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Recent trip - Israel and Jordan
Old 02-10-2009, 10:51 AM   #1
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Recent trip - Israel and Jordan

We went to Israel and Jordan a few weeks ago. Despite the Gaza 'war', we never felt threatened at any point. Of course, when traveling to this region, you have to keep up on the news.

Most amazing places: Old City Jerusalem (a 1 km square maze of twisty little passages and tremendously historic places), and Petra (hundreds of tombs carved out of the cliffs, the two most impressive shown below).

The Treasury at Petra (no Grail or Indy in sight):



The Monastery at Petra (that's my wife trying to climb into the entrance):



Dome of the Rock, Jerusalem (no unbelievers allowed any more):



Western Wall, Jerusalem (just after Shabbat):
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Old 02-11-2009, 06:40 PM   #2
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How was it going through customs in each country? Does it matter which one you visit first?

I know people from my last j*b from both countries, brings back a lot of memories.
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Old 02-11-2009, 08:24 PM   #3
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Wonderful photos. Did you get to meet and chat with locals?
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Old 02-12-2009, 08:10 AM   #4
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Originally Posted by CuppaJoe View Post
How was it going through customs in each country? Does it matter which one you visit first?
Jordan and Egypt have peace treaties and diplomatic relations with Israel, so travel between them is pretty standard. If you want to visit other Arab countries, they won't let you in if there is any evidence in your passport that you visited Israel. In particular, Syria and Libya are supposed to be very picky about this.

It is possible to get 2 US passports at once for this purpose, if you manage their use properly, then you could travel to Israel and later to Syria (for example). I don't know about the multiple passport policy of other countries.

We didn't chat much with locals, except a couple times. In the taxi to Bethlehem, which is about 30 minutes, we chatted with our Palestinian driver about the elections (then 2 weeks away). He was for Kadima, naturally, and didn't like Netanyahu much. Virtually every Arab (Israeli, Palestinian, Jordanian) we met was vocally pro-Obama once we said we were from America.

We did find out one vital fact from our Bedouin guide in Petra: a female camel costs about US$6000 -- relative to the annual income there, that's about the price of a high end BMW. Of course, the BMW can't reproduce. But is probably more comfortable and less smelly.
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Old 02-12-2009, 12:59 PM   #5
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Great photos RTR!
Petra is on my To Visit list in ER.
How big are the tombs inside? How far in did they dig?
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Old 02-15-2009, 01:06 PM   #6
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Petra is awesome as well as the Dead Sea..... Did you ride the horse in Petra?
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Old 02-17-2009, 02:59 PM   #7
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Inside, the tombs are mostly just empty square boxes. Whatever was inside was looted long ago. The tombs inside are proportionate to the outside, in the sense that they are roughly cubes with edge length about the width of the facade (or a little smaller). In a few of them the sandstone is intricately stained (natural patterns) and is fascinating in its own right. In most of them, the insides are boring.

We didn't take any of the "taxi" rides in Petra (horses, donkeys, or camels). Mostly because we are reasonably fit and reasonably frugal. The Monastery is about 6 miles in, and maybe 800-1000 feet of elevation gain, so it's not for the infirm. So if you are going to visit it in your ER, go before the years catch up to you.

We spent about $2000 on the trip, not counting airfare (FF tickets), for 9 days on the ground in Israel and Jordan. Coincidentally, I just did our Federal taxes, and we get a $2000 refund this year. So the trip was FREE! (In some twisted logic.)

More pictures from our trip can now be found at Witamy and Welcome
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Old 02-17-2009, 03:16 PM   #8
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Wow! Amazing pictures. I went to your site and really enjoyed the show. Thanks for the photo of the Shrine of the Ba'b. I grew up Baha'i.
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Old 02-18-2009, 08:19 AM   #9
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Wow! Amazing pictures. I went to your site and really enjoyed the show. Thanks for the photo of the Shrine of the Ba'b. I grew up Baha'i.
My wife took most of the photos and arranged them. I'll pass your thanks along to her. She has a much better visual sense than I do. Which is amusing, since I work in image processing but am more verbally oriented than she is.
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