Rambling Robert's Travels

This blog chronicals the travels of myself, Rambling Robert, on my next adventure to South America.

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I am a world traveller. I do not work as such. I have been homeless and unemployed since 1October 2003. I worked as a chef for 30 years in America.

Monday, November 20, 2006

Amman Jordan

Greetings from Jordan 11/20/006

I am in Amman Jordan. I have been in Jordan since 11/10/006, since I left Dahab Egypt and took a bus to Taba and then walked across the Egypt Istrael border to Elat and then took a bus and taxi 12 km to Acaba Jordan. I was in Israel for 30 minutes. It cost me 27 US dollars!! Not exactly what you would call budget travel,eh? The deal is that you take a bus to Elat city center and then you take a taxi to the border9.00US dollars for transportation, and then the Israelites charge you 69NIS (New Israeli Sheckels)which is 18.50 USdollars to exit their country!! Even if you have only been in the darned country for less than an hour...
Aacaba is a special economic Zone of some sort so it is the only place to enter Jordan where you dont have to pay for your visa. The whole city is a duty free zone. liter of Smirnof for $5.00US. Other groovy cheap shit to buy and enjoy, Cheap toblerones chocolates, cigarettes, perfumes etc. I stayed there for only one night and then I split and went to Wadi Moussa.

Wadi means Valley. I dont know what Moussa means. This is the littel city/town you stay in if you want to check out the magnificent ancient ruins of Petra which are by far Jordans number one tourist attraction. They filmed parts of Indiana Jones movies here. The facade for the big temple is unbelievable. There are lots of other cool ruins there as well. I cant really describe it. It is really breathtaking, but Jordan is NOT a cheap country to travel in and it costs $31.00 US Dollars to enter Petra. That is what my hotel room in Dahab egypt cost for a week... Still I am there and I want to see it. It costs 5 times the entrance fee of the temple of Luxor or the Pyramids of Giza. It is the most money I ever spent to visit ancient ruins anywhere in the world!!
Would I do it again? HELL YES!!!

Before I visited Petra I arranged a tour of Wadi Rum. Wadi means valley and Rum means sand. So sandy valley or valley of sand...This is the place that Lawrence of Arabia was inspired to write The Seven Pillars of Wisdom. It is here that he organized the Arab Revoltr which kicked the Turks out of Jordan, in 1920.

This is also an amazing plaace. Although it is totally unique, It reminds you of Brice canyon in USA or Kapadochia in Turkey. Utterly spectacular dessert landscapes. Trememdous silence. A great place to meditate and have a religious experience. Seriously. After touring around with hamed (my guide) in his 4x4 toyota pick-up for 6 hours and climbing beautiful rock formations, having tea with some bedouins after helping them get thier truck out of some deep soft sand and checking out dessert flowers and deep suberanean springs, We spent the night in a bedouin camp sleeping in tents. I highly recomment this place to any world travellers who want to see an amazing natural valley it is a national park here and from Wadi Moussa or Aqaba it is easy to get to.

So now I am in Amman. Capital of Jordan. About 40km east of Jerusalem. I am staying with my old traveling Mate Peta. This is the third country I have been in with Peta having travelled with her in Turkey and Egypt as well. She is a very cool woman about my age. She is a teacher at the British council here in Amman and they set her up in a Palacial Apartment in a fine and high class French neighborhood, not far from the Abdeli bus station and walking distance to the Jordanian National Art Gallery. Very good gallery. I was very impressed with some of their pictures although Peta was quite less impressed than I.

We took off on her day off from teaching at the British Couyncil last Saturday and went for a day of fun in the sun and swimming at the Dead Sea. Really weird swimming experience. Not for those of you with suicidal tendencies. You cant drown there. The water is so salty that you can hardly go under water at all. you can sit up in the water. There are no waves, No fish , no sharks, no sea shells, No Sea gulls...Really weird. Arab women swimming in full on Burqas with veils on their faces and hajibs (head scarves) on their hair. So strange, so strange...Sometimes the middle east is so strange...

I have been a guest speaker at some of Petas english classes. The students are told a few basic facts about me and thy all think of a couple of questions to ask me. It helps them to practice talking to a Native english speaker. They ask about Iraq, Buddhism, Travel, George W Bush, why I dont have a job, and if all Americans think all Muslims/Arabs are terrorists. Strangely enough mostly we speak about religion...

I got a ticket to go to India on 22/12/006. In a few days I will cross the border and go to Israel for 3 weeks or so and, "Insh Allah", come back to Amman on the 20th. This may not be such a good time to visit Israel or Palestine as they call it here, but I dont think it is ever gonna be a better time and I aint gonna get any younger or any closer than I am now so I will go this next Sunday. Then get my flight out of Amman on 22/12/006 and arrive in Mumbai (Bombay) on 23/12/006 for Christmas in India. Next update from the land of Milk and Honey (Israel).
Meanwhile here is a quote to ponder:
"You can no more win a war than you can win an earthquake."-Jeannette Rankin
Peace and Love to all who read these words,

Sunday, November 05, 2006

Dahab Egypt

Greetings from Dahab!
Dahab is a cool littel backpacker/scuba diver hang-out on the Red Sea Coast of Egypt about 150 km north of Sharm-el-Shiek. It is well know spot to budget travellers everywhere and made a littel more famous recently when a group of Ass-hole Muslim terrorists, led by a deranged dentist set off 3 bombs here last April (5 months ago) and killed 50 people and wounded a bunch of others. I wonder why these people target travellers??

Any way the Egyptian cops busted them and killed their leaders and all is quiet here now. Many of the travellers have been scared off, and now the place is not very busy at all. I feel bad for the restaurant owners along the embarcadero with their empty restaurants.

Hurgada was okay place but I like Dahab WAY MUCH BETTER!! It is more my "style". I stayed there in Hurgada for 6 nights and only that long because on the 5th night the ferry wasnt running and because my hotel (the Snafer) was very nice and the owner Machmud was a cool guy and I liked him.

I didnt "do" anything in Hurgada except to read and go swimming and lay about the beach and catch up on my sleeping time!! I had a TV with cabel in my room and they had an english movie channel and I watched about 500 movies!!Mostly they were all junk but I watched them anyway.

So I am in Sinai penninsula now. A very important place in world history. It is here that a great turning point in the history of the world and particularly of humanity, took place thousands of years ago.

This barren waste land of dessert is the place, where the Jews wandered around for 40 years and then entered the land of milk and honey, also know as Israel and Palestine. Mt.Sinai is the place where the Jewish Prophet Moses received the ten commandments from the god of Abraham also know as Jehova or Allah.

Now whether or not you believe all that stuff or not, The 10 commandments are a reality. I dont really know if God gave them to Moses, but I reckon Moses gave them to the Jews, and the Jews gave them to the world. So to para-phrase Exodus (one of the 5 books of Moses) Chapter 20...AAhhhemmm
1)Thou shalt have no other gods before me.
2) Thou shalt not make thee any graven image, or any likeness of any thing that is in heaven above, or that is in the earth beneath, or that is in the waters beneath the earth: Thou shalt not bow down thyself unto them, nor serve them: for I the LORD thy God am a jealous God, visiting the iniquity of the fathers upon the children unto the third and fourth generation of them that hate me, And shewing mercy unto thousands of them that love me and keep my commandments.
3) Thou shalt not take the name of the LORD thy God in vain: for the LORD will not hold him guiltless that taketh his name in vain.
4) Keep the sabbath day to sanctify it, as the LORD thy God hath commanded thee. Six days thou shalt labour, and do all thy work: But the seventh day is the sabbath of the LORD thy God: in it thou shalt not do any work, thou, nor thy son, nor thy daughter, nor thy manservant, nor thy maidservant, nor thine ox, nor thine ass, nor any of thy cattle, nor thy stranger that is within thy gates; that thy manservant and thy maidservant may rest as well as thou.
5) Honour thy father and thy mother, as the LORD thy God hath commanded thee; that thy days may be prolonged, and that it may go well with thee, in the land which the LORD thy God giveth thee.
6) Thou shalt not kill.
7) Neither shalt thou commit adultery.
8) Neither shalt thou steal.
9) Neither shalt thou bear false witness against thy neighbour.
10) Neither shalt thou desire thy neighbour's wife, neither shalt thou covet thy neighbour's house, his field, or his manservant, or his maidservant, his ox, or his ass, or any thing that is thy neighbour's.

So obviously not very many people follow these rules (certainly I have never met anyone who does!!), but the amount of people who pay lip service to this message is in the BILLIONS I would bet that it is the most mis understood and mis quoted document in history. I would bet that none of you reading this could turn away from your computer and say the ten commandments in any order!!
Yet three of the worlds most popular religions are based on them and a couple of dozen religious sects are too!!

So I decided to climb Mt. Sinai and see if I could see any thing that would give me a holy experience, a religious moment as it were. Nice climb. I went at midnight from my hotel, got there at 2 am and climbed to the top and arrived at about 4:30 am just me and about 1000 other tourists!!!

It is a tourist trap!! Even after the bombings and this not being "high season there were like a thousand bloody tourists there!! Not the kind of environment to have a religious experience in, fer sher y'know?

So Dahab is very nice and seems perfectly safe.. Mt Sinai a littel disapointing. Next update from Jordan. "Insh allah"

Here than is something to consider:
"In the end it's not the years in your life that count.It's the life in your years." - Abraham Lincoln
Peace and Love,
Rambling Robert