Justins World

Madaba and Mosaics

I left Dubai bright and early this morning. It was still bloody hot outside at 5am. The taxi ride seemed quick and next thing I realise i was checked in and through immigration before 5:25. It took me longer to walk to the gate almost!

Awkward moment of the day occurred, when the TV in the departure lounge was showing a documentary about the Cronulla riots, including numerous pictures of Pauline Hanson as the instigator in Australian politics. It was all in Arabic. I just sat there and tried to look as un-australian as possible. I’m sure no one was paying attention to the TV anyway!

My flight with Royal Jordanian was basically 1 person for every 3 seats which meant most of the plane had a bed to nap on. I managed to catch up on another movie, although the 2 I wanted to see were no on this planes entertainment system, but advertised in the entertainment guide. Yeah I know first world problems!

Arrived at Amman and got my rather expensive visa (About $80). Was questioned on why I would want to visit Jordan. I thought about saying, “Have you seen the politicians we have running Australia right now?” but instead said “To see Petra, like every other tourist”. My driver was running late, so I wasn’t greeted by a sign with my name on it (another first world problem), however he was a friendly guy and we chatted all the way into the town of Madaba. We chose Madaba over Amman, as its closer to the airport and also has a wonderful mosaic map of the middle east in a church, that just so happens to be across the road from the hotel. I skipped the mosaic map as Claire who joins me as my Indiana Jones sidekick really wants to see the mosaic and she arrives at some ungodly hour later tonight.

So I walked around town and ended up going to the Shrine of the beheading of St John the baptist. Which turns out to be a church with some catacombs and a bell tower! I walked, ducked and weaved my way through the catacombs eventually popping my head up inside the church. Clearly this church had things to hide, or smuggle. There was some lovely stain glass windows though.

Stain glass window

I then climbed the bell tower, with my backpack on, to give me the hunchback look. I hear its all the rage when climbing belltowers. The climb was clearly built for hunchbacks as there was a lot of weaving going on including around one of the 4 bells. This was actually harder for me to do than the 555m Burj Khalifa. The view from the top was pretty amazing, including views of the a large gold dome mosque.

Madaba panorama

I walked around a bit more to get a feel for Jordanian life. When it comes down to it, they like honking horns just like they do on the other side of Asia. I had a rather delicious marinated chicken dish for lunch and for dinner I just had the local form of lamb on a dough base baked in a pizza oven, washed down with a rather surprising lemon and mint juice.

So now I’m going to go to bed and hopefully Claire arrives safe and sound sometime after 2am. Tomorrow is a day of driving to Petra, so hopefully its not going to be too bad!

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