August 15, 2001 – Aqaba – Amman




This morning, I finish to pack my bag when one of the Australians asks me if I heard nothing during the night. I said that there was some working down there in the street but after a moment there was no sound. He explains to me that he threw 2 bottles of water in the direction of the workers around 3am shouting: "Tourists want to sleep". These Australians are crazy but also very funny.


Finally I take a normal bus to Amman and not the Jett buses because their office is too far for me and my 20kg bag. The trip will last 4 hours.


On the way, you can notice just before Aqaba a huge parking lot full of trucks. Among them are many Iraqi trucks with their blue plate. Then we cross a kind of border that separates the Special Economic Area of Aqaba with the rest of the country. In this area, taxes are lower and it explains why some of us were asking questions and even have to open their bags at the checkpoint. In the bus, passengers are nice and they are all riveted on the TV screen where we can watch Terminator 2 with sound and Arabic and French subtitles.


We arrive in Amman at a completely unknown station, far from downtown and I don’t know where we are on any map. I meet in the bus, Kodak, a Japanese guy who will share the price of a taxi wth me. But we have problems with the driver as he clearly doesn’t understand a single English word. He would have driven us in the middle of nowhere if I wasn’t firm to have him stop the car. Then we will pay 1 JD to a pirate taxi driver to reach downtown.


In the lobby of the Cliff Hotel, I am happy to see Tobias again, the German guy that we met in Aqaba and there are also the French from the Wadi Rum trip. They finally managed to visit Jerusalem but there was a lot of tension (they were there during the week-end when 18 people died in a terrorist bombing). All of them are leaving Jordan tonight.


Before leaving the region I go to a cyber place to surf the internet and check my last emails. Before this trip, I oftenly visited the Thorn Tree of Lonely Planet where I asked questions to Sarhot and this person offered me to visit her in Amman. So that is what I did and I go to the Al Sarraya Hotel near the Rhagadan station. I was wondering what kind of person is behind this ID. I thought it was a girl but my surprise was to find that Behind Sarhot, there is Fayez Al Kayalli, the manager of the hotel!!!


Fayez is laughing whereas I am telling him the story and he explains me that Sarhot is the contraction of Al Saraya Hotel (SarHot). We speak a longtime of his travels in Europe to advertise his hotel and to attract tourists’ group there. He shows me the rooms that are spacious with satellite television and nice bathrooms.


Today he is experiencing some problems with his computer and his second computer also is out because he can’t remember the password. I go with him to a computer store where we have a good time talking computer and internet.


Back at the hotel at 9pm, he asks me if I want to ave dinner with him and his nephew: of course, I want. Around 11pm, I have to say goodbye and I leave the place after thanking him for the afternoon and the dinner. It was really nice to finally meet the person I was writing to.


At the hotel, Marianne and the other French are in a hurry, they have to take the Airport express at midnight and it is 11:30 passing. She gives me some letters to post tomorrow morning.


I fall asleep at the best place on the roof protected from the wind and from the sun in the morning.





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D32 : Aqaba - Amman

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