for the freshest fish they had. She said "Trust me." and I did. It was delicious. I think she sent someone up to the fish store a block away. It came whole and deep fried as you can see on my plate. Cooked to perfection.