Friday, September 20, 2019

Day 46: Museums and Shaving

April 15: Karolina was gone, but my flight out of the country didn't leave until tomorrow so I still had one last day to explore this remarkable country. And since Karolina was no longer around, it is up to me to provide the day's commentary even though it wasn't an official hiking day. I think she left the country early to get out of writing this blog post. *nodding*

I met up for breakfast with Ernie, Jan and Margaret who would also have one more day before their flight left the country. They asked about Karolina, and I told them she made it off to the airport late last night without any trouble. Hopefully she didn't throw up on the ride to the airport!

Ernie is looking a bit scruffy--but nothing a barber can't fix!
The first thing we did after breakfast was to look for a place where Ernie could get a shave and a haircut. He had told us that earlier in the trip, he'd gone to a barber who shaved him with a straight edge razor and to sanitize it, they sprayed it with alcohol then burned it off in a small fireball--which sounded really cool to me and I made Ernie promise not to get anymore shaves without me around to film the experience. =)

Now that the hike was over, he planned clean up. So we walked down the street looking for a barber that was open so early in the morning eventually finding one that would shave the beard and hair he'd grown since the last shave.

And.... well, it turned out to be immensely fun and entertaining! =) There are some unexpected twists and turns we did not anticipate, but I got it all on film and I'll let you watch the video. I will warn you, however, it's a 17 minute video. It's totally worth watching the whole thing, though! Also, the video starts quite blurry--I didn't realize it was so blurry on the small screen of my camera--but it does improve later in the video.

Ernie is a brave, brave man....

The new and cleaned-up Ernie! He's look perfect if only he shaved off those eyebrows. ;o)
Then the four of us piled into a taxi and headed into downtown Amman to explore the Jordan Museum. I'm usually not terribly excited by museums, but I had kind of run out of other things in Amman that I really wanted to see and Ernie implied that my Jordan Pass would get me in for free.

I'd been teasing Ernie about how the Jordan Pass was the gift that kept on giving. It paid for all sorts of entrance fees: Wadi Rum, Petra, Karak, Jerash, Aljoun Castle, the Citadel, and more. The small print on the page said it was good for two weeks from the first time you used it to enter a place, but nobody ever seemed to be checking that so a month later, I'd still been using it. Wadi Rum was the first place I used it, and the JTA crew looked at it but didn't seem to ever show it to anyone at Wadi Rum so I figured the clock on it hadn't started ticking. At Petra, they definitely stamped and scanned it at which point I thought the clock had started ticking. By the time we reached Jerash, I was wondering if the time had run out--it had definitely been more than two weeks since the pass was first scanned--but I figured it didn't hurt to try using it anyhow. If it didn't work, I'd just pay the entrance fee. But no, they took it--and it covered my entrance into Aljoun Castle later that day. And almost every other entrance fee since then.

In all, the Jordan Pass cost 80 JD (about 112 USD), which paid for itself with the visit to Petra by itself. It covered the 40 JD tourist visa I'd otherwise have had to pay entering the country, and a 3-day Petra ticket normally costs 60 JD. So we saved 20 JD already.

Everything else.... Wadi Rum, Jerash, Aljoun Castle, Karak, the Citadel, etc.... were basically all free. It was an amazing bargain! If you're planning to go to Petra, get the Jordan Pass. It's a no brainer! If you aren't visiting Petra, it's a tougher call whether you'd save money or not.

Jordanian flags in front of the Jordan Museum

Anyhow, Ernie (and friends) hadn't gotten the Jordan Pass and continued paying entrance fees all over the place, and I teased Ernie a lot about it. He suggested that the Jordan Museum was included, but I didn't check ahead of time so when we arrived and we saw the sign posted that the Jordan Pass was not accepted, Ernie got a little vindictive. "Ha!" he exclaimed.

Oh, well... I knew the Jordan Pass wasn't good for everything. It's good for a few dozen different attractions, but there are exceptions! I paid the entrance fee--I think it was 10 JD or something--and we entered the museum.

The lower level was your typical museum experience, looking at displays and artifacts hidden behind glass that you couldn't touch. I took photos of all of the water-related information for Karolina. Part of her agreement with her work when she extended her trip included doing a presentation about Jordan's water and I knew she could probably use some of that information. The displays talked about Petra's waterproof plaster, technology to pull water directly from the air, the Red Sea to Dead Sea pipeline, etc.

The upper level of the museum, though, is where I really started enjoying the experience. It was an interactive museum where we could do stuff! My favorite exhibit was where you could color in an animal then watch it come to life on a big screen. =)

My favorite exhibit! =)

After we finished at the museum, we headed back to the hotel. Like yesterday, we had trouble finding a taxi who was willing to go back there. Why?! Eventually, with the help of an employee at the museum who flagged a taxi down for us, we made it back to the hotel.

We all headed to our own rooms then met up again a couple of hours later to go out for dinner. Ernie got a recommendation from the hotel desk clerk of a cheap, nearby place that kind of had a fast-food vibe to it, but the food was really good. Mostly, I went to hang out rather than get something to eat. I was low on money. I knew I needed 20 JD to get a ride to the airport tomorrow, and I had something like 22 JD left and I hated the idea of hitting up an ATM just to get a couple of dinars. The fee it charged would probably be more than the amount of money I needed!

But eventually I worked out a deal with Ernie who had a little extra Jordanian cash he wanted to get rid of. I bought 5 JD off of him which I paid for through PayPal, and now I had enough cash to pay for a little bit of food which I split with Margaret.

Then we headed back to our individual rooms at the hotel... it was the last time I would ever see Ernie, Jan and Margaret again. (They did not die or anything, though. They just left for the airport at 4:00 or some ungodly hour of the morning and I slept through it.)

The next day would be my last in Jordan, but there's not really much of anything for me to write about. My flight didn't leave until about 1:00 in the afternoon so I was able to sleep in until a respectable hour and took a short walk around the neighborhood of the hotel. It was uneventful, though, and I went back to the hotel where I packed my bags and checked out. They ordered me a ride to the airport, and I headed through the necessary lines and security checkpoints to the gates. I arrived with 2 JDs in my pocket which I used to buy a bottle of water (1 JD) and a can of Coke (another 1JD). I officially had no more Jordanian currency! Well, I had a few coins that were a fraction of a JD, but there was nothing I could buy for that little money, and I was okay keeping a few coins as souvenirs. =)

The plane boarded and took off.... and Jordan was officially done. Oh, I'd still wear one of my many scarves while walking around on a cool, overcast day for old times sake. I still walk around proudly wearing one of my two Jordan Trail t-shirts. And memories to last a lifetime. What a wonderful country! Jordan surprised me in so many ways, and there's definitely a lot more to the country than Petra!

I ♥ Jordan! =)


Grrly Girl said...

Holy guacamole!
That must have HURT !
Ernie didn't have the ear and nose thing during his first shave, right?

Ryan said...

No, the ear and nose thing was special this time. =)

Anonymous said...

Based on your other long walks, this one seemed to be teeming with lots of litter along the trail. Any thoughts as to why?

Arlene (EverReady AT 2015) said...

Green Tortuga, I really enjoyed your blog posts on your JT hike. And Karolina’s posts too and your photos. Now I want to do this trail! What or where is your next hike?

Ryan said...

Poorer countries, as a whole, seem to have more trouble with litter, and I think it's just about priorities. Things like trash cans are a lower priority than just trying to make sure everyone has safe water to drink and a roof over one's head. And when someone is trying to decide if they should use their money to buy food for the family or pay for garbage pickup, they probably pick food most of the time.

The Jordan Trail also runs through a lot of very populated areas. Deep in the middle of nowhere, trash is less of an issue. So it's not very fair to compare the Jordan Trail that usually runs through developed areas to a remote wilderness trail such as the PCT.

Ryan said...

Next hike... is/was the Pacific Northwest Trail. So far, 700 miles done! And 500 left to complete! =)