Day 236 (Riyadh, Saudi Arabia)
Well it wouldn’t be a blog post if I didn’t do the usual apology for not posting in a while. Since my last post I have come and gone from 2 countries. Last post I had been in Alexandria for a day and was going to be moving hosts the next day. Sadly that host changed his plans last minute and I was left nowhere to stay. I decided to take the train back to Cairo and then the bus to Israel which ended up being a good idea because it got me to Israel just in time for Yom Kipur which is an interesting holiday. For me the most interesting part of it was the fact that nobody drives cars or works on this holiday so I got to take a bicycle around the city of Tel Aviv that basically felt like a ghost town if not for occasionally running into other people on bikes.
My host in Tel Aviv was a really nice person who helped me out a bunch with my plans in Jerusalem by finding me a host and helping me figure out how to get to Amman, Jordan. My time in Jerusalem was good if not a bit boring as everything was closed for the holiday of Sukkot which is on and off throughout the days I was there. I walked down to the old city which was still open despite the holiday. I went to the Western Wall but did not know that I was supposed to put a wish written on a piece of paper in the wall so I never did that, but I don’t really care. The next day I went to the Dead Sea at Ein Gedi which was actually a lot of fun. The couch surfer I went with was kind of boring but I still had a good time just floating in the water and it’s an amazing experience.
With the help of my previous Tel Aviv host I figured out a way to get to Amman from Jerusalem. I ended up going all the way to Eilat and then crossing into Aqaba then taking a bus to Amman. This worked well as you get a free visa at the Aqaba border crossing and I saved myself 20 JOD ($28 CAD). The hostel I ended up picking in Amman was cheap and I paid for that in the form of bed bugs. I had checked the bed beforehand and noticed some so moved to a different room which sadly also had them. It was not a huge amount and I only got bits on my arms, legs and under my arms. The owner moved me to my own private room which I checked for bed bugs every 20 minutes out of paranoia. I think it was free of bed bugs as I don’t think I have any new bits but the ones I got initially are much itchier now then when I first got them and I can’t wait for them to be gone.
The main reason for coming to Jordan and the only real thing I did in Amman (besides searching for a new backpack) was to go and visit Petra. I went with someone from couch surfing who ended up being a cool guy and I think made the experience a bit more enjoyable then doing it solo. The price for Petra is quite ridiculous at 50 JOD ($71 CAD) it is the most expensive attraction I have been to easily. I really only had 2 things I wanted to see in Petra, those were the Treasury and the Monastery. Going through the Siq on the way to the Treasury is also very cool and really adds to the experience of seeing Petra. The walk to the Monastery took about an hour and I thought it was rather easy but the person I came with got tired and we ended up taking like 15 breaks. Also the people offering donkey, horse and camel rides are all thieves in my opinion but that’s how I feel about most people offering transportation throughout the world.
Currently I am in an airport in Riyadh, Saudi Arabia waiting for my flight to Mumbai, India. I should be in India in about 15 hours or so after hopefully getting some kind of sleep in this airport (not likely). I will post an update once I am settled in India and hopefully I will know a bit more about my future India plans by then.