Day 388: The Road To Damascus

23.01.10: Jordan was awesome. I really felt as if I had finally left Africa behind me and was back on the backpacker trail, rather than the backbreaker trial. I was in no hurry to get to Damascus, so after a fairly lazy morning, Abby and I walked to town (it was a nice day, why not?) and then we went to visit the oldest townhouse in Amman. Abby is friends with the caretaker and before I knew it we were being plied with free cups of tea, a delightful experience for a tea-loving Brit like myself and one which I hope will continue throughout the Middle-East. Around midday, I finally prised myself free of Amman's seductive grip and, after saying my good-bye-byes to Abby, I was in a service taxi to the border. Would I get a visa? I still didn't know. I had had my…

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Day 387: CouchSurf United

22.01.10: Up early and back to into Jordan, no probs. I really should have left Amman for Damascus this morning, but by the time I had got myself together, it was already 2pm. I still don't know if I can actually get a visa for Syria on the border (Marc was wrong about Siwa...!) and I don't fancy being stranded at the frontier for the night, so I gave my Couchsurf contact Simon a call and asked if he fancied meeting up. He told me that there was some sort of CouchSurfing event taking place and that I really should go to it. Not being one to turn down a party, I took him up on his offer. Syria would just have to wait. So I whiled away a few hours writing up my blog and eating tasty kebabs and that evening, I headed over to…

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Day 386: Don’t Tell Bin Laden, But…

21.01.10: Today, I just hung out in Amman, the capital of Jordan. Didn't do nothin'.. just hung about. Didn't go anywhere that might jeopardise my entry into other Middle Eastern countries, nope. Erm, how was your day? LIES! Yes, as some of you have already sussed out: I went to Israel today. Sorry, I couldn't say that until I got out of my last major islamic country (that being Indonesia). Won't let me in, see? And before I go off on a mad rant about how ridiculous the policy of most islamic countries who deny entry to people who have an Israeli stamp in their passport is, here's a quick list of other passport stamps to avoid: Cuba... if you want to get into the US without any hassle, it pays to not have a Cuban stamp in your passport. Nagorno-Karabakh... Where?! Good question! It was part of…

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Day 385: Crossing Jordan

20.01.10: This morning we arrived in Nuweiba, the Egyptian border town from where the boat for Jordan departs. You see if you tried to go overland through Israel, which would be much quicker, it would mean you couldn't visit Syria, Lebanon, Saudi, Kuwait, Iraq, Iran... do I need to go on? An Israeli stamp in your passport renders it completely useless when it comes to travelling around the Middle East, so your best bet is to take the boat. Unfortunately for me, the ferry was very late departing and it was dark before I arrived in Jordan. Ahh, Jordan... Wadi Rum, the Dead Sea and – best of all – Petra. Petra is the rose-red city of legend, set amongst sandstone chasms were beautiful buildings were carved out of the solid rock. You would have seen a little bit of it at the end of Indiana…

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