Welcome back to part 2 of our holiday to Jordan.
Christmas Eve found us at the Intercontinental Hotel in Aqaba on the Red Sea. We arrived in time for dinner, and although it seemed almost sacrilegious to opt for anything other than the delicious Jordanian food on offer, you can have too much of a good thing and L had found an excellent review of a Chinese restaurant nearby. The lure of tofu was too much and we hastily made our way towards 'Formosa'. It lived up to its reviews and lots of food and 2 pots of jasmine tea later, we were back in our room, settling down for the night.
Christmas Day was wonderful, if a little unconventional. After a breakfast of multiple 'immune boosting' glasses of fruit juice etc., we spent the rest of the day on sun loungers at the edge of the Red Sea. Mojitos and French fries on the beach were enjoyed by way of lunch! It was a lovely contrast to the preceding days of exploration and batteries were rapidly recharged. I had a little nap, collected some sea glass, read my book and did a bit of knitting before going for a swim and then hitting the jacuzzi. It was glorious.
We headed out for dinner to the local restaurant, 'Papaya'. The vegetable sambousek were delicious but, sadly, the rice dish tasted as if it was cooked in meat stock and we failed to finish it. In situations like that, we would normally give it a go rather than appearing rude, but it really did make us feel quite queasy.
We returned to the hotel for stollen (both L and I had smuggled one into our luggage thinking it would be a nice surprise!) and tea. Sadly, we couldn't find a channel broadcasting our customary evening viewing of the hajj rituals, so we plumped for what appeared to be an Arabic version of 'Pop Idol'!
The following day, suitable refreshed, we checked out of the hotel, breakfasted on falafel at 'Falafel Bas W' (Excellent, since you ask!) and coffee/ hot chocolate from the V60 cafe, before heading for Wadi Rum; a protected desert wilderness not far from Aqaba.
Here, we planned to spend the day exploring before staying at the Hasan Zawaideh camp for the night:
There were 2 types of accommodation available: the tent type structures and a sort of martian bubble that looked a bit Eden Projecty. We had opted for the former.
Inside the tent - it was surprisingly cosy and I had the best night's sleep of the whole holiday.
We sat in the back and soon got used to the jolting around. The scenery was spectacular and, when we got out to climb the dunes, L was able to do a bit of sand-boarding. Her recent surfing course came in handy and she was surprisingly good.