Tuesday, 29 June 2010

Driving in Europe again?!

One of the things I am wondering about, is how on earth am I going to able to drive in Europe again, I mean, respecting all the rules like I used to do! I quite quickly got used to driving here. I admit the car I am driving is not looking as new as when we got it - that must be the driving style - but the thing is, it is so much faster to get into bad habits than to loose those bad habits again... But for my defence, these habits are not because I am a bad driver now (at least I don't hope so) but more because if I don't drive like the Jordanians, well I would still be stuck at the 5th circle trying to make my way home.

You want some exemples? here they are...

Arriving at a roundabout. I should really stop the car and wait for my turn to enter the circle. Of course if it is not busy, that's no issue. However sometimes, this is impossible. You have taxi drivers left, right, honking furiously because I dare stop. Oh! But I can't get into the circle to start with. Why, well because all the cars have actually managed to stop the flow. As soon as there is a tiny gap, you need to hurry and get your car in there. The other day it took me nearly 10 minutes to get through the 5th circle. And seriously, I have learnt to make my way when I drive. Can I ever be courteous again? I don't think that word exists here, at least not when you are at the wheel of a car. I don't think I have ever seen an Ammani say thank you.

I need to turn left up the road, thus cross the opposite lane. There is a car coming. In the beginning I would stop and let the other car pass. Well I have discovered 2 reasons not to stop anymore. The first is that if I stop, the other car stop. Why? I don't know. I guess they are surprised that someone just stops to let them pass. It's true they only have the priority. The second reason is that if you have somebody behind you, well they won't stop if they need to turn left so they force the other car to stop. Can I remember that I must stop to let the other car pass?

A fabulous Ammani - well it is probably a Jordanian speciality: arriving at the light to go straight, it's green yet the cars are not going anywhere. It could be a taxi that has run out of gaz, that is a good probabilty, but no it is not that. You see there are 2 lanes waiting at the red light to turn left, but the red lights are long and so are the lanes to turn. So, to be sure they will get the first green light, well a third lane is suddenly created. Yep, the lane instead of being one to go straight on is transformed to one that is turning left. I thus more honking and furious drivers trying to go straight while that light is green. I don't do this, but it is going to be strange to see drivers somehow respecting lanes again.

And then all the other things respected, but not always: like stop signs - is acknowledged as the car can be slowing down but I have never actually seen a car stop. That reminds me of one of my friends who has learned to drive here. The driving teacher told her that she didn't need to stop if she could see that there was no car. It has got to make you smile! It's true, why bother? why waste time? it's only a stop sign. Or red lights: these are more respected, I only see a couple of cars here and there everyday passing the red light. So not too bad - I am always on the lookout for them! The roundabout is a mess, you need to make a complete tour in it? Well just make a u-turn! Take the roundabout in the wrong direction, it so much easier. And I could go on and on and on....

I guess you got the picture! Driving here is a colourful experience. But like everything you get used to it! Let's see how fast I can get used to drive in the UK and France again... 13 days to go to our holidays  and counting!

Friday, 25 June 2010

A few changes at the Baptism Site

As more and more tourists come to Jordan to visit the numerous landmarks, changes need to be made, the sites need to get modernised. In today's Jordan Times there is an article about the Baptism Site. (you can read about my visit here). According to the Baptism Site Commission there has been an increase of 28% in the visits in the beginning of the year compared to last year, which brings the visitors to 73'000 from January to May.

The first change that will affect the tourists is the entrance fee: 12JD instead of 7JD. I think it is quite a jump in price and in my opinion the site commission better ameliorate the experience hugely. A little note here, this is the only site where residents don't get the same discount as Jordanians. Will it be counter productive? I don't know, the people who are visiting this site do it probably only once and because of religious reasons. Having said that, I think that Jordan is starting to realise the moneys that can be made from tourism, and I wouldn't be surprised if we see this happening for more tourist locations - after all it is already the case at Petra as well.

One of the things that is being introduced is audio devices, these will be distributed to the visitors. They will be available in several languages: French, English, Italian, Spanish, German and Russian. This is clearly a good thing: when I visited there was only one guide, explaining the site in English and I honestly didn't get to follow any of it: can you imagine me with Bibs in the arms, trying to take pictures and running after a guide I can't really hear anyways? And I wasn't the only one in this situation. So that is definitely a huge improvement.

Apart from that I don't know what is planned - there is a clear lack of a coffee shop, restrooms on site. Maybe they think about a hostel for pilgrims? When we visited I was a bit disappointed that I didn't get to see   many of the discovered churches, baptism pools and caves which can be found on site, I certainly hope that visitors will have easier access to that and the accessibility improved. Finally as you exit the site there is a small area with some souvenir shops, this can also use a lifting.

They just need to make sure that the value for money is there...

Wednesday, 23 June 2010

a bit about the World Cup in Amman

I admit, I still believe...

As England tries for the third time to actually play a decent match, I finally sit down and write about the world cup in Jordan... It has taken me a while, but then am no football fan. Just see how the French are behaving themselves and you have the reason - okay only a French football team can go on strike - but I don't really like the spirit of the game. Besides that, it has been a rubbish cup for Europe anyways. Let's see if Denmark get qualified, one never know.

I got very surprised when I saw the Jordanian passion for football - they are not even qualified for the cup but still, there are flags everywhere, special lounges in the hotels and even shopping malls. That's another reason i haven't written about this before now: we went for lunch at the Sheraton on the opening day of the world cup and I visited their lounge. I wanted to go back and get pictures, but time is flying and I haven't had the occasion. Shame, it's nicely done. The early games can be watched in the "indoor world cup lounge": lots of flags, flat screens, big sofas: a really nice ambiance. The evening game is shown outside at the Sanctury as well as inside. The Sanctury is the outdoor lounge there - will make a post about that - and you can reserve your own tent with private TV to watch the game. Pretty cool, if you are into football of course!

You can see the entrance to the World Cup Lounge at the top of the stairs

So, I was saying, the Jordanians have a true passion for football. Also, being in a non represented country, with so many expats give a special atmosphere. Take the flags for exemple. At the beginning of the world cup there were flags on many many cars around Amman, like the one at the beginning of my post. But unfortunately it was decided at some level that that was to be fined and so people had to pay 20 or 25JD because they had a foreign flag on the car. I think it's ashame it adds to atmosphere. Some people don't care about the fine so you still see some flags here and there but it is mainly expats. Yesterday I saw a Brazilian flag on the roof of a car, thought that was smart! Bobs took our flag off.  I really liked the idea. Might put it back up if England is qualified for the next round.

a couple of exemples of car decorations

This is the guy who sold me my England flag. He had many to choose from, but unfortunately he looked quite puzzled when I asked him for a Danish one... I think he didn't really know what I was talking about!

Even one of our local pharmacies is having flags up. I wonder why it is allowed to have flags on buildings and not on cars though?

1-0 for England... so maybe team GB still has a chance! Go England...

Tuesday, 22 June 2010

Where are you from?

A typical question you get as you enter a taxi is "Where are you from?, America?", and somehow for the past couple of months it has made me a bit unconfortable.

When I arrived to Jordan and was asked I would always reply, honestly: am from Denmark, and I must say I have always had the lovely response: it is a nice country. I don't know if they know where Denmark actually is, but still, I thought it was a good answer. That was until one of my friends told me that her Danish husband had been in a bar on Al Wakalat Street and when he said he was from DK, the waiter made illusion to the problems which came after the drawings a couple of years back (I guess you all know what I am making reference to). Anyways, this really made me wonder. What happens if I am in a taxi and the driver doesn't like me being from Denmark?... The odds are probably low, but if I am with Bibs, I'd rather not take any chance. This bothers me, really. Am proud of being from Denmark. And besides that, what do I answer? If I say France, they'll look at me and say "ahhh Sarkozy" - which in a way is not that much better. So I have resigned myself to say that I am British.

Am I being paranoid? Most probably.

Saturday, 19 June 2010

Flash floods in South of France

A couple of days ago the part of South of France where I grew up was hit by torrential rain and flash floods. In Callas, the village where I grew up, there wasn't much damage. Figanieres, the village down the road, was badly hit, as you can see on the movie below.

This was shot and posted by jakou83. It is very impressive.

According to the regional news paper Nice Matin, in the whole of Var (part of the region where this happened), the count is now of 25 dead and 14 persons still missing. My parents told me they had never seen rain like this, then in another city Draguignan, it is the biggest rainfall recorded since 1827. My heart goes out to all the victims of this disaster. Usual the region is hit by forest fires during the summer, not flash floods. As I have already said in previous posts, I think mother nature is teaching us lessons and Earth is very fed up with the way we treat her...

Thursday, 17 June 2010

Restaurant China

In our search for decent asian food at reasonable prices - I mean you can go to the Four Seasons Hotel and enjoy a Malaysian Nasik Lemak made by a Malaysian chef (not that I have been but Bobs has) and spend 40JD or drive to Six Senses in Ma'In and order some Thai food made by a Thai chef, but a little over an hour and another 40JD per head is not what you'll do on a everyday friday lunch either. So again, in our search for decent asian food at reasonable prices and on the recommendation of a couple of persons and this (old) article from the New York Times we finally made it to China Restaurant, also known as Abu Khalil. Located in a small street parallel with Rainbow Street (see my map).

Well in our opinion not worth going: either we were unlucky or the chef/owner wasn't there or the owner has been too long in Jordan and has forgotten what Chinese food is supposed to look and taste like. The restaurant has been around for ages, according to the above mentioned article it opened in 1975. I don't think the decor has changed since, but that's okay, at least it looked Chinese.Surprisingly enough the restaurant was nearly full. So what did we have: won ton soup - the broth was okay (even had a little Chinese taste to it) and the won ton's were not. The texture of the filling was really weird and it didn't really taste of anything - but then pork won ton's are so much better than chicken anyways. Then we had some fried noodles which were sailing in fat, beef and ginger/spring onions: the beef was more boiled than sauteed and finaly sweet and sour chicken that I can't really remember. It wasn't that expensive, i think we paid less than 25JD, but far too expensive considering the quality of the food.

So I guess they won't see us again, unless I hear that it has dramatically changed! I think I can say that our search becomes desperate...

Wednesday, 16 June 2010

The disappearing sign and the Turtle Green

Let me tell you the story about the disappearing "no entry" sign... When we arrived to Amman and the estate agent took us out to visit some appartments, she went down this small road and obviously saw the no entry sign, made a u-turn and took the next street. I remember, I thought it was weird! Obviously, there is a no entry sign, so why did she go down that road to start with? Then I didn't think anymore about it. Until one day, I noticed the sign had disappeared. The metal thing for the sign was there, but the sign no where to be seen. Then maybe a month after the sign reappeared?! And this has been going on 2 or 3 times since we arrived. Sometimes you can go down the road (very handy) and other times you are not allowed to. I do wonder if somebody steals the sign or maybe they need it for womewhere else!? As you can see today, the no entry sign is there, but a car is still on the way down the road: never assume anything when driving in Amman!

Then, this afternoon I met up with my friend M and her 2 kiddies and went for a walk down Rainbow Street. I have just realised that I haven't really talked about that area. Well Rainbow Street is located after the 1st circle and with Al Wakalat St. it is also a place where you can easily walk around. The pavements are more than okay and there are a some cafes, bookshops and other small shops to discover. One of the reasons I haven't written about the street, is that I haven't really been down there myself (walking around I mean). So this is the first post, with a few more to come as I discover the area myself! After a short walk we stop at a really lovely tea bar called the Turtle Green.

The place is small, there is a sitting area as you enter and then another one up some stairs. The place offers  free Wifi and was packed with young people surfing net, doing projects, people from the areas doing small meetings there. The crowd is a happy mix of Jordanians, Expats, students and business and of course today us mums. A little apology: the photos are not my best shots but with Bibs wriggling in my arms and trying to get hold of the camera, it is no easy task!

down stairs sitting area, selection of teas and the menu

I had a "Karka G", which is a hibiscus and ginger ale drink and the most yummi homemade carrot cake, Bibs agrees she just loved it! Price tag 5JD. They do pitchers, ice teas of all different flavours, lemonades, coffee drinks. There is no non-smoking area, but while we were there nobody smoked. So if you are in need of free Wifi and a cold drink it's definetely worth a visit! also if you don't need the Wifi...

Tuesday, 15 June 2010

Unfinished posts & holidays

For the past week I have started several posts and for some reason, I haven't been satisfied or I haven't been able to finish them. I think it has something to do with Bibs' sleep pattern. A few weeks ago she got sick (she is much better now), but it has completely disrupted her sleep and I am up again between 2 or 3 times a night to nurse and it is not what had become the usual 5 minutes but we are back to 15min. So, I am tired. No, I am exhausted. Specially now that the days are over where she would just sit a play a bit in her playpen. She is now crawling all over the place. So a tired mummy I am. Am starting to wonder if my daughter will ever sleep through? Maybe when she is 10?

Anyways.The good news is that we have finally booked our holidays. Bobs can unfortunately only take a week off, so we have decided to go to London and then I will take Bibs to my parents for a couple of weeks. Ah I can't wait, specially because I love to see Bibs & Bobs enjoying eachother, and during the week they don't get that much time together. Bibs loves to play with her daddy, they have their special games and she giggles all the time. When we are going to London we will enjoy the English countryside and live in a small village in Buckinghamshire. I am so excited to see my sister and her 3 kids and our friends that we left behind when we moved to Amman. Then of course we will have some proper Chinese food, and Malaysian, and Italian, oh and Indian as well. Shopping. Am going to shop till I drop! Mamas and Papas for Bibs, it's my favorite baby shop. Selfridges, Harrods, Oxford, Bond or Regent Street for us. Did I mention Westfield, the shopping heaven in South East England!? And Bicester, the outlet village close to Oxford, I nearly forgot that. Walks with Bibs on streets with pavements and in parks with trees and shade and water and animals.

These are some views from Green Park in London.
Am sure Bibs is going to enjoy having a talk with the geese, the ducks and the squirrels!

Then Bibs and I will be off on the plane by ourselves to Nice where a very excited Mormor and Morfar (the grandparents) are already waiting. Ouch, scary, just the 2 of us, I am not the big plane fan already, but I'll just have to be a big girl! Bibs has liked it the other times, so I hope that she'll continue. In south of France we'll enjoy the pool everyday, go for walks in the mountains and see old friends that I only see once a year or even less - maybe a day-trip to the sea.

Some views from South of France - the 2 first ones are on the old road to St Tropez and the last the view from my bedroom in my parents house

27 days to go and we'll take off and be on our way to London Heathrow! Can't wait...

Thursday, 10 June 2010

The other workforce

Earlier this week in the JT (this stands for Jordanian Times and not "Journal Televise" - the abbreviation used for the French TV news), there was a very interesting article about "Women participation" in the Jordanian labour force. Feminists out there you better take a seat: only 14.9% of the workforce is represented by women - really bad considering the average in the whole Middle East - North Africa region where it's 28% (not glamorous, but slightly better).

I don't really know what kind of positions women hold in this country. I guess where I have seen the highest concentration is at our bank. Wherever you go, it is always men serving you: bars, restaurants, the baker, the fruit stalls. I have seen one female police officer since we arrived 5 months ago, even in baby shops, shoe shops or female clothes shops you have young men - and with it really loud music, usually techno. When you do groceries you'll see a woman here and there, but even most cashier positions (which are typical a woman's job in Europe) are held by men. Higher skilled positions, like teachers, journalists, lawyers, I don't have any relation with at all so I don't know.

The same goes for driving, for exemple. When we arrived to Amman, I started straight away - I thought I could as well just do it. The first day or so when I took the car and Bobs wasn't there, the doorman very sweetly commented on the fact that I was taking the car by myself and added something along the lines " my wife has always lived in Amman and she doesn't know how to get to City Mall!". We joked about it and I have asked him since if he has paid some driving lessons to his wife!? Probably not. But then there is the other problem what does she do with her 9months old baby while she is driving anyway? The use of baby seats is not wide spread and you usually see the kids crawling around in the car, poking their faces out on the windows and the mums sitting with the smaller ones on their lap (those ones also poking their faces out).

So why is it? Can Jordanian women not work and have a family? Don't they want to? Is it pure sexism? Just tradition? Are the Jordanian educated women leaving Jordan to get a well paid job somewhere else? I don't have an answer for all these questions, I certainly don't know the Jordanian population well enough to comment on them. But I know that in France for exemple, every year new reports come out and wage discrimination, job parity are always discussed.

Am no feminist - am a stay at home mum, I liked working, but I don't believe that I can work and give 100% and be a mum and give 100%. Of course if I had no choice I would have worked, but I can stay at home and I love it! However some women crave for independence, want to have their own money, a career, get out of the house - all this I totally understand - and they should have the possibility, no, the right to work, make good money (or at least as much as men!) and enjoy it as well.

Tuesday, 8 June 2010

Amazing Petra - Part 1: Bab el-Siq

Somewhere lost in these mountains, is the Nabataean city of Petra

As I went a long doing this post, I decided to make several parts. There is so much to tell, so many things that I think are interesting. I haven't decided how many parts there will be, let's see. It's also because I don't like when my posts get too long, I get bored, a bit confused and can't remember half the things I have written or pictures I have added. Anyways, I hope that you'll enjoy the read.

Apart for the locals and the Bedouins probably, Petra was completely forgotten and lost to the world until a Swiss traveler, Johann Ludwig Burckhardt, rediscovered it in 1812.

No words are strong enough, none can pay tribute to what you see when you exit the Siq, a 1200m long and narrow gorge and arrive at the entrance of the rose-red city of ancient Petra. Petra is unique. Petra is beautiful. But we are not there quite yet. We have to walk for a couple of kilometers first.

The entrance to the site is located at the bottom of the new city of Petra. It opens at 6am in the morning and closes late as it is possible to be on site during the evening as well (camping is not allowed though). It is said that the best pictures are taken in the early morning sun or at sunset, because of the light and the colours, but I would say also because less tourists are there, because it gets busy. For the moment it costs JD33 to get in for one day (you can also buy passes for 2 or more days), this is for tourists. That will change in November 2010 (I think the 1st) where it will cost JD50. As residents, we paid JD1. The site is huge, there are many things to visit - we only made it to The Treasury. It was hot and Bibs thought it was so exciting that she wouldn't sleep in the backpack. One of my friends was there a week before us and she has allowed me to use her pictures so that I can show you most of the things there are to visit.

As you enter the site, you have the possibility to make the first half mile on horse or donkey back or in a carriage. If you want to do it, I would strongly advise to do it on the way back, though. Right now you have plenty of energy and it is going downhill! Count JD6 for the horseback ride (that's more or less, depending on how rich you look...)

Bab el-Siq or the "Gate to the Siq" is so named by Petra's Bedouin inhabitants. The journey down to Petra begins with a modern gravel road. It runs along the Wadi Musa, "Valley of Moses", which is dry most year, but there can be water during flash floods (this used to bring water down to Petra). The Bedouins believe that Ain Musa, the "Spring of Moses", is the spring that gushed forth when Moses smote a rock (Numbers 20:11 - Then Moses raised his arm and struck the rock (...) Water gushed out ... ). This path contains several monuments and memorials.  

As you pass the first corner, you get a first glimpse of Nabatean rock-carving, called the Djinn Blocks.

Djinn blocks, also called god blocks

These god-blocks stand 6 to 8 meters high. There is a lot of different information online concerning these blocks: some suggest they were shrines to the gods to protect Petra's water supply, others say that they are tower tombs and they might be symbols of the supreme god Dushara. The Bedouins, however, call them "Djinn blocks", as they believed they contained "Djinn", desert spirits. More than 20 of these blogs were found in and around Petra. 

Obelisk Tomb & Bab as-Siq Triclinium

A few meters away from the Djinn blocks are 2 monuments on the top of each other. The official Petra sign date these between 25-75 AD. However after a bit of research I have found that not everybody agree. I think that is the case with many things in Petra. The upper-half, the Obelisk Tomb, is clearly of Egyptian influence. These pyramids represent "nefesh", the Nabataean signs commemorating the deceased. The bottom half, of Nabataean style,  is called a Triclinium and is a chamber with 3 benches - a funerary dining hall: it was where celebrations took place to honour the dead, ancestors or a god. The niche in between the obelisks is of Greco-Roman influence. 

In between the god blocks and the Obelisk Tomg there is something called the snake tomb. There should be stairs leading to that tomb. I have been looking on my pictures, but cannot located it. Inside there are 12 graves. It is called the snake tomb because there are representation of a snake on the floor attacking an animal. 

All the way down to the Siq you have tombs appearing here and there

Eventually you will arrive at a dam and the entrance to the Siq. The dam was built across the entrance to avoid water for rushing down and destroying the city of Petra. The Nabataeans made a tunnel through the rock in order to divert the water into another valley. However the old dam collapsed at some point after Petra was deserted and floods have rushed through the Siq during centuries and have done much much damage to the center of Petra. The dam was reconstructed in 1963 and also in 1991. 

Entrance to the Siq and the dam

It is here that ends the horse back ride and that you will have to walk; unless you have taken a carriage. 

Wadi Al Muhlim

Just before you enter the Siq, and I end my first post about Petra here, on your right you can see Wadi Al Muhlim, which is the valley into which the Nabataeans diverted the water. It is thought that the water flowed through this valley all the way down to the Numphaeum (which would have been arranged to furnish water supply) in the city centre. You can also see another Djinn block.

In my next post I will take you through the Siq and all the way down to the famous Treasury. 

I really try to be as accurate as possible, but there is a lot of information online and they don't always agree! I also use the official signs at Petra, the official Jordanian sites, the fliers you can get at the tourist center as source. There are numerous interesting websites about Petra, some I have used to find info on, I will post a list them all at the end of my last post as I discover some new ones as I go along.

Monday, 7 June 2010

It makes me sick!

The palm goes to Tony Hayward - the most hated corporate figure in the US and CEO of one of the most profitable companies in the world: British Petroleum. It should go to Carl-Henric Svanberg really, that's the Chaiman - but apparently he is gone into hiding and it is Tony who is in trouble. He probably deserves it as much anyways.

So you got it, it's the devastating oil spill in the Gulf of Mexico. That makes me sick. The environmental side is terrifying. All the jobs lost terrible. The poor animals, it breaks my heart when you see the birds, the fish suffocating to death. But what really gets to me is the money side. 

BP has announced that they are now making significant progress (about time, it's only been 2 months) and is now capturing 10'000 barrels a day. But the question is: how much is that compared to what is still going into the sea? 20%, 50%? Well nobody knows, because BP is not saying how much oil is actually being spilt everyday. They are too clever for that and there is a very good reason to that! The US government is fining BP $4'300 per barrel of oil in the sea. So if BP keeps secret the amount of oil, well they keep their fine to a minimum as well. 

BP will have to pay a minimal fine of $2 Billion. In 2010 they are expected to announce a profit of $24 Billion. Yes, 24. So BP's fine is what we can call a drop in the ocean... Money and Oil!

Sunday, 6 June 2010

Petra - A poem

Petra - by John William Burgon (1845)

It seems no work of Man's creative hand,
By labor wrought as wavering fancy planned;
But from the rock as if by magic grown,
Eternal, silent, beautiful, alone!
Not virgin-white like that old Doric shrine,
Where erst Athena held her rites divine;
Not saintly-grey, like many a minster fane,
That crowns the hill and consecrates the plain;
But rose-red as if the blush of dawn,
That first beheld them were not yet withdrawn;
The hues of youth upon a brow of woe,
Which Man deemed old two thousand years ago.
Match me such marvel save in Eastern clime, 
A rose-red city half as old as time.

Saturday, 5 June 2010

"There is more to life than increasing its speed" - Mahatma Gandhi

How true is that? And that's exactly the reason such places as the Hot Springs in Ma'In and The Six Senses Hotel exist. To forget that we live in a world where everything must always go faster and faster. In a world where we don't take the time to truly appreciate all the things we enjoy. It is the second time we visit and are still as impressed by the tranquility of the place. You feel serene as soon as you enter the resort. Despite having brought my walking shoes and my friend's backpack for Bibs I didn't get to do the walks I wanted - time just goes so fast and it's difficult to plan with a baby isn't it? Well is actually mission impossible! But I keep faith, I will succeed before we leave Jordan to get up at the top of these mountains and see what's up there. I have always liked walked around in the mountains, the village where I grew up in France is surrounded. Anyways back to Ma'In. Never the less I have brought back some pictures of this gorgeous place. You can read about our first visit here.

Like most hotels, in order to save money they propose you to not change your sheets, your towels everyday. At this hotel they are very eco minded and I feel they are going the "extra mile" to preserve the environment.

I like this much more than the boring fliers large hotel chains use!

The information board, outside the hotel. All boards used are in wood.
I know that you wouldn't expect to see wooden boards in a business hotel.

Most of the furniture (maybe all the furniture!) in the hotel is in wood.

The Lobby

The Brown Bar

I just can't get enough of the views
That mountain on the right is the one I want to get up on

As last time we had an amazing dinner. They have a Thai chef staying for 18months, so if you crave for some good Thai food you know where to go.

We had a red duck curry, a green chicken curry and sauteed beef.

Because of Bibs, we always have room service. A part from the Thai main courses we also shared some traditional cold mezze. The red curry was definitely the best, but all were really good. 

We enjoyed some really nice massages and of course a swim in the Hot Spring before leaving the next day. I find the road absolutely amazing as well, so here are some pics! 

It is not only rock mountains you see on the road...

I would guess that this was also a spring, unfortunately there is no water running there now

And then... we saw these camels out for a walk!

Notice the Baby Camel in the middle!

Hope you have all enjoyed your week-end. We certainly did!
My sis-in-law is flying back home. tonight. It is going to be strange not to have her around anymore. It was easy when we were in the UK. My sister and her kids just up the road. Now we are all over the place again. Europe, Middle East... Am not nostalgic at all, but it is a strange feeling when you don't really know when is the next time you will see your loved ones! 

Wednesday, 2 June 2010

a thought about expat life

Everyday I am learning a bit more about expat life. Most of the time it's good stuff, but the occasional difficult thing comes up as well... I have found, I guess, The Thing I don't like about this lifestyle.

By the end of the summer, I will have lost 3 friends that I have met since we arrived to Amman! If I am loosing friends, it means that Bibs is loosing her friends as well... And that gets me wondering how it will be for her when she grows up. I am used to it, usual it's me leaving though, but how will Bibs react when she grows older? Seeing her friends come and go again? Will it make it easier for her to meet new people, a more sociable person? Or on the contrary will she get shy and fed up because she has to make efforts every time? Will she become restless and a globe trotter? or will she find a small village somewhere where she'll stay because she has done enough travelling and she wants stability?

I guess all this depends on the character, but I do wonder... Of course today with all the social networks it is easier to stay in touch with people: Facebook, MSN, Twitter, Skype... All this makes it so much easier to follow people around, know where they are, what they are doing, keep the contact so that friendships don't just disappear. I am back in touch with many people I had lost contact with because of these networks. When I was kid we had to exchange addresses and write letters. You do it a couple of times if you are motivated, and then you stop because there are other things to do...

One of the good things with this lifestyle, is that Bibs will know people from everywhere, and I hope that she'll grow up to be tolerant and curious about the world. I also hope that she won't be too angry at us when we will be going from one country to another! Is it selfish from our part to "oblige" our daughter to follow our lifestyle? Well well... so many questions and they will only be answered in many years! Until then I'll just have to do my best.

Well, well anyways. Tomorrow we are off to the Hot Springs in Ma'In, you can read about last time we were there here. Going to enjoy a nice massage and this time I have the backpack for Bibs and my walking shoes! So I hope I'll bring back some new stunning pictures.

Tuesday, 1 June 2010

A day at the Kempinski Hotel Ishtar

Now I couldn't have my sis-in-law visiting and not bringing her to the dead sea, could I? So yesterday morning with left straight before Bibs' nap so she could sleep all the way down there. I have to say that my daughter is a treat to take somewhere: she slept in the car both ways, had a super time in the pool and enjoyed sitting at the table the whole time we had lunch! I hope it will continue, lol! It makes it so much better and easier to go somewhere.

View of the terrace on the lobby level at the Kempinski Hotel

After the Marriott last time, we decided for the Kempinski Hotel; and what a good choice. We really had a lovely day.

We met up with one of Bibs' friends little M. The girls had a swim together at the one of the hotel's many many pools... I think Bibs stayed in the water for at least 45 minutes. It was nice and with the palm trees there is a little (tiny, tiny bit!) of shade.

Notice the tiny bit of shade! 

We then had a lunch at what I would call the main pool, the Akkad Pool Grill. The lunch was nice, the price was a little expensive (2 soft drinks & 2 main courses: JD42). I have to share the picture of my sis-in-law lunch, we thought the presentation was definitely worth a photo!

The presentation is funny! (it's the mixed grill)

After that we went down to the sea - the hotel is very nice to walk around in. Lot's of trees, a nice path - very stroller friendly!

To the left: main pool - which is very, very deep; to the right a view of another of the pools

The beach at the Kempinski is far better than at the Marriott as well as is the access to the sea. I went for a swim... didn't have any magazine with me - but my sis-in-law tried with her "Glamour" magazine and I think it remained dry for about 15 seconds! It is not an easy task to keep the balance...

My sis-in-law reading her very wet magazine!

When we left, we had complementary bottles of water as well as some tissues in the car. I thought that was a very nice touch! Specially, considering the external temperature marked 40 degrees in the car, as we were on our way back to Amman.

Others To Read:

Related Posts with Thumbnails