The Jordan’s part of the border handles everything very swift. We pay a temporary import tax for the bikes and we get a free visa. It’s already dark when we ride into Aqaba. The first thing I’ve planned for us is a short Burger King visit. Although Willem used to be a big opponent of Fast Food he doesn’t reject my offer. He’ll make an exception for the hamburger king. Another king who’s very important in Jordan, king Abullah II, literally pops up everywhere you look. His portrait is always accompanied by the ones of his son, Hoessein and his late father,… also called Hoessein. They look a bit like the holy trinity.
The first thing that strikes me is the high numbers of ladies, some even without a headscarf. I’m happy that things are back to normal. Aqaba looks like a modern coastal town.
We find a good little hotel in the city centre of this seaside town. The next two days we hang around in this town, drinking a beer when we’re thirsty (yes! For the first time in a month), smoking a shisha when we feel we have too much fresh sea breeze in our lungs. The sun is not too strong and a little breeze. The tourists haven’t started flooding the coast, so everything is quite peaceful. It’s the proper time to relax.
It’s also the time to say good-bye. Willem has to start working again in a few days. The last two months we’ve been together almost 24/7. Living in a small tent, sharing shabby hotel rooms, eating, cooking, drinking and especially riding together. Only shower and toilet visits were, fortunatlely, still separate. Willem continues to Amman and flies out from there to Belgium, leaving his bike behind. (If somebody wants to buy a bike in Amman, please contact him!). I’m staying behind in Aqaba, spending a few days in an almost abandoned sea resort along Jordan’s tiny coastline (only 20 km).
The first days I feel a bit lost. When Willem arrived I had to adapt a bit to travel with somebody else. But after two months I’m so used to have a counter part. I feel even a bit lonely those first days. The fact that I’m staying in a low budget sea resort during low season doesn’t help to lift my mood. The sun is shining but it’s too cold to fully appreciate the beauty of the red sea, especially the part underneath the water line.
I have the impression that the hotel staff is on a long holiday. The guys who took over look and probably are construction workers. At least they act like them. I’m not very demanding but even I found service rather brute. Entering into the common hotel lobby/ eating area I always had the impression I was disturbing their little party. I needed the time to rest a bit and stay a few days on the same location. After a few days of writing and a complicated tire change (it took me a whole day to change my worn out rear tire). I continue up north, ready to pick up my first Jordanian hitchhiker!
He’s name is Fahid. That’s about all I can tell about him. Standing in the drizzling rain just outside Aqaba I took pity and offered him a ride. After a 20 min drive on the Kings highway I had to drop him off at a desolate piece of land between impressive rock formations. I had no idea where he was heading to but I was happy I could lighten his travel burden.
The next days I do all what is to be expected from a tourist in Jordan. I visit the magnificent desert of Wadi Rum. The scenery for Lawrence of Arabia and many other movies like The Martian. It is indeed a very unique scenery but the prices to drive around a bit in the sand are too high. Taking my motorcycle was not really allowed. I must admit that I tried but the sand was too deep, I got stuck like an ordinary rookie after the first hundred meters.
I spend a nice but cold night in a Bedouin camp together with a bunch of Brazilian, Polish and Chinese tourists. Not really the experience that I was looking for. But all in all the group was rather small and low key and the dinner and breakfast were quite delicious.
Dinner was prepared in a smoke hole in the ground and afterwards we got a unique concert from our melancholic looking cook with a big moustache on his out of tone Oud (a middle eastern lute). If I would ever open a museum of clichés, he would be the highlight of the Bedouin section. The whole experience wasn’t too bad. Unfortunately it was too cloudy for one of those magical desert star skies.