March 25, 2007 GMT
Jordan , 25 March 2007

Another slow ride to bed in our new piston saw us cross the border from Syria to Jordan and arrive in Amman late afternoon. Riding from one capital city to another in one day was pretty stressful and gave plenty of opportunity for map reading arguments. If anyone is wandering whether spending so much time on the road covering unfamiliar territory means a couple has less map-reading related discussions think again. At times it's like Sunday outing after Sunday outing.

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A really great couple of days were spent in Amman catching up with a friend on business there and luxing out in expensive cafes (good to have seen you Stephen and thanks again for the slap-up meal!). With both Sascha and the bike both in a Bristol Fashion state of funtion we decided to head out into the Eastern Desert and check out where Lawrence of Arabia hung out for a while back in the day.

We set out imagining a picturesque and lonely road out into the Middle of the desert but soon found out that we were on the main trucking route to Saudi. Not quite the romantic solitude of the desert. The heat slowly cranked up all the way out there and in a fit of great excitement we binned our ex-army long johns which had been unwelcome co passengers on each of our rides to that point. Heading back to central Jordan we realised that this had been slightly rash as the temperature dropped and dropped. It carried on dropping to the point that when we arrived at the Dana nature reserve a couple of days later it was to a foot of snow and freezing fog in the dark.

A side trip down to the Dead Sea gave us the realisation that we had ridden both highest and lowest roads together on Royal Enfields. 'Scuse me as I don my anorak and ride off into the distance... The trip to the Dead Sea gave us one of life's great experiences, not floating around reading a newspaper but at Ma'in Hot Springs. There's a 40 meter waterfall there that pours out water that's somewhere around 60 degrees at source. Standing under it is probably something akin to having ten thousand people throw bucket after bucket of boiling water over you from the top of a sky scraper would be. It's actually rather good.

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One of the really great things about travel is the eccentric people you meet along the way. At Petra we think maybe we met the travel character to end all. A Slovenian guy who lives on the road and is funding his travels by busking; playing baroque recorder music with a page boy haircut and court-jesteresque attire. You've got to admire the train of thought that has seen someone end up doing that and having the belief to carry it through. We were pretty impressed and coughed up enough for a night's sleep in a hostel for him. If you ever read this Slovenian baroque recorder man, we salute you!

There's been some amazing vistas from roads in Jordan that swoop down along desert wadis from 1800 meters above to 400 below sea level. It's been so great to be properly back on the bike after the problems in Syria and enforced bus travel and has served as a good reminder about why we chose to travel by bike and the joys of freedom on the road. Despite beakdowns opening up a whole load of great social situations a bike that works well is equally virtuous. Long may it be so!

Off to Egypt in a couple of days and with any luck we'll get our visa for Sudan and next posting will be just before leaving Egypt.

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Posted by Richard Miller at March 25, 2007 03:24 PM GMT
 


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